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New schools up and down the coast are opening their doors for their first year

Excited smiles: A Prep student from Good Samaritan Catholic College, Bli Bli, ready to read and learn.

TWO new Queensland Catholic schools are set to open their doors on Wednesday, January 29.

St Joseph’s College, Coomera, and Good Samaritan Catholic College, Bli Bli, will welcome their first students in the coming week.

St Joseph’s principal Paul Begg said everything was ready for Wednesday’s start.

“The staff start on Monday, but they’re all pretty excited as well, so they’ve all been in and in with their families,” he said.

“A couple of the teachers have got their kids coming.

“It’s all looking pretty good at the moment.”

The starting figure for the school was just shy of 250 students.

They will be spread across two Prep streams, a Year 1 class, a Year 2 class, a Year 3 class, a Year 4 class and three Year 7 streams.

Mr Begg said the school was projected to reach 1950 students at full capacity.

“If projections are correct, we’ll be Brisbane Catholic Education’s biggest school at 1950,” he said.

The first day will include a chance for the students, staff, parents and community representatives to gather and walk into the school together in a symbolic first-entry.

Being a Josephite school, Mr Begg said the motto was where they were going to start.

“The wording of the motto is very much central to what Josephites do: ‘to love, learn and serve’,” he said.

“Particularly that notion of courage for Mary MacKillop.

“It is a really good way for us to create our identity and culture, and build knowledge of faith through the kids and really get into the Jesus story.”

The college will have six houses – MacKillop, Woods, Ignatius, Francis, McCormack and Unaipon.

The first five represent St Mary MacKillop, Fr Julian Tenison Woods, St Ignatius of Loyola, Pope Francis and Sr Irene McCormack.

The last, Unaipon, was named after David Unaipon who appears on the $50 note.

Although not a Catholic, David Unaipon preached around the same time as Mary MacKillop and has been hailed as an Indigenous hero.

“We will be a diverse community and as an Indigenous person in the 1800s who had the influence he did, he is another patron we can use in the school as inspiration to kids,” Mr Begg said.

Being in Coomera held its unique challenges for the budding college.

“The whole area is brand new,” Mr Begg said.

“New families too, many of whom are new to Catholic education.”

Being in the Brisbane-Gold Coast corridor also meant many of the mums and dads travel to work, which can affect how they are able to participate in school life.

“But, it also opens doors to be a little bit creative to create your community and the opportunities you offer people,” Mr Begg said.

Good Samaritan Catholic College principal Greg Myers said the school was ready to open its doors.

“Finishing touches are being put on, some fine-tuning of technology, but we’re ready to go,” he said.

Good Samaritan is starting with about 175 students with enrolment interviews going on each day.

“We’ll start with two classes of Prep, a Year 1, a Year 2, a Year 3 and three classes of (Year) 7,” Mr Myers said.

“In four years’ time, our projection is about 700 students and in eight to 10 years’ time it will be about 1500 students.”

He said he felt the support of the community rallying around the emerging school.

“We will be the only secondary school in the Bli Bli area,” he said.

“We’re providing a really necessary service.”

Good Samaritan Catholic College is part of the Nambour parish, where the Good Samaritan Sisters have been involved for many years.

“The charism of the Good Samaritan Sisters and the Benedictine tradition they come from is the charism that will guide our work here,” Mr Myers said.

“As well as the story of the Good Samaritan, like the motto of our school – Journey with Compassion – to meet people where they are, to serve the last, the least and the lost of our community.”

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