BOYS from the only Catholic boys’ college in Brisbane’s western suburbs are finally becoming men with the addition of a senior school.
The first Year 11 cohort at Ambrose Treacy College, Indooroopilly, have walked through their new building designed to cater for the school’s growing numbers.
They will also be the first boys to graduate from the college, which opened in 2015 to replace Nudgee Junior College following the change to make Year 7 the first year of high school in Queensland.
Year 11 student Tim Bennett, who originally went to Nudgee Junior College, said his new school “just keeps getting better for us”.
“With our change from Nudgee to Ambrose, the buildings were meant for smaller students,” he said.
“It’s good in these buildings because unlike our last buildings, they were very impractical; they’re not really set up to be for a senior education.
“But now we have our amazing new building so we’re able to really get down to becoming adults basically.”
The transition has come with great expectations. “Our whole time here we’ve done multiple leadership immersions and other activities which have enforced that we are the role models,” Tim said.
“There’s no one we look up to, everyone looks up to us, so it’s making sure we’re the best we can be for the other grades.”
Year 10 student Tom Perissinotto was one of the first Year 7 students to attend the school and said his parents were glad to have a school option 10 minutes from home.
“I was (in) the first year to come in Grade 7 as high school and my parents were really worried about (me) having to travel in the city by myself,” Tom said. “But now it’s like a ten-minute drive from home.
“If you forget something you can always come back and that’s a lot easier.”
Principal Michael Senior, one of the original staff members with the plan of opening a Catholic boys’ school in the western suburbs, said what was once a dream, was now a reality.
“You sort of pinch yourself to say that five years ago there was absolutely nothing and we were still getting through the approval processes to go ahead,” Mr Senior said.
“When we talked to parents, there was nothing to show.”
Mr Senior said both Catholic and non-Catholic parents living in the western suburbs were choosing a Catholic education for their son.
“The reality is now you don’t have to leave the western corridor to achieve that,” he said.
As well as providing a holistic education for young men, ATC tried to be “a good Catholic Church experience” for families who might not be connected to the faith.
“Because we understand for a number of families we will be not by choice but by reality, we will be the face of the Catholic Church for them so we want that to be a really contemporary, meaningful, lively experience,” Mr Senior said.
“We are still really keen to encourage and work to see how we can get them to connect with their local parishes but also that realistic view that that’s not going to be working for every family so how do we be that really true face of Catholic Church for them?”
Mr Senior said the next milestone was seeing the first cohort graduate from the school.
“They’ve been our leaders now at our school for five or six years; we’re really proud of who they are,” he said.
“They haven’t had any one to be role-modelling for them; they’ve just continually been asked to be role models for others and I think the vast majority have really stepped up and we couldn’t be prouder.”
College chaplain Marist Father John Gillen blessed the senior school on March 15.
More classrooms are expected to be built at the college for the start of 2020. By 2021 the school expects to cater for 1250 young men from Year 4 to Year 12.