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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3311

Mr COLEMAN (Banks) (10:30): I am pleased to rise today to congratulate St George Christian School on its recent open day. St George Christian School is a large school with the main campus located at Hurstville in my electorate. Last Friday, 21 March, it held its annual open day, and I was privileged to be able to attend and address the audience of staff, students and parents. The school takes a broad approach to education, with a whole-person approach to intellectual, social, physical, emotional and spiritual development. One of the distinguishing features of the school is its approach to community service. It strives to ensure that its students form a strong understanding of the world around them so that they may best take their place within it.

On my visit to the school I was shown a display which students had prepared related to Australia's involvement in World War I. This display, which has been prepared to commemorate the centenary of the war, helps students to understand the sacrifices that were made in that most awful of conflicts. The display is detailed and moving, and it is a credit to all who were involved in putting it together. The theme of the open day was 'service'. I was privileged to address the assembled audience on this theme. It was an appropriate theme, given the great service that the school provides in the community.

In a society with so much emphasis on personal advancement, it was good to take the time to reflect on the importance of committing to activities that are bigger than oneself. Of course, it is easy to get consumed by our daily lives. It is easy to lose sight of the broader picture as we work through our daily schedules. But we know that communities are built by those who show up. Whatever the stage, big or small, society gains a lot when people put their hand up to help.

The theme of 'service' is particularly important in the context of the school's broader spiritual mission. In encouraging its students to consider the broader world around them, the school is reminding them of one of the important tenets of Christianity. There is much to be done in this life, and we all have a responsibility to do our part. As John F Kennedy said in his inaugural speech, 'Here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own.'

St George Christian School is very well led by its principal, Mr James Honour. I have visited the school twice in recent months and have been struck on both occasions by the professional nature of its staff. I was also pleased to meet a number of members of the school board, and in particular its chairman, Mr Bruce Meller. School communities are not built without the active participation of parents, and the hundreds of people in attendance at the open day demonstrates the close link between the parent community and the school.

One of the great things about being the member for Banks is having the opportunity to meet the many organisations in the electorate. St George Christian School is a wonderful example of the strength of our community. I thank the school for all of its work and wish it every success for the year ahead.