This week we celebrated 15 wonderful years at our Chidley campus at a small event that included key people who were involved with the project and a group of Year 12 students who were our first Junior Kindergarten students with us in 2006.
Prior to opening Chidley, our Junior School students were located on our Bay View campus, where English, Music and Art currently reside. They played on a small patch of grass where the Palmerston carpark is located and if they wanted to kick a ball, they needed to be escorted to the oval to play alongside our Senior School students. As we reflect on our 125-year history, it’s important to recognise the intergenerational thinking past leaders had that enables us to enjoy the facilities we have today.
Building a new campus is a decision that comes from serious deliberation. We were fortunate to have former Principal, Joy Shepherd share her insights on the mammoth efforts required to purchase the land, build a state-of-the-art campus and then move 350 students plus teachers over the course of a week. It takes a brave heart and considerable determination to undertake a project of this magnitude, while still doing your day job.
Joy shared with us how community support allowed the School to realise its vision. The Junior School campus that we have enjoyed for 15 years, would not have been possible without the generous gifts and donations from an exceptional community that values a St Hilda’s education. We were very fortunate to receive a very generous donation from Old Scholar, Angela Bennett, which gave the School the confidence to initiate the “Spreading our Wings” campaign that was the beginning of significant fundraising efforts in association with the School Council, Foundation, Parents and Friends Association and Old Scholars Association.
Our Chidley campus is a very special place to learn, to grow and to explore. Seeing our girls and staff move around our purpose-built learning spaces and multifunctional areas seamlessly and effortlessly is a credit to the design team lead by James Christou and Partners. Our campus allows our girls and little boys to play and discover and find a sense of freedom, as they explore open spaces and the nature playground.
We look forward to sharing with the St Hilda’s community our next project within our Master Plan later this year. We are looking to “spread our wings” once again. While we know that learning can happen anywhere and at any time in the global interactive era that we all live in, we also know that contemporary learning spaces play an important part in how our students learn and how teaching is delivered.
Very shortly the first Rites of Passage group will depart for our new Yeagarup campus. The dormitory and shared activity spaces will be ready later in the year and we look forward to more outdoor education experiences, cocurricular and curricular camps being based there from next year. Continuing to invest in our facilities is a priority.
We are blessed with three campuses that provide us all with a sense of place and belonging that is uniquely St Hilda’s. As we commit to our next stage of development will continue to maintain the St Hilda’s identity that our girls and community love and cherish.