PRINCIPAL Michael Newman said he was “deeply humbled” when students, parents, staff, guests, principals from other schools and old boys gathered for a surprise farewell as he finished up at St Mary’s College, Toowoomba, after 10 years.
A video was compiled with staff sending in messages and sharing memories from his time at the college.
Toowoomba Catholic Schools executive director Dr Pat Coughlan, college board member Matt Boyd, Parents and Friends Committee representative Katrina Thom, St Mary’s Samantha Parle and college captains Alastair Doljanin and Dhairy Shah all spoke about Mr Newman and shared their memories too.
“After 17 years in the (Toowoomba) diocese, including seven as principal of St John’s College, Roma, Michael leaves a reputation as an outstanding leader and educator,” Dr Coughlan said.
“His sphere of influence extends well beyond his local community to colleagues within the system and across the state.
“Michael, his wife Lauren and their three children have been wonderful ambassadors for Catholic education and faith leaders within the diocese.
“We will miss them very much and wish them well in the next chapter about to unfold.”
The college captains presented Mr Newman with a painting of the college that included the Brothers’ House which was the first building built at the college in 1899, a statue of the Virgin Mary and flowers, signifying liveliness.
The night ended with a blessing from Toowoomba Bishop Robert McGuckin.
“People saying all these nice things about you, I was very humbled,” Mr Newman said.
He said it was “mixed emotions” with sadness leaving St Mary’s and excitement heading to Brisbane to take over as headmaster at Marist College, Ashgrove in 2021.
Mr Newman said he would miss the wonderful people and friendly students at St Mary’s.
“The staff are very professional and good hearted towards the students, they’re great, I’ll miss that certainly,” he said.
“It’s just a great community-feel, the whole St Mary’s family, it’s great.”
He wanted to leave a simple legacy – that students were instilled with the belief they could achieve anything and reach their potential as caring, Catholic citizens of the world.
He was going from one sporting school to another too – just a change in codes from rugby league at St Mary’s to rugby union at Marist College. “I know it’s great there (at Marist), I really enjoy the Marist spirituality,” he said. “I’m looking forward to meeting the Marist family.”