The official opening of the new, $32.5 million senior campus of the Wonthaggi Secondary College will take place on Friday.
The kids arrive at the new school for the first time tomorrow, Thursday, but already staff are in there today getting to know their new surrounds, preparing for the arrival of the students… and the bevy of special guests coming along on Friday.
It’s going to be a circus, but also a major celebration.
It was getting to the point where the community thought is was never going to happen.
But there were several ‘heroes’ whose role was crucial in finally delivering the funding.
We know who you are – and thank you.
Who could forget the intervention of recent students, Hannah McKittrick and Dom Brown, at a meeting with the Education Minister James Merlino in October 2017?
And the Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing. She copped a thrashing in the media when the 2017 State Budget ignored Wonthaggi but the she re-doubled her efforts and was pivotal in the final outcome – $32.5 million glorious dollars for Wonthaggi Secondary!
Darren Parker the principal, of course, did a huge job, together with Geoff Robertson the school council president who brought the whole community on board, including the Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Association and all the other groups.
And the Bass Coast Shire Council and staff – they were great with their constant advocacy.
The fact that there was a crucial election coming up in Bass certainly helped too and both the successful candidate Jordan Crugnale of the ALP and the vanquished Brian Paynter of the Liberals both put their hearts and souls into the funding campaign.
And the Premier Daniel Andrews, he has visited the school many times and has taken a personal interest in the progress of the Wonthaggi Secondary Senior Campus. It would not surprise to see him turn up on Friday as well.
Education Minister Merlino previewed Friday’s opening during a visit to Leongatha on Tuesday this week, saying: “This has been such a wonderful project”.
“We’ll also have more to say about the progress being made on the junior campus for Phillip Island, San Remo and the Waterline towns.”
He said it was a fine example of what could be achieved when government, local government and the community worked together as a team.
“Because this is also going to provide a great boost to the sporting facilities on offer at Wonthaggi and we have the shire, the basketball association and the other sporting groups to thank for that.”
He was quick, also, to pay tribute to his colleagues Harriet Shing and Jordan Crugnale for their persistence.
It’s going to be a great day for Wonthaggi and district but we won’t forget the heroes of the day.