Foundation students, parents and staff of Sophia College Plainland celebrate the first day of school at the brand new campus. Photo: Hugh Suffell.
Foundation students, parents and staff of Sophia College Plainland celebrate the first day of school at the brand new campus. Photo: Hugh Suffell.

PHOTOS: Momentous day for new Plainland school

The Lockyer Valley’s newest school opened its doors to foundation students on Wednesday, a momentous step in a journey more than eight years in the making.

Nervous parents lined the path to welcome the cohort of Year Sevens and their teachers as they walked into the hall for the first time.

Father Noyichan M Antony of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Parish, Gatton and Laidley, led the formal celebrations and said it was wonderful for the school to come together for such a momentous day, following a year of lockdowns and gathering restrictions.

Foundation students, parents and staff of Sophia College Plainland celebrate the first day of school at the brand new campus. Photo: Hugh Suffell.
Foundation students, parents and staff of Sophia College Plainland celebrate the first day of school at the brand new campus. Photo: Hugh Suffell.

Each student brought a stone into the hall, which they placed into a basket, a symbol of bringing the community together.

The kids also received a welcome pack that included a Sophia College water bottle, hand made cheese boards for their parents, and their sports house bandannas.

The cheese boards were made from local timber by the Gatton men’s shed.

Sophia College’s foundation Principal, Ms Narelle Dobson, said it was a “historic day” for the school and Lockyer Valley community.

In her maiden speech, Ms Dobson said the students “looked amazing” and said she was looking forward to welcoming each one individually.

Sophia College Principal Narelle Dobson. Photo: Hugh Suffell.
Sophia College Principal Narelle Dobson. Photo: Hugh Suffell.

Ms Dobson told the students the school would set “high standards” throughout their journey to Year 12.

She told the students to ask themselves “who do you want to be” rather than what they wanted to be.

“We will be successful if you no longer need us at the end of your journey,” Ms Dobson said.

In an exclusive interview with the Gatton Star, Ms Dobson said there was a call from the community for a new catholic high school in Plainland and said it was a “privilege” to welcome the new students on opening day.

Ms Dobson said the idea of “forming a community” with families and students seeking a catholic education was a long held dream of hers.

Her vision for the college as principal was to “build an inclusive community” that would bring high quality catholic education to the Lockyer Valley.

The school’s large catchment area meant students from across the Lockyer Valley and wider region had enrolled.

Sophia College Senior Leadership Team. Photo: Hugh Suffell.
Sophia College Senior Leadership Team. Photo: Hugh Suffell.

Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education Ms Pam Betts told the Gatton Star it had been a “great journey” that the Lockyer Valley community got behind to bring the new school to Plainland.

Ms Betts said the Lockyer Valley Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Tanya Milligan had been “spectacular” to work with along the way to bring the new school to Plainland which she said would serve the community for generations to come.

The opening of Sophia College coincides with the celebration of 200 years of catholic education in Australia.

Ms Betts said it was great to open Sophia College in that “special year of celebration”.

The journey to opening Sophia College this week stretches back more than eight years to when the land was purchased.

“Today we see the fruition of the hard work of many people in both Brisbane Catholic Education and the local community and parish, to bring this school to reality,” Ms Betts said.

Ms Betts said enrolment interest was very strong from the early days of establishing Sophia College.

“We knew it was going to attract lots of enrolments and strong interest from the community,” Ms Betts said.

Sophia College becomes the 146th school in the Brisbane Catholic Education group.

Ms Betts congratulated Principal Ms Dobson and all the foundation staff for all their hard work getting the school up and running.

More stories by Hugh Suffell.


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