St Dominic’s Centre, Mayfield who, up until recently, were the only systemic special school in the state, hosted the Mass.
This years’ service celebrated the inclusive and diverse culture of learning in our schools across the Diocese and the commitment of our system to giving these diverse learners a quality Catholic education on all levels – academic, emotional, social and spiritual.
“Thank you Bishop Bill, the Diocesan Leadership Group, Directors and Assistant Directors, past and present, and the Catholic Schools Office for the ongoing support you give us at St Dominic’s and indeed of all schools, who care for and support students with additional needs,” said Principal of St Dominic’s, Veronica McLoughlin during the Mass.
“The investment does not go unnoticed and our staff, families and students are deeply grateful to you.
“To our Dominican Sisters, we thank you for the legacy you’ve given us and the foundations on which to build.
“To all of our schools who work tirelessly to weave our diverse learners into the fabric of their school community. Undoubtedly, the presence of our students with additional needs enriches our culture and creates a rich and inclusive community.
“I would also like to thank the students and their families. We are deeply honoured that you ask us to be part of your team for the time we are together. Each day, you teach us about resilience, tenacity, raw unconditional love, advocacy and represent what joy and hope looks like.
“You are warriors and today we salute you and thank you for choosing Catholic education.”
Bishop Bill spoke of celebrating all the wonderful work done ‘in the background’ by teachers, staff and parents, to ensure all students have the opportunity to learn and grow.
The Inclusive Choir, which features students from St Dominic’s and San Clemente High School, Mayfield and is guided by Mr Michael Nolan and Mrs Katie Philpott, brought joy and plenty of smiles to the congregation with a series of upbeat hymns.
A thank you also to Mrs Daphne Peterson, who kindly volunteered her time to be an ASL interpreter for the service and Cath Garrett-Jones, Professional Officer (Parent Liaison & Resources at the Catholic Schools Office, who facilitated the Mass along with the Special Needs Working Party.
The afternoon was made a truly inclusive event for all with a number of fun activities put on for everyone to enjoy after the service, including a silent disco, lawn games, face painting and a photo wall.