Speech at opening of new facilities at Galilee Catholic School 

Simon Birmingham: Teachers, staff, parents, friends, members of the community, boys and girls, thank you so much for the opportunity to be with you all today to share in the opening of your new building. But importantly, as Archbishop Wilson has rightly reflected, to celebrate all that is wonderful about your school, and all the gifts that you have here in your school, and all of the opportunities that gives you, boys and girls, to be able to achieve and do so much here at school, and from your school through to the rest of your lives. 

As the Minister for Education, I get to visit lots of schools right around Australia. I get to see lots of wonderful, hard-working teachers. I get to see wonderful school settings, few though as beautiful as this one sitting here between the sea and the vines and the hills in this magnificent location, and I get to meet lots of wonderful boys and girls. And I’ve thought over time about how it is to talk to boys and girls and say what is it that makes a wonderful school community, and I’ve come up with a little analogy, a little comparison of something that I find most boys and girls quite like. So, boys and girls, to you, who likes chocolate cake? It’s nearly universal is it? And who likes to help mum or dad, or grandma, or grandpa, or somebody else to make chocolate cake? Pretty much everybody likes that too. What do you need to do to make chocolate cake? What do you need to do? Yup, you there, yes?

Unidentified Speaker: [Indistinct].

Simon Birmingham: You need some sugar and some chocolate, yes. [Indistinct].

Unidentified Speaker: [Indistinct].

Simon Birmingham: More chocolate? Okay. Sugar, chocolate, and more chocolate. Yes, over there. You had your hand up?

Unidentified Speaker: Some eggs.

Simon Birmingham: Some eggs, always pretty good. Yes, in the middle. Yes?

Unidentified Speaker: [Indistinct].

Simon Birmingham: Milk? Milk’s pretty good. What about at the back there?

Unidentified Speaker: Way more chocolate.

Simon Birmingham: Way more chocolate. Okay. It probably needs some flour and all of those sorts of- because you need ingredients, you need a recipe. You need to be able to put all of those different ingredients together, and when you put them together, following the recipe, you get a yummy chocolate cake. For a wonderful school that gives you great opportunities you need lots of different ingredients as well. You need teachers, support staff, administrative staff, a principal, who all work so hard to share their knowledge, to help you to learn. You need, of course, families, parents, grandparents, others who come together and help provide the support for you to come to a wonderful school like this, but also gives so much to help [indistinct]. 

You need community. A school is not just an island itself, it is part of the wider community: the community of church and of parish, the community of your local environment here, your local council and your local government, of all in the local community who come together. And yes, you need things like buildings, bricks and mortar, the wonderful learning environments that you have that enable you to be able to grow and learn more. They’re all the different ingredients that, like the ingredients in a chocolate cake, come together to form and create a wonderful school. And as Education Minister, what I want to do today is, yes, be here to celebrate your great new building, but particularly, for you boys and girls, give thanks for your teachers and the other staff here at Galilee Catholic School for all of the amazing hard work and wonderful things they do to help support you, to thank them, to thank your parents, your family, and those in the community and in the church who all come together to help make this such a wonderful school environment that gives you such a great opportunity. 

You of course are the most important ingredient. There’s no school without boys and girls, and you are also the ones who need to make the most of the great opportunity that’s given to you here; to learn lots, to give back, and to make sure that as you, particularly the year sevens who are finishing here at Galilee over the coming few weeks, as you go on to your next school and do other things in life, you take all of the lessons you’ve learned from here and you put them to good use, and you give back in helping others and in doing more in our community so that boys and girls in the future have the same type of wonderful opportunities that you have. 

So thank you for letting me come and speak to you today. Thank you for letting me share in the opening of your wonderful new building, and good luck to all of you. I hope that over the many years to come you have many wonderful experiences here, and in all the rest of your educational opportunities, and the rest of your lives. Thank you so much, and it’s my pleasure to officially declare your new administration building open.