St Francis of Assisi College welcomed over 100 special guests and community
members to its Blessing and Official Opening on February, Monday 28, 2022. Thunder clouds, lightning, and rain couldn’t dampen the students’ enthusiasm and obvious pride in their new school, as they welcomed guests under umbrellas, to their seats on the College’s outdoor (covered) basketball courts.
Bishop Karol Kulczycki, SDS, led the College community in the formal Blessing of the new school with active involvement from various College and Our Lady of the River Parish members. These included presentations of school candles by Student Leaders from each of the Riverland’s four Catholic Primary Schools, along with symbolic placement of Symbols of Learning and Wellbeing, the Glass College Cross, the College’s Motto and Parish Logo. First Nations Elder, Aunty Faith Morgan, gave a Welcome to Country and the audience listened to her singing the ‘Rainbow Song’.
Mr John Gardner, Minister for Education, officially opened the College. Mrs Nichii Mardon, Director of Catholic Education, Port Pirie Diocese, and Professor Denis Ralph, Chair of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools, addressed the audience with their inspiring messages about how the College came to be, of the underpinning ethos of the College’s motto ‘Laudato Si’, and of the optimistic future the College promises.
A beautiful feature of the ceremony was the ‘Pelican Project’. In collaboration with Berri based First Nation Artist Kat Bell and college students, the Pelican Project was brought to life. The Pelican Project not only acknowledged Meru country on which the college stands it also linked the
various towns of the beautiful Riverland region together through the iconic bird, the pelican, or known in local First Nation language as ‘Nori’. The project included the development of an animation showing the gathering of pelicans across the five Riverland towns making their way to the College in Renmark. The project culminated at the opening with the entrance of a beautiful, large pelican puppet, managed by three student puppeteers.
Following the ceremony guests enjoyed refreshments and a chance to catch up with the College students, staff and various members of the broader Catholic Diocese of Port Pirie.