30 Jul Catholic Education – Diocese of Rockhampton
A message from Leesa Jeffcoat AM
Catholic Education Director – Diocese of Rockhampton
This week across the state we celebrate Catholic Education Week marking 175 years of Catholic Education in Queensland.
Our schools in the Diocese of Rockhampton are part of that great story with our first school opening in Rockhampton in 1863 under the guidance of Rev Father Charles Murlay and Miss Bridget Ennis a trained lay teacher from Ireland. As communities grew across many regions of our Diocese, more schools opened under the leadership of various religious orders and dedicated lay staff. Today Catholic Education comprises 10 kindergartens, 31 primary schools and 8 colleges serving communities from Bundaberg in the south to Mackay in the north and west to Longreach.
Catholic Education Week is not just about the past it is also about celebrating the present and to appreciate the vibrant and dynamic communities within our Catholic kindergartens, primary schools and colleges of today where our students experience high-quality teaching and can realise their goals in life. Communities where we seek to be true witnesses to Christ’s message of hope and love for the world and to assist all in their search for meaning for life.
Reaching out to help others in need and to say thank you to the wider community for their support is a well-known practice in our Catholic school communities and always a focus during Catholic Education Week each year. Even with COVID restrictions in place and our priority to keep everyone safe and healthy, our schools are looking for innovative and creative ways to continue this outreach this year.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those in local communities who assist and support our Catholic schools and colleges. I am often made aware of the generosity of businesses, community groups and individuals who contribute in a wide range of ways to support Catholic Education and we deeply appreciate these acts of kindness.
The Spirit of Catholic Education Awards, an annual event in Catholic Education Week, has attracted a record number of nominations from our diocese this year. Congratulations to the 46 nominees for their great service and dedication to Catholic Education. Each nominee has made a significant contribution to their respective communities and a positive difference in the lives of those they serve.
This year during Catholic Education Week we will also recognise long-serving leaders in our schools – those who have held leadership roles for over 20 years. This significant achievement demonstrates selflessness and a tireless commitment to the ministry of Catholic Education. These staff will be acknowledged in their respective school communities and via the Catholic Education Facebook platform.
I’d like to wish all in our Catholic school communities a very happy Catholic Education Week and to thank you for your hard work and for your great contributions as students, parents, teachers, staff members, board or P&F members, volunteers, priests or religious, or parish and community members. All are important and cherished members of our Catholic Education family. Stay safe and have a wonderful week of celebrations.