John Paul College 40th Anniversary Foundation Day Assembly
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement of Queensland, the Honourable Mick de Brenni MP; Treasurer of Australia and Federal Member for Rankin, the Honourable Dr Jim Chalmers MP; Councillors Ms Lisa Bradley, Ms Mindy Russell and Ms Miriam Stemp; John Paul College Chairman of the Board, Mr Dominic Taylor; Principal Mrs Karen Spiller OAM; Staff, parents and, of course, students, good morning.
I would also like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which gather, the Yugambeh and Yuggera people. I pay respect to Elders, past, present and emerging, and their continuing contribution to the education of our nation’s people.
Thank you for that rousing rendition of our National Anthem, it has always been a joy for me when visiting schools to hear students sing our National Anthem.
This is a special day of celebration as we mark 40 years since John Paul College was founded as Queensland’s very first Christian Ecumenical School with a mere 144 students, all packed into four classrooms.
Today with around 1,600 students, the College has flourished into a substantial and impressive school. But while the grounds – and the way education is delivered within them – may have changed greatly over the years, the key values of mutual respect, integrity, compassion and excellence have remained steadfast.
Visiting schools is one of the great privileges of being Governor of Queensland, and one of my very favourite parts of the job!
Whether I am visiting a large institution such as this, or a tiny school in a remote community, wherever I go I am invariably impressed by Queensland’s school teachers, staff and students in the towns and communities I visit.
The very best schools also recognise that success is built not only on a vision for the future, but also on acknowledging and learning from the past – and that sense of history is particularly strong for me today as we gather for this Foundation Day assembly to acknowledge the 40 years John Paul College has served its community.
Now, you might be interested to learn this is not the College’s first Vice-Regal engagement in its 40-year history. On 17 October 1991, well before any of the boys and girls in front of me were born – the 26th Governor-General of Australia, the Honourable William George Hayden AC opened an elementary school building here, which I understand now houses the primary school office.
Bringing us back to present day, there is another significant achievement to note. I wish to acknowledge your Principal, Mrs Spiller who I have been told is retiring at the end of this year, having served as Principal at the College since 2018.
Mrs Spiller has given over 40 years of dedicated service to the education of children. Her leadership, devotion and commitment are evident here today. Congratulations on a remarkable career.
In my closing message to you, students – this College, your teachers, and your parents, have provided you with many great opportunities. My advice to you is to make the most of those opportunities that present themselves, work hard, and stay true to yourselves.
Go forth and create your own histories but remember your foundations in this school and the guiding values it has imbued – they will help propel you into the future.