Celebrations at Iona as Darling Point make themselves at home

Celebrations at Iona as Darling Point make themselves at home

Iona College was privileged this morning to share in a celebration of pure joy, as the Darling Point Special School community gathered for their first assembly to officially move into their new temporary facilities on the Iona campus at Lindum.

In a beautiful and moving coming together of friends and communities, DPSS were officially welcomed to their new home, where they will be based while demolition and new building works are completed at their regular site on the Manly Esplanade.

While the assembly was a welcoming party, it was also a dual birthday celebration – with both schools marking 65 years since they opened their doors to students.

Remarkably, both Iona College and Darling Point SS began on the same day – 28 January, 1958.

Now, 65 years later, it was a poignant touch that the two schools were able to celebrate their birthdays and strengthen the bond between the two by sharing a campus at Lindum.

The assembly was attended by a number of special guests, including Member for Lytton Joan Pease MP, Lead Principal and Assistant Regional Director for the Queensland Department of Education Ray Hack, DPSS Principal Charmaine Driver and the Iona Leadership Team, headed by Rector Fr Michael Twigg OMI and Principal Trevor Goodwin.

Ms Pease congratulated both schools on working together in friendship to create a positive outcome for the local community and its families.

Wayne Niven, another member of the Iona staff, spoke passionately about his former time as a teacher at Lindum State School and the significance of keeping our local history together, with the DPSS classrooms bringing education back to the exact spot where the former school had once stood.

They were sentiments echoed by Fr Michael, who expressed his joy at being able to welcome DPSS to Iona, and build on the history of Lindum with a new chapter of cooperation.

“Lindum is still alive, it still has its own identity, and (DPSS) make it better and stronger by being here,” Fr Michael said. “There are more students in Lindum, with you being here, than there have ever been before.

“I am really pleased to welcome you.”

Ms Driver was marking an additional milestone: Aside from the move to the new campus, and the shared birthday of the two schools, 28 January, 1958 was also the day she began her education career by starting as a Year 1 student.

“There are a lot of synergies that just add to making this such a special occasion,” Ms Driver said.

“To be here today is just fabulous, and I am absolutely amazed at how well everyone has settled in.

“With Iona providing this facility, we have been able to keep all of those relationships between students, and with their teachers – and it is just so important.

“There was nothing here and look at where we are now. And where would we be without it? Well, we would be nowhere, because we wouldn’t have been able to start demolition until we found somewhere to go.

“We have been sending photos of the demolition work being done to the students, and one of the children said: ‘They broke my school’. But by being here, they still have their own place together.

“There is real excitement in both communities about this coming together. The children are excited to use bigger spaces, the staff are collaborating, and seeing another side to their world.”

The morning finished in a fitting fashion, with the cutting of a birthday cake for the two schools, and the singing of Happy Birthday, before the DPSS and Iona students shared a wonderful dance party to the DPSS song, “Keep a Dream in Your Pocket”.

The final speaker for the day was DPSS student Wyly, who captured the sentiment of the day perfectly with his heartfelt message: “Thank you everyone for our school,” Wyly said, “and bless you.”