Three decades of success

CONTRIBUTION: St John's High School Year 12 Student Representative Council members.

CONTRIBUTION: St John's High School Year 12 Student Representative Council members.

This year St John's is celebrating 30 years of providing quality Catholic education to the Shoalhaven, having opened its doors to students on February 12, 1990 under the leadership of principal, Sister Carmel Bambridge and educating 90 Year 7 students.

Today St John's has grown to have an enrollment figure of 962 students in Years 7 to 12 and approximately 120 teaching, executive and support staff under the leadership of principal Mrs Sandra Hogan, who has been at the helm since 2015. Up until 1967 there had been a Catholic secondary school at St Michael's. The parishioners had made efforts to re-establish one, and along with support from Monsignor John Purcell, they were largely responsible for the initial development stages of St John's High School. The school motto was chosen - 'Pax Christi', meaning 'the peace of Christ'.

TAKING THE LEAD: St John's High School's first principal, Sister Carmel Bambridge. Photos: Supplied

TAKING THE LEAD: St John's High School's first principal, Sister Carmel Bambridge. Photos: Supplied

The school has had numerous achievements over the years. Community feedback received following the school's recent open night was extraordinary, with an Ulladulla mother saying she and her daughter were "blown away and desperately wanted to enrol after seeing the facilities, resources, activities and achievements" on offer.

Last year, 15 HSC major projects completed by the 2019 cohort were nominated for prestigious exhibitions across a broad range of subjects including drama, music, visual arts and technology. The Creative and Performing Arts Department continued to excel, winning nine production and performance awards, as well as becoming regional champions in the 2019 National Wakakirri Storydance Competition, and for the ninth year in a row won the Arcadian award for the best school production for Illawarra and South Coast.

1990: Founding staff (back) Wayne Smith, Angela Davies, Greg Kelly, (front) Tracey Bahr, Bill Barry, Sister Carmel Bambridge, Peter Stoyles and Jane McDonald.

1990: Founding staff (back) Wayne Smith, Angela Davies, Greg Kelly, (front) Tracey Bahr, Bill Barry, Sister Carmel Bambridge, Peter Stoyles and Jane McDonald.

The level of both participation and achievement in sport remained high with almost every student attending the 2020 swimming carnival. Seventy-seven students participated at the NSW Triathlon and there was a multitude of success in 2019 with the girls' football team finishing second in NSW. The equestrian team were school regional champions and several students represented at state and national level in a variety of sports.

Aside from academic and sporting achievements, students and staff are encouraged to be involved in their local community through initiatives like the Vinnies Food Van, which supports those in need of meals, as well as nursing home visits, attending Anzac Day ceremonies, Indigenous and cultural events and working with Shoalhaven businesses. St John's will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a foundation day later in the year and looks forward to continuing to serve the community.

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