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The Berne Education Centre - 10th Anniversary Celebrations


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08/06/2007: Australia


hspace=5Distinguished guests, students, staff, parent’s, volunteers, supporters and past varieties of all of the above assembled at Berne to celebrate 10 years of life. Superb speeches from Government Minister Linda Burney (her son attended Berne), Br John Thompson, Michael Flanagan, parent Eva La Rocca and past student Eric la Rocca told the story and acknowledged the assistance of so many from CEO; to the trivia tables. A great celebration and acknowledgment of Michael’s leadership and staff dedication.

Berne Education Centre - A Short History
After many months of discussions, hard work and organisation, the Berne Education Centre officially opened its doors for students in Term 2 of 1998. Ask any member of staff from that day and they will clearly remember the students, the activities and the meeting at the end of the day when those famous words were muttered:
“Well, back to the drawing board”. Ten years later the students are still coming through the doors, the activities are still happening and the meetings at the end of the day still take us back to the drawing board—improving always, changing always and remembering “Hope Always”.

In such a short period of time, this small school has had a life changing impact on so many individuals and their families and the main reason is because it has always dealt with the individual.

Since that first day there has been a phenomenal amount of change. At the very beginning we had an office, a couple of teaching spaces, the community room and access to the canteen and one of the technics rooms. We started with 8 members of staff and 30 students. We now have 10 classrooms, a science lab, technics room, art room, 3 special program areas. 3 counsellors offices, a community room, 3 garage spaces—and the list goes on. The increase in our facilities has certainly been matched with a growth in our population with 26 staff and approximately 37 students.

Beme has certainly been graced with many different characters and all will stay in our hearts for a long time to come. It is often said that as teachers we very rarely see the fruits of our labor. This is somewhat different for us here at Beme. Nothing can compare to our Graduation evening at the end of Year 10 where students are presented with the certificate that many have been told they would never receive. It is on this night that we as educators truly understand what our vocation is all about.

Throughout our 10 years we have been blessed with the army of volunteers that have constantly supported our staff and students. Geoff George once commented that this place is fall of angels and our volunteers have certainly attested to this— often arriving at the very moment that we desperately needed them.

An understanding of the individual is what has lead to the development of so many of our programs. Throughout the last 10 years the following programs and activities have been undertaken and are what characterize our school.

This short history of Berne though would not be complete without mention of our Principal, Br Michael. Everyone would certainly agree that the success of any school can be directly attributed to the success of the Principal. Bene has been a success and that is because Br Michael has been a success. Br Michael’s ability to see beyond the surface in not only his students but also his staff is what has made the key difference at Beme. His constant encouragement to each of us to go beyond and to dream is what has enabled the different programs to come into existence and to constantly evolve. What truly stands out though is the fact that Mick has witnessed to each one of us what Marcellin Champagnat had asked him to do: To walk in his footsteps and to treat each one as if they were his own.

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