St Jude’s Parish Primary School
St Jude’s School, Langwarrin grew from the natural development of St John’s Parish, East Frankston. St Jude’s School is in a natural bush setting on Warrandyte Road. It is the only Catholic Primary School in Langwarrin.
It all began about 1975, when the FCJ Sisters, desirous of undertaking a new mission, sought the permission of the then Archbishop of Melbourne, Frank Little and Fr Walsh of Frankston East to establish a frontier group at Langwarrin. Their task was to establish a primary school and to help build a vigorous parish community.
The Sisters of this Frontier Group were Sr. Margaret Mary Kennedy, Regional Superior and Superior of the Langwarrin FCJ Community and Sisters Ita Joyce, Antonia Ginnivan, Rosemary Crowe and Helen Buckley. Sisters Ita and Antonia were engaged in Parish visiting and pastoral work whilst Sisters Rosemary and Helen were involved in the school. Sr. Rosemary was the first principal of St Jude’s School.
The school opened on 7th February 1978 in the newly completed Parish centre, a large square building, the main part of which was an assembly hall used for Mass on Sundays. Four classes, totaling 104 children, occupied the four corners of the hall and were only partially screened off from one another by bookshelves and cupboards. There were five members of staff. They were: Sr. Helen Buckley, Sr. Rosemary Crowe, Mrs Loretta Heys, Mrs Tricia Henry and Miss Marion Burke.
On 31st May 1978, the St Jude’s Parish Centre and school were blessed and officially opened by his Lordship, Bishop Kelly. In September 1978 the first Country Fair was held to raise money for the school. History says that the day was financially successful and the weather was glorious. As the enthusiasm within the parish and school grew, plans were drawn up for the building of the new school, which with the aid of a government grant commenced in January 1979. As work went on in the school, the increasing enrolment necessitated the addition of two new portable classrooms on loan from the Catholic Education Office in 1979. The new school building was ready for occupation in June 1980. On 15th April 1980 Langwarrin was hit by bushfires which threatened our school buildings. The children were evacuated to the Parish centre whilst parents and fire fighters endeavoured to control the fire.
In 1981 the school’s enrolment reached 200, with 7 full time teachers and 3 part time teachers. This also required two more portables to be placed at the school, bringing the total to four. Up until recently, the portables remained on site and they were purchased from the Catholic Education Office in 1998. 1981 also saw the construction of a new oval, now the site or our new church.
The year 1982 saw a review of St Jude’s School conducted by four members of the Catholic Education Office. The results were a eulogy of praise for the dedicated work of the staff and the educational standard achieved. On November 28th 1982, by official decree of the Archbishop of Melbourne, St. Jude’s was separated from St. John’s and established as an independent parish unit. Fr Lee, as he was always known, was the first pastor of St. Jude’s Parish. The year 1982 saw another huge change with the departure of the FCJ Sisters. The early 1980’s was a time of rapid growth in the area. As enrolments continued to increase plans were drawn up for the building of a six classroom block in 1985. The building was completed and was officially opened and blessed on 19th June 1986.
Around this era was the establishment of the school campus at Pearcedale. This campus was to provide schooling for the children of Pearcedale and surrounding areas. The hall was used a Mass centre on Sundays for a number of years. St. Jude’s Langwarrin staffed the campus and specialist teachers would travel to Pearcedale to deliver programs each week. The campus was closed at the end of the 1995 school year when the new Catholic Primary school in Somerville was opened.
In 1994 work was commenced in developing the back section of the school grounds. Basketball courts and a teacher car park were constructed. In this period extensive landfill was brought in to establish the back oval of the school through the assistance of Aidan Graham. In the period from 1995 onwards the grounds have undergone a dramatic change with the removal of dangerous gum trees and extensive landscaping of the school grounds has been undertaken involving asphalt pathways and the establishment of an extensive array of garden beds creating an ideal school setting.
In June of 1996, the school moved into the newly refurbished original parish centre. This building now contains the school administration office, staff room and also provides an excellent hall and canteen facility. In 2001 through the assistance and generosity of Aidan Graham, we were able to develop the top oval into an excellent sporting facility and landscape the surrounds. We also developed a Wetlands area to provide an outdoor education facility for children to be involved in, replanting the area with indigenous plants and establishing a wildlife corridor.
In 2006 the original four stand alone portables that were on site since the early commencement of the school in Langwarrin were removed. A modular building comprising of 4 classrooms and a multi-purpose area was constructed on the site in June. A three metre wide bull-nosed verandah was constructed around the building and the classes commenced in the new building in August 2006.
In 2006, Frankston City Council called for schools in the area to apply for sponsorship through the Frankston City Council and the Victorian Westernport Greenhouse Alliance to become a 5 star Sustainable School. St Jude’s School was able to achieve our 5 star rating in 6 months becoming the first 5 star Sustainable School in the Melbourne Archdiocese in mid 2007. Sustainability, care of all people and all things in creation, be it natural or human resourced, plays a significant part in the vision and growth of St Jude’s School. Over this period of time the school has actively undertaken a significant number of projects through parent working bees to enhance the school grounds and involvement with the local council, outside agencies and community groups. This has enabled the school community to appreciate and value the environment that we live and learn in.
In 2007 the school received a Commonwealth Community Water Grant which was used to install three water tanks that harvested rainwater from the school’s modular building roof which is then used to flush toilets throughout the school and water the schools garden beds. Achieving a 5 star status has not stopped St Jude’s School’s ambition to become a sustainable school. There are still many more practices to review, projects to undertake and integrated units of study involving environmental education that will further develop environmental leadership of the children in our care. The school is one of twenty schools throughout Australia that has signed up to be a Carbon Trading School through CERES (Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) Other benefits to the school since achieving a 5 star recognition has been a sense of increased community pride, students’ growing awareness and commitment to sustainable practices and the opportunity to publicise and promote the school in the wider community and media. In 2008 as part of our sustainable practices we have developed a vegetable garden site to teach the children to grow vegetables and to utilise them in our healthy eating program.
The school also became a member of the Bayside Catholic Schools As a Social Core Centre network. This has enabled the parents to access parent forums on a range of interesting and current topics involving raising children.
For all that has been given and received at St. Jude’s Langwarrin, Praise the Lord.