A warm and welcoming atmosphere

Welcome: St Mary MacKillop College principal Frank Norton said there is a feeling when you first enter the college, “That warm, welcoming nature and positive energy is a strong part of who we are.”
Welcome: St Mary MacKillop College principal Frank Norton said there is a feeling when you first enter the college, “That warm, welcoming nature and positive energy is a strong part of who we are.”

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It’s been a big two years for St Mary MacKillop College since the amalgamation of St Joseph’s School and MacKillop Catholic College in 2016.

And while some things may have changed, the great things about the community have stayed the same.

“There is something optimistic, calm and enchanting when you walk through the college for the first time,” said principal Frank Norton, who joined the community at the beginning of the year.

He commented that the students seem to be happy: happy to work with each other, happy to strive for success and comfortable having the constant support and care from staff.

These elements, in particular, he sees as the perfect building blocks for innovation.

The school community has also built a quality reputation.

ATAR scores for last year’s graduates placed the college in the top 50 schools across WA as the second highest regional school.

It’s a credible achievement, but Frank is quick to point out that this ranking is only a small part of the potential in each child that the college works to develop.

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Head of primary Jo Paini said the focus is on building a foundation of academic and interpersonal skills, and then continuing to strengthen these foundations all the way through to year 12 and beyond.

The K-12 college had to do even better than the achievements of each of the former schools, otherwise, there was no sense in amalgamating.

It has been a process of identifying and retaining what was already great and then exploring new possibilities.

The college gym completed last year provides more of these opportunities for students, including performing arts, sports and hospitality.

It includes a sprung-floor dance studio, weights room and climbing wall, as well as a commercial kitchen and stage, sound and lighting equipment.

The college encourages students to find a healthy balance in life, and these kinds of facilities, as well as the new leadership program, starting at year 5, not only broaden but enhance their academic pursuits.

In 2017 the college has been looking closely at the critical time when students move from primary to secondary, ensuring up to fifteen years of seamless education within this caring community.

Frank stresses that each child needs to have the opportunity to shine in the college, and this includes those students who join the community in year 7.