Four generations of the Preston family have been educated at St Augustine's Primary School in Creswick, and after the school received a "surprise" $3.3 million of funding for a new building they hope it will continue to educate many more generations to come.
Ballarat MP Catherine King visited the school on Tuesday, December 5, to announce the capital grants funding which will involve construction of a new general learning area to be used for specialist subjects including science, arts and Japanese, and new administration and staff facilities.
Grade five student Oscar Preston said the new build would be "awesome for the little kids coming through" and provide more space in the playground as it replaces existing portables.
Oscar is the fourth generation of his family to attend St Augustine's starting with his great grandmother Mollie Rush who started at the school 100 years ago.
"It's really weird but pretty special knowing it's been 100 years of this family come through and next year it will be 101 years at this school for our family," he said.
Grandfather David Preston, whose mother was the first in the family to attend, said the school had changed greatly over the years - including a massive influx of pupils when he was a student there.
He attended during the 1950s, heading to high school a year before the "new school" opened in 1958.
"We've seen a lot of change in the school over the years. In 1953 there was one nun teaching prep to grade eight, at the start of the year there was 28 children at the school and at the finish of the year there was 117 - that was the influx of Dutch migrants who came to Creswick ... which made a big difference to how things happened and that's why the new school had to be built," Mr Preston said.
Mr Preston said there was a "certain pride" in seeing the school develop over the years as his children and then grandchildren attended.
"It's great to see more funding go in and the school advance and go ahead. It augers well for the town as well as the parish and school," he said.
"The irony of it is Oscar and I will suffer the same fate because when I left school there in 1957 I left out of the old school and the new school wasn't opened until later in 1958, so I never got to go in the new school ... now Oscar is going to be in the same fate he will leave school before this other school is ready."
This will be the first major works undertaken at the school in 15 years.
St Augustine's Primary School principal Michael Heenan said the $3.3 million grant was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity for the school which will "enhance future generations" of learners at the 165-year-old school.
Mr Heenan said current conditions in some existing classrooms were "pretty awful" and welcomed the injection of funds.
"We've got glass that doesn't keep them warm in winter and glass that makes them hotter in summer but our kids are so resilient," Mr Heenan said.
"We've got the best kids ... and an exceptional community that stretches to Clunes and Blampied for miles and miles."
The school community will grow next year, from 126 students this year to 134 with most of the new prep students at school for a transition day when the announcement was made.
"This upgrade will support the daily learning and playing of St Augustine's students and I look forward to seeing the positive impact these new facilities will have on the school community," Ms King said.
"We know how important it is for education to be undertaken in a modern, fit-for-purpose facility and the investment here in a school that offers such great care to the community for generations really is a delight."