Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (10:22): Deputy Speaker Southcott, you know exactly what I am talking about when I say: there is nothing more humbling for an MP, that gladdens the heart and lifts the spirits, like a visit to a school. Nothing. On 27 October, I attended the Pakenham Campus Junior School of Beaconhills College as it celebrated the official opening of its new extension. Headmaster Tony Sheumack said the project had been primarily a local community effort, led by builder Greg Noonan, architects 3D Design and a great team of local professional tradespeople. The school building was a piece of artwork. The cost of $2.8 million, provided by Beaconhills College was topped up with a grant of $850,000 federal government. The proud head of the Junior School, Peter Hockey, said that:
While the wealth of a country was reflected in its educational facilities, the heart of a country was reflected by those inside.
The ceremony included a blessing by assistant bishop the Right Reverend Paul White from the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne and prayer by my friend, Pakenham Uniting Church minister Reverend Ann Simons. I must not forget to mention the beautiful choral performance by junior school choir. The standout was a 10-metre long pirate ship playground that brought the inner child out of many guests, including myself and Jason Wood, who enjoyed the occasion of climbing all over that pirate ship. I love boats.
The development of this modern state of the art school with its beautiful surrounds is a credit to the community and, as I pointed out to those present, we should never forget to honour those who came before them and who had helped make the facilities possible. I have high expectations for the students in the electorate of McMillan that runs from the snow to the sea. I believe that a very exciting future awaits them all. This school is my favourite school.
From there it was off to St Kieran’s Catholic Primary School at Moe to make a very special presentation to a year 2 student, Xavier Battista. Xavier did not know he was about to be awarded a NAIDOC Medal of Excellence for his artwork in this year’s NAIDOC week competition. This was a very prestigious award with only 20 given out Australia wide. The look of shock and the thrill on Xavier’s face was a delight to see as was the pride that mum Samantha and dad Danny had for their son.
Well done, Xavier. The school was beautifully presented and, as usual, sang the school song with gusto. To the principal, Joanne Johnson, and teachers, I congratulate your work at St Kieran’s. This is also my favourite school.
The next stop was to Warragul North Primary School. At 12.30 I was there to join with the students to singCount Us In, which is the song that is sung right across Australia at the same time by every school. Yes, this is also my favourite school.