February 22, 2024

Celebrating 100 years of Education 1924-2024

Dear Families, Students and Community Members,

Michelle Roberts

There had been much anticipation and excitement in the lead up to our main centenary celebratory events on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 February. It was such a significant and momentous celebratory occasion in the life of our community. A milestone that marks a century of educational excellence and growth. It was with immense pride as Principal that I addressed current and former staff, parents and students, along with our special guests in our whole school assembly on Friday 16 February to commemorate the centenary of our fantastic school. The gym was overflowing with our whole school, special guests and over 150 former staff and students in attendance, including former principal class members. 

On Saturday 17 February, we had over 400 former students and staff attend to take part in our celebrations. Some travelled from interstate (from as far as Perth, Darwin and Cairns) such was the importance of the occasion, and they attended both days.

More than one hundred years ago, a visionary group of individuals embarked on a journey to establish a school that would not only impart knowledge but also mould the character of generations to come. As we reflect on the past, we recognise the dedication, resilience and unwavering commitment that has shaped this school into what it is today, a leading educational provider locally, with an excellent reputation state-wide.

Congratulations to our school captains Isabelle Vicendese and Antonio Marques Vaz Serra for doing a fantastic job as our MCs in our whole school assembly with both also delivering thoughtful speeches articulating what it means to them to be a student at Mordialloc College. After my speech School Council president, Ian Fox, gave a terrific speech in his last official school event. Ian has been on school council for nine years, with the past six years as our president and he has done an outstanding job. 

Please find a copy of Ian’s final speech attached here:

Ian Fox Council President centenary speech.docx

Well done to Year 12 student Eden Lasbury for leading the singing of the National Anthem at the start of the assembly and then performing vocals with our wonderful rock band featuring – James Hickey, Dylan Henderson and Liam Jong all from Year 12

Our guest speakers included: Mark Dreyfus MP, Attorney General, Federal Member for Isaacs, Tim Richardson MP, State Member for Mordialloc, Ann-Marie Hermans MP, State Member for South-East Metropolitan Region. All spoke so highly of our thriving school and its’ standing in the community as an excellent education provider. 

Former student and current teacher Bella Barker was also invited to speak about her dual experience of being a student and now teacher at the school. Bella was one of our School Captain’s and College Dux in 2014. 

Paula McCarthy and Ivor Donohue from the Mordialloc Alumni Association also spoke during the special presentations made during the assembly. Firstly, Paula and I were delighted to recognise our longest serving staff members, some of our oldest past students and our current youngest student. Each person was presented with a framed certificate and a small gift. Congratulations to the following people:

Longest Serving Teacher – Trevor Smith 1976-2007, 32 years of dedicated service teaching Science, Maths and Computing

Longest Serving Principal – Lorraine Harris 1992-June 2010, 18.5 years of dedicated service. The school has had fifteen Principal’s to date, and Lorraine was the fourteenth.

Oldest past students – Cyril Oke 97 years of age, George Raphael OAM (for service to the community in a range of roles) and Basil Gordon Nicholls as our oldest former student, 101 years of age, soon to turn 102. Paula provided some interesting insights into the lives of these men as students and our current students were captivated and so respectful during these special presentations. 

As part of the occasion, we also recognised our youngest current student, awarded to Lily Dollard in Year 7. She was incredibly pleased to be part of our formalities. 

We then had the official cutting of the Centenary Cake, with all awardees, and photos taken. Thanks to Ivor Donohue, acting President of the Mordialloc College Alumni Association, for organising the cake for us. Ivor then presented to me a commemorative plaque highlighting our centenary of Secondary State Education provision, serving the community. This will be permanently attached to a big rock (also being provided by our Alumni) in our courtyard garden located between the main building and Hub, under the signature gum tree that was planted back at the 75th anniversary, now towering and part of the beautiful landscape.

After the hour-long assembly (our students did so well sitting on the gym floor for so long), lunch was provided to our 150 plus guests. Thanks to Director of Student Engagement, Julia Hockey for running the BBQ with our MCSC leaders and our student leaders also assisted on welcoming our guests and visitors, escorting them to their allocated seats in the gym. 

All attendees had the opportunity to tour the school and visit classrooms during period 4. Thanks to all teachers who welcomed guests into their classrooms. 

Included in the assembly we had a five-minute PowerPoint featuring historic photos along with more recent photos, prepared by Lyndell Thompson. There was also a very detailed display in the Hub focusing on the history of the school for everyone to visit over the two days. A range of memorabilia was on display, including specially prepared big banners, one for each decade, with some of the main highlights for each decade and these will now be located along the main corridor on the ground floor of our front two storey building. You may have seen the aptly titled “The ERAS tour of Mordialloc College” on Facebook/Instagram, one of many posts by Assistant Principal, Tracey Bastin. Guests also received a copy of the Alumni produced “Centenary Anniversary” souvenir booklet. Thanks, in particular to Paula McCarthy, Lynette Williams, and Barb Dowling from our alumni association for the hours and hours of dedicated work involved in putting this all together for the school. In addition, Paula is also leading the development of our more detailed centenary book, to be released later this year at our annual Art Show.

On Saturday we had over 400 people visit throughout the day from 10 am – 2.30 pm who were delighted to be able to be part of our celebrations and reminisce about their time at the school and rekindle old friendships. Assistant Principal Simon Cummins and I were both running tours every hour to meet demand and participants really enjoyed hearing about the school and programs of today along with letting us know about some of their favourite memories (apparently the tunnels under the school did exist back in the day) and what school was like for them many years ago. Others were happy to take their map of the school and wander around in small groups to visit specific areas of the school that were of most interest to them. Ivor Donohue was running the BBQ the entire time providing free sausages in bread, and the hub was buzzing with many enthusiastically looking through the memorabilia, especially for the time they attended the school. The alumni also organised a photo booth for participants to get photos together to serve as a treasured memento from the day. We had brief formalities at 12.30 pm joined by our local member for Mordialloc Tim Richardson MP. Tim and I spoke briefly and Ivor in his capacity of Acting President, was the main speaker and he did a great job. We had another official centenary cake to cut (and eat) and the centenary plaque was presented to me again.

From 2.30 pm, the Alumni welcomed everyone back to Rossdale Gold Club to continue the celebrations. 

Many visitors expressed to my staff how impressed they were with the behaviour of the students during the assembly and the dedication of the teachers keeping them in check. They felt that the students remained attentive and interested even after sitting on the floor for a very long time. They were especially touched by the positive reaction by the students to the oldest former students and the presentations to them; and expressed that this made them feel immensely proud to know that Mordialloc is still producing such respectful young adults.

Several interstate visitors let me know that both days were a highlight and worth every minute of their travels to make it here.

The success of such events is testament to our strong sense of community where current and former staff, students and parents all played important roles. The level of support and enthusiasm from all involved was extremely positive and affirming. The dedication and commitment of our Mordialloc College Alumni Association (MCAA), absolutely outstanding. My sincere thanks to the staff, alumni association members and current students who volunteered to join me on the Centenary planning committee. We had our first meeting back in May 2023, followed by several meetings over the rest of the year with our final meeting in February this year, the week before the big event. People took on various roles to ensure both days were a success, along with the incredible organisation of the whole school for the “100” formation on the oval.

While I am on Long Service Leave this term, it was a pleasure to still be working on the planning of our centenary celebrations with the planning committee in the lead up to our events this term. Thanks to the following people who were on the committee with me: Assistant Principal Simon Cummins, teachers Bella Barker, Amelia Hargreaves and Ariana Nickou, education support staff Lyndell Thompson and Loretta Illott, 2023 School Captain Jeremy Thai Chan, Kyle McDonald current student along with our fantastic and hard working MCAA representatives Paula McCarthy, Lynette Williams, Barb Dowling, Ivor Donohue and Morrie Hartman. It was a wonderful team effort. With admin support from Catherine Boulton in the office. 

In addition, it was definitely going above and beyond to join me at school on Saturday and give up a day of their weekend – thanks again to Simon, Bella, Amelia, Lyndell, Ariana, Loretta, Jeremy, our two 2024 school captains – Antonio and Isabelle and some of our Middle school captains Zoe McPherson, William Flemming and Nathan Krummel. Our student leaders were so proud to talk about and showcase their school.

As communicated in last week’s newsletter, on Monday February 5, we did our “100” formation involving all students and staff on the school oval. Thanks to Assistant Principal, Simon Cummins, and staff members Amelia Hargreaves and Loretta Illott for organising this. It was a joy to return to the school from my long service leave to take part in this, our students were outstanding throughout. You can view a short video of the actual process of the creation here:

The Chelsea-Mordialloc-Mentone News did a feature on our centenary published on February 14. You can see the article and messages of congratulations on pages 13 – 15 by clicking this link: 

As I spoke about in my speech at Friday’s assembly, former students may have been disappointed to see some of their favourite buildings and classrooms have disappeared. Current students are excited by the significant development that has occurred to provide 21st century learning facilities across the College. What does not change though, is the need for authentic relationships across the College to underpin all learning. It is all about the people who make up our community – staff, students, and parents; and the development of positive relationships remaining strong throughout the journey, which makes a school special and successful. 

We have a proud history of being known for our strong sense of community, with the development of positive and close relationships being a key strength of the College, aligned to our four core values of Respect, Integrity, Responsibility and Personal Best.

There was definitely a buzz throughout the school on Friday and Saturday, I hope everyone enjoyed being part of this momentous occasion. There will be more to come throughout the year.

Have a wonderful rest of Term 1.

Michelle Roberts