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Big anniversary for little school at Bondi Beach

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The community at Galilee Catholic Primary celebrated its school’s milestone with fun on Bondi Beach. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
The community at Galilee Catholic Primary celebrated its school’s milestone with fun on Bondi Beach. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

Famous worldwide for its surf, sun and celebrities, Bondi’s best-kept secret just might be its beautiful little Galilee Catholic Primary School.

It came of age this year and its relatively small student cohort has also increased by around a third under the direction of principal Brian Anderson.

On 19 October the school celebrated the 21st anniversary of the day the school was renamed Galilee, after an amalgamation of St Anne’s Primary School Bondi Beach and St Patrick’s Primary School Bondi in 2002.

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The close-knit community of less than 100 families and dedicated staff also launched its revised school values of compassion, service and stewardship and excellence, after months of prayer and consultation.

The new values draw on the original charism of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, Sydney Catholic Schools’ values, and the school’s existing values.

With Bondi Catholic parish priest Fr Anthony Robbie away in Rome and so unavailable to celebrate Mass, the community gathered for a short prayer liturgy under the trees in the playground, reflecting on Jesus’s miracles by the sea of Galilee as told in Matthew’s Gospel, and on their new school values.

They gave thanks for all who had contributed over the last 21 years, especially Allana Vedder, the first principal.

Then students waved goodbye to parents and grabbed hats, buckets and spades to walk the short distance to the iconic beach for a play in the sand, later returning for birthday cake and games in the afternoon.

Mr Anderson has led the school for the last couple of years and told The Catholic Weekly that re-examining and committing to new school values was part of an effort to remain intentional in living out its Catholic identity.

“It has been a very healthy process involving the whole community and I’m very proud of what we have achieved,” he said.

Mission animator for the Sisters of Mercy Anna Pinto said their founder Catherine McAuley would be proud of the school because the consultative process it undertook to decide on the four core values was “very much her style.”

“It’s lovely and very affirming to see how her legacy, her sisters’ charism, is continuing today,” she said.

School captains Tayla Beazley and Flynn Larkin were also very proud of their school and especially its people from the youngest students to its principal.

“Everyone gets along together here and today is very special for us to be turning 21,” said Flynn.

“Although we have been here for ages watching the school grow has been amazing, we have new staff and a new principal and everything is going really well.”

“I’m really proud and I think our new values will be good for the next generation at Galilee,” Tayla added.

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