Staff and students at Our Lady Star of the Sea (OLSS) Catholic Primary School in Cowes celebrated the blessing and official opening of Stage 2 of the School’s Masterplan development which has created additional classrooms, library, and outdoor learning areas.
Father Manny Lomagno - Parish Priest of St Mary’s Parish, Cowes officially blessed the new facilities. He was joined by Ms Jordan Crugnale MP – State Member for Bass, Mr Paul Velten - Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Sale (DOSCEL), Mrs Cathy Blackford - Principal of OLSS, invited guests and friends of the school, parish and the wider community. The official party unveiled plaques to commemorate the occasion.
The Stage 2 development project was principally funded through the Victorian Government Capital Funding Program via a grant of $3,295,000 and a Catholic Development Fund (CDF) loan.
Principal Mrs Cathy Blackford said the project had been transformative for the school which opened in January 2018 with an enrolment of 18 students and has grown to 133 enrolments this year.
“The ground floor extension has created an additional four general learning areas, library and a lift. A new outdoor kitchen space has extended opportunities for learning and social activities, and a roof structure has been added to the hardcourt. A sports oval, additional carparking, and extensive landscaping has significantly enhanced the school’s environs.”
Mr Paul Velten commended the efforts of the project team, school, and parish community.
“Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School is the first Catholic Primary school on Phillip Island, and the result of efforts of a small, dedicated group of parishioners, with the assistance and guidance of Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Limited.”
“To witness the growth of the school over the past five years is testament to their commitment and vision to provide excellent education and to nurture a strong Catholic learning community at Philip Island.”
“These new facilities are providing the necessary resources and spaces for students to thrive academically, spiritually, and socially.”
Mr Velten thanked the Victorian Government and Catholic Development Fund for their support in bringing these extended projects to fruition.
About Our Lady Star of the Sea:
The school started in January 2018 with an enrolment of 18 students in a three-room demountable building on the grounds of St Mary's Church with a small, fenced playing area.
It was relocated to the current site in June 2018 and has rapidly increased enrolments to 133 students in 2023.
The school is situated on a seven-acre block of land near the St Mary’s Catholic Church on Phillip Island with views of the sea and natural habitat. A priority for the initial steering committee was to ensure that the natural amenity and the environmental aspect of the site was acknowledged and reflected in the master plan.
The school’s vision is to provide a welcoming environment open to all that seek a Catholic education. The school aims to foster a sense of stewardship for the natural environment and promote global citizenship underpinned by expert teacher practice that nurtures a progression of learning for all children.