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New Catholic school to remember women religious founder

BEAUDESERT’S first Catholic secondary school will honour the Irish-born founder a religious congregation that left Catholic “footprints” in the region.

McAuley College, named after Sisters of Mercy founder Venerable Catherine McAuley, will be the Scenic Rim’s first Catholic secondary school.

The co-educational college will be located on Beaudesert-Nerang Rd as part of the Oaklands Estate, and administered by Brisbane Catholic Education.

Brisbane Catholic Education executive director Pam Betts said the college’s name reflected the connection with the Sisters of Mercy in the Scenic Rim region.

“The Sisters of Mercy opened primary schools in both towns and were responsible for the strong footprint of Catholic education in the Scenic Rim in the early days,” Ms Betts said.

“Today, those schools continue to grow and to embody the Mercy qualities of faith, learning and service, which will also form the foundation of McAuley College.”

Scenic Rim Regional Council has approved the college’s development, with Year 7 classes expected to open in 2017.

Beaudesert parish priest Fr Michael McKeaten is on the college’s steering committee, and said the Catholic community was looking forward to its first secondary college.

“We have such a strong community at St Mary’s Primary School, welcoming students from Catholic and other religious traditions, but the options have been quite limited for secondary schooling, with the closest school being the ecumenical Emmaus College in Jimboomba,” Fr McKeaten said.

“With McAuley College, our students will be able to move easily into a secondary school that shares the same values and philosophy that they have grown up with.

“And they’ll be joined by young people from other schools across the Scenic Rim, all working together to create a wonderful new Catholic college for the community,” he said.

Local families have already expressed an interest in enrolling at McAuley College but won’t be able to apply until the start of next year.

Father of two Andrew Thomson is hoping to enrol his son into the first Year 7 class when it opens in two years.

Mr Thomson said the new Catholic school would have a positive influence on the Beaudesert district, which boosts just one high school at full capacity.

“The state high school is the only option without getting on a bus and leaving the town,” Mr Thomson said.

“I think the new school will keep help families to stay in the town and take pressure off the local high school.

“It will be good for the whole town and especially provide jobs in the area.”

Mr Thomson said many families opted for the region’s seven smaller state schools because of the “community feel”.

“I think the Catholic school will provide a stronger community base for families, and it’s what they prefer,” he said.

The college will have a stand at the upcoming Beaudesert Show from September 4 to 5 and a website is expected to go live soon.  

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