College “goes green” in honour of Irish heritage

ST Mary’s College was bathed in a sea of green on Saturday 17 March as the school celebrated 150-years of its Irish beginnings with a community fun day.

Past and present students, teachers and parents took part in the festivities, which centred on a program of Irish music and dancing, colonial dress-ups and old-fashioned games that hark back to the school’s 19th century heritage.

Historic tours of the College and green food and beverages were also on offer, as well as a fancy dress parade showcasing St Mary’s College uniforms through the ages and the cutting of a giant birthday cake.

St Mary’s College principal Helen Spencer said it was a special time for the school, which prided itself on the Presentation pillar of ‘hospitality’.

“Our 150th anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the school’s past as we continue to build powerful futures for young women,” she said.

There have been a number of changes to the College over the past century and a half, with recent additions being a new purpose-built early learning centre for the school’s kindergarten and prep students and a fully refurbished performing arts facility.

“With 150-years of history behind us, it is also timely to honour the many people who have helped form the rich and colourful landscape of St Mary’s College,” Ms Spencer said.

“St Mary’s College is very fortunate to have the support of generations of parents, friends and community members, each of whom have made a profound impact to the foundation of the school that we know today.”

As part of the school’s 150th anniversary celebrations, St Mary’s College archivist Margaret Rootes has been writing a book highlighting the school’s rich history from the viewpoint of individuals.

The book, which will be published later this year, will feature images of and stories about 150 people who have made significant contributions to the College community during its years of operation.

“Those individuals are made up of students who went on to make their mark in the world, outstanding teachers at the school and amazing volunteers who gave so freely to St Mary’s College,” Mrs Rootes said.

A student of St Mary’s College before returning later to teach, Mrs Rootes said she had “always been grateful” for the sacrifices her parents made to send her and her sister to St Mary’s College.

“In retrospect, I think we received a very sound education, especially in languages, literature and history,” she said.

“Implicit in everything that was taught was the fact that women were strong and that the world was our oyster.

“The way the sisters ran a large school and made big decisions showed us what women could do.

“We were encouraged to find our strengths and to try to use our advantages to enhance the lives of others.”

The school’s sesquicentenary will culminate with a Grand Bazaar (school fair) on 21 October.

Caption: St Mary’s College prep student Archer Kilgour. From left, Isabelle Mika, grade two, Charlotte Mika, grade three, and Harriet Nattey, grade three.

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