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Back to Where it all Began - POPS and Past Staff College Tour

On Tuesday 19 March a group of Parents of Past Students and Past Staff attended our first-ever tour of the College that was specifically arranged for members of POPS and PS. The registration and gathering of the group took place in the foyer of the Administration Building, and what a stimulating and enthusiastic greeting it turned out to be. Acknowledgement of familiar faces bought about many hugs and smiles, creating an immediate feeling of ‘belonging’.

Whilst it was a reasonably small group, they represented 18 years of Ormiston College students, their graduating years covering 1996 through to 2013. The College, founded in 1988, originally catered for children from Years 1 to 5, with annual growth, the first Year 12 Graduates being in 1995.

The Headmaster, Brett Webster, welcomed the group at the start of the tour and commenced by accompanying them down to the Junior School, which has changed considerably since the very early days when the Friday College Assemblies were held on the lawn in front of Junior Reception. Due to a severe storm nearly two decades ago, many damaged trees had to be removed. However, the Junior School courtyard now displays a lush green ambiance, with many attractive, mature shrubs, plus each year level has its own colourful seated outside learning area. There is also an inviting entry from Dundas Street West leading to the side of the Junior School Office and Health Centre.

The group continued to the Prep Precinct, where they were entertained by an extremely enthusiastic class of Preppies, who proudly presented their very own version of Hickory, Dickory, Dock. From there to a Year 2 class of students working in their Chinese lesson: Chinese being one of the two new languages being introduced into the College. The second language, Spanish, is to be introduced in 2021.

The Early Learning Centre, catering for children from 15 months to five years, was pointed out to the visitors as the tour continued through the Junior School, finally arriving at the Junior Arts Centre. From that building the Headmaster was able to point out other changes to the campus including the addition of the Sports Pavilion overlooking the Junior Oval. The group then moved into the Lecture Theatre of the Junior Arts Centre where they sat and watched a few Ormiston College video commercials that covered various aspects of life at our school.

Moving on from the Junior School, the group were able to view other major changes and advancements. What was once known as the original College Reception and main staffroom, now holds the College Chapel, a large OC Uniform Shop and the school’s Print Room. From there the group processed through the Year 7 Precinct, intentionally built at the location where the Junior School and Secondary School meet, ensuring a feeling of transition from Prep through to Year 12 as being one continuing School.

Crossing the Northern Courtyard, enabled the group to appreciate the landscape, surrounding the attractive lawn area and its many shaded seating spaces. Due to examinations that were taking place on the day, the group were unable to enter the Hall of Fame in the Somerset Sports Centre, however they were able to visit the indoor sports stadium and courts, which bought back memories for some parents of the various trophies and pennants that had been acquired in the day of their graduates.

The very latest addition to the College, the new Centre for Learning and Innovation (CLI), was the next building to be visited. After many years of planning and extensive research, the magnificent building was finally opened at the very end of the 2018 school year, but 2019 has been the year that it has come to life for the students and staff, providing an outstanding, versatile facility for the entire Ormiston College community.

As the POPS and PS group approached the immense building, they were able to appreciate the planned landscape that includes an outside performance Stage, a large Plaza, many tree-shaded seated areas and water features, all surrounded by attractive foliage, plants and birdlife.

On entering the CLI, the group enjoyed the interactive floor space, which changed its various mobile motifs several times during their visit. In one of the large flexible learning areas, the group watched a College video entitled 'Redefining Learning in the 21st Century’. After hearing the Headmaster speak about the College's vision relating to the building and it's important relevance to teaching and learning, they moved down to view the numerous spaces within the CLI. They were shown the various general learning areas, the smaller collaboration spaces, the contemporary recording studio, the state-of-the-art Makerspace, as well as the mixed-reality, robotic and STEM activity spaces. The CLI also hosts comprehensive Junior and Secondary libraries, offices, ITC Services, College Archives and reading and quiet study zones, everything that would provide students of today with the knowledge essential for tomorrow’s world.

The group learnt that the original Tuckshop had now closed and been replaced by a full-service Canteen and Café, also housed in the CLI, providing a very healthy and nutritious menu, which has become very popular. It was there, that a morning tea had been set out for our visitors, concluding the College tour, another relaxing, sit-down time enabling the visitors to catch up, and moreover, reminisce.

Due to the block exams, access to the Lingo Lin Performing Arts Theatre was limited; a small group requested to see the newly refurbished Marsson Aquatic Centre and other areas of the College, which we were happy to accommodate.

All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity for us to reunite with POPS and PS. All of those attending contributed so much to those early years of our school. We have received some wonderful comments from various members of the group, and we are delighted that is was enjoyed and that they are able to go away and inform their adult children that ‘their College’ is something they can be very proud of.

Valerie Warwick