St Charbel’s College Silver Jubilee

St Charbel’s is a very special place.

It’s a place where life begins and ends. A place of sacrament and service, and a place of learning.

The students of St Charbel’s learn more than just what is in a text book. They learn a way of life. A commitment the Maronite Catholic faith.

In 1984 the doors of St Charbel’s opened to 78 students. 25 years later, more than 1,000 students pass through its doors every day.

Over those 25 years it has also welcomed three Prime Ministers. Bob Hawke, John Howard and a Prime Minister who was also its Local Member, Paul Keating.

I hope to bring Prime Minister Kevin Rudd here one day soon. He can’t be here today, but he has asked me to pass on this message to you. He writes:

“St Charbel’s College has reached an important milestone in its history. As a relatively young school it has much to celebrate.

When the Lebanese Maronite Order founded the College in 1984, they had a clear desire to combine a quality education with a respect and understanding of the Maronite Catholic faith. The values of justice, peace, love, compassion, acceptance, generosity and service have provided a foundation by which students are supported to reach their full potential.

Australia is home to many different cultures, united by tolerance, mutual respect and democratic traditions. The Maronite order, staff, family and students of St Charbel’s College are strongly committed to making a significant contribution to Australian social, cultural, economic and religious life.

I would like to offer my congratulations on the 25th anniversary of St Charbel’s college.”

The Honourable Kevin Rudd MP, Prime Minister of Australia

Today we write a new chapter in that story with the official opening of a new secondary building, a new examination hall and the laying of a foundation stone for a new multipurpose hall.

The Saint Neemtallah Building takes it name from the Maronite saint who was a great teacher. St Charbel was one of his students. The Mary Mackillop centre, is named after the Australian nun who dedicated her life to the education of the poor.

The naming of these two building after these two people sums up what this college is about – the nurturing of the Maronite faith and the embracing of Australia’s heritage and values.

In 25 years, St Charbel’s has come along way.

I am very proud to represent the community of St Charbel’s in the Federal Parliament. I am proud of the community that has made these projects happen. And I am proud to be part of a government that has provided the funding and support for these projects, that has provided the shoulders for this college to see further and to reach new heights.

But the story is far from over. 25 years is just the beginning. The courage, the hard work, and commitment of the school’s founders live on in the staff, teachers and students of St Charbel’s today. And I know it will tomorrow. Congratulations.