St Francis Xavier kicks off centenary celebrations

We’re 100: Pupils at St Francis Xavier Primary School form the number 100 to celebrate the school’s centenary. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

We’re 100: Pupils at St Francis Xavier Primary School form the number 100 to celebrate the school’s centenary. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

A CENTENARY of educating Ballarat’s youth was celebrated on Tuesday at St Francis Xavier Primary School.

More than 350 pupils and staff from the school formed the shape of 100 on the oval to mark the anniversary.

The celebrations acknowledge both the centenary and St Francis Xavier’s place within the Ballarat community, according to principal Paul Bissinella.

“It is the first official event for the centenary of the school’s registration. We wanted to recognise the date as significant and recognise the huge contribution the school has made to the community,” he said.

The East Ballarat school, known affectionately as Villa Maria, registered as a boys’ boarding school in June 1914 before becoming co-educational in 1974.

It became solely a day school in 1978.

Former teachers and members of the school community, along with pupils’ families, also attended a liturgical service and cake-cutting ceremony to celebrate both St Francis Xavier’s significant history and its future

“The children were very excited this morning, they’re very aware of our links with the sisters and participated beautifully,” Mr Bissinella said.

Grade 6 community service captain Hannah Sully was just proud to be a part of the “cool” occasion, which also included a fly-by of a small aircraft as part of a photo shoot for the school and The Courier.

“We’re pretty lucky to have a really good school like this and it’s really cool how we get to have our last year at a school that’s celebrating 100 years,” she said. 

Centenary events will continue on October 25 and 26 as the school holds an open weekend, showcasing historical memorabilia and plans for future development and a dinner including special guest former student Steve Bracks.

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