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Unique learning spaces opened


The foresight of a group of parents who saw a need for an integrated educational facility for students with intellectual disabilities and the generosity of two Adelaide women were acknowledged at the official opening of the Siena Wing at Cabra Dominican College last month.

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The Siena Wing, incorporating the St Mary’s Unit for students with intellectual disabilities and a learning centre for mainstream students with a disability or learning difficulty, was blessed by Archbishop Philip Wilson and officially opened by local Federal MP Nicolle Flint.

The recently refurbished classrooms in the St Catherine’s Wing and a new library and student hub called the Monica Farrelly Atrium were also opened and blessed.

Principal Helen Rieke expressed her gratitude to Mrs Farrelly, an old scholar and benefactor of the college, and the late Anna Hompoth whose donation was used for the St Mary’s Unit outdoor play area and garden.

“Without the generosity, vision and support of these benefactors, our students would not be enjoying beautiful learning spaces today,” she said.

Dr Rieke also noted the support of the Catholic Development Fund for the $5.3 million building project.

“Many of you will know that in 1886, we opened with nine Sisters caring for 111 students in the intermediate and high school,” she said.

“Today we welcome over 1200 students and 150 staff into our gates each morning.”

Dr Rieke said in the late 1970s a small group of parents from St Patrick’s Special School began exploring the possibility of their children attending a mainstream school.

Dominican principals at the time, Sr Maureen O’Connell and Sr Angela Moloney, saw that Cabra was the perfect fit…and so began working with key people.

“Their leadership, faith and conviction in the establishment of a unit that upholds the sacredness and preciousness of each child and provides them with the best education is extraordinary,” she said.



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