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Home » Education » Four generations of one family who attended St Joseph’s Catholic Primary honour school’s centenary

Four generations of one family who attended St Joseph’s Catholic Primary honour school’s centenary

St Joseph's ex-pupils

Family traditions: St Joseph’s Catholic School Corinda prep student Olivia Grazier with her dad Phil Grazier, great grandparents Ronnie and Vince Plummer and grandmother Kathy Plummer. All five attended St Joseph’s Catholic School Corinda, which is celebrating its centenary next week.

PHIL Grazier never thought he’d be back in the principal’s office nearly 24 years after leaving primary school.

But 12 months ago the former sapper for the Australian Army found himself in the hot seat at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Corinda.

This time he was enrolling his daughter Olivia into her first year of Prep.

“One of the teachers here who is my daughter’s teacher was teaching when I was here, Mrs Newton,” Mr Grazier said.

“I looked at the papers and when I saw her name I thought, ‘It couldn’t be the same person’ but it was.”

Olivia is the fourth-generation family member to attend St Joseph’s, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

Her great-grandparents, Ronnie and Vince Plummer, were the first to kick off the family tradition attending the school in the 1930s.

“Both my grandparents went to school together, but they have about six years between them,” Mr Grazier said.

Ronnie and Vince also worshipped at the same church, St Joseph’s Church, Corinda, but never bumped into each other until their teen years.

Ronnie, who is now 86, worked at a shop in Corinda and one day, Vince, now 91, walked through the door.

When the pair eventually married, they sent their six children to the same school where they grew up, starting the Plummer tradition at St Joseph’s.

Daughter Kathy Plummer said May 27, the St Joseph’s celebration events, was a special date because it was also her parents’ 67th wedding anniversary.

“They are still in love, they still hold hands, they still kiss each other,” Ms Plummer said.

Ronnie and Vince live on the Sunshine Coast and will remember their old school as they celebrate their married life in their nursing home room.

Scott Waters is another man whose family have all grown up at St Joseph’s.

Mr Waters started at St Joseph’s in 1988 but the tradition started when his father attended the school years earlier.

“Dad talks of the nuns and what not,” he said.

Founded in 1917 by the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, who celebrated their centenary in Corinda last year, St Joseph’s opened on January 29 to 50 eager students.

Over the years the sisters built a number of boarding and day schools, and renovations have been added to the existing classrooms.

Fr Gerry Kalinowski spent the first three years of his schooling life in some of those classrooms.

“They were bigger classrooms, more in the class,” Fr Kalinowski said.

“Sr Mary Reginald in Year 3 made an impression on me, and made sure I learnt my spelling, dictation, all sorts.”

The government also made sure children had enough calcium in their diet.

“There used to be this government program and each day we would start with our milk,” Fr Kalinowski said.

He has been the parish priest for Corinda Graceville for seven years and is often asked to speak to students and staff at his old school, especially now for its 100th birthday.

“It’s great to see the tradition continuing, and some teachers grew up here,” Fr Kalinowski said.

Sharon Pareezer-Jones is one of those teachers. She remembers the first day of school well.

“Our Grade 1 class started later because of the 1974 floods,” Mrs Pareezer-Jones said.

“I thought it was exciting.”

She also remembers seeing every one of her classmates at Mass on Sundays.

Nearly 37 years later, Mrs Pareezer-Jones received an opportunity to transfer to St Joseph’s and has been with the school for the past nine years.

She said walking into the school after 37 years was a great source of comfort, having just lost her mother two weeks before.

“The librarian aide was like a second mother to me, and her daughter was my best friend in primary school,” Mrs Pareezer-Jones said.

“Mum died two weeks before I started the job at St Joseph’s so it was good to see her.”

Events to mark the school’s centenary includes a Mass at Joseph’s Church, Corinda, from 10.30am on May 27 followed by a celebration with lunch and entertainment at the school oval.

Memorabilia will be on display and classrooms will be open for visitors or returning students.

Written by: Emilie Ng
Catholic Church Insurance

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