A College of St Francis Xavier Parish, Ballina

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History

A Brief History

Xavier Catholic College is the realisation of a 30 year dream for the Ballina-Lennox Head Parish. After a number of false starts Stage 1 of the Building Master Plan commenced in June 1999 and the first students came through the gates in January 2000. The college takes its name from St Francis Xavier, a Jesuit priest who evangelised Asia and the Pacific. Together with Mary Help of Christians, he is the patron saint of Australia. St Francis studied at the University of Paris where he met St Ignatius of Loyola and became one of the seven who founded the Society of Jesus and the Jesuits.

The Jesuits base their beliefs on the teaching of their founder St Ignatius and these beliefs are called Ignatian Spirituality. They believed that God was to be found in all things and therefore those that evangelise and spread God’s word can only be done by those active in the world, not withdrawn from the world as is the practice of some other religious orders. Followers of Ignatian Spirituality believe that all human endeavours could be sanctified for the greater glory of God. St Francis Xavier is considered to be one of the greatest missionaries and evangelists of the Church. The name of our College has significance in indicating that this College would play an important evangelising role in the lives of all who are influenced by its presence in the Ballina Parish area.

The Beginning

Xavier Catholic College opened its doors on the 31st January 2000 with 118 Year 7 students in 4 classes, and nine teachers.

Stage One of the five stage development project was built to accommodate Years 7 and 8 although only Year 7 was enrolled for 2000.

  • In 2001 another 130 Year 7 students as well as another class of Year 8 students were enrolled taking the total number to 258 students with 5 classes in both Year 7 and Year 8 for a total of 10 classes. The staff numbers doubled to 18 people.
  • In 2002 extra classes were added to Years 8 and 9 and 6 classes were enrolled in Year 7 so that there were 18 classes with 420 students in Years 7, 8 and 9.
  • In 2003 there were 24 classes with 575 students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 enrolled at Xavier.
  • In 2004 we had 710 students in Years 7 to 11.
  • In 2005 we enrolled 840 students in Years 7-12 which saw the first graduating class of the College.
  • In 2014 the College has nearly 900 students enrolled and is a six stream school. We have 65 teachers and 25 school officers, teaching assistants and services staff.

Learning Environment

Most of our buildings are named after former Bishops of the Lismore Diocese: Satterthwaite, Farrelly, Carrol and Monsignor Doyle. The Jubilee building commemorated the 60 year jubilee of the Diocese. Our Library is named after Sr June Cole a Presentation nun and long term servant of the Ballina Parish and also honours the service and contribution of the Presentations Sisters to education in Ballina

Stage One consisted of the Xavier Administration Building, (incorporating offices and staffroom), Satterthwaite Science Building (consisting of 7 laboratories and associated facilities) and the Jubilee Building (four permanent classrooms, incorporating a Learning Centre).

Stage Two was built in 2001 and opened in 2002.  This stage was built to accommodate Years 9 and 10. It consists of:

A purpose built technology centre the Farrelly Building with domestic and commercial kitchens; wood technology rooms and wood working bays; metal technology rooms and welding bays; composite design rooms for wood, plastic, and electronics; textiles rooms, graphic design rooms and senior seminar areas.

The Carrol Building was also constructed in this stage and is a two storey, 10 classroom block with change rooms and student amenities and four computer rooms.

In addition to the new buildings extensive refurbishments in stage two included a new science laboratory, and extra art room, a temporary canteen, temporary drama, dance and music rooms, a new carpark, an undercover assembly and lunch area and the college oval.

Stage Three completed in 2004 comprises 10 teaching spaces, 2 specialist technology spaces for video digital editing suites, 2 computer labs and a leading edge information centre/library complex.

Stage Three also included the development of netball, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts as well as a refurbishment of office and student amenities with more seating and shade areas.

Stage Four was completed by the start of 2006 and includes a further science laboratory and associated science facilities. It also saw the construction of our Creative and Performing Arts Complexes with visual arts facilities, photographic facilities, digital and video editing suites, art courtyard with ceramic and pottery kiln and senior art making areas.

The Music Department was enhanced with new classrooms, digital composition laboratory, performance spaces, recording and practice studios and music courtyard.

There will also be more student amenities and a covered amphitheatre and senior student lunch and recreation area.

Stage Five was completed in 2008 and comprises a new dance studio, rehearsal spaces, drama theatre, entertainment industry suite, covered amphitheatre, new basketball courts, student amenities, classrooms, canteen, cafeteria, hospitality kitchen and bus bay shelters.

Stage Six  incorporates a multi-purpose hall, a theatre and associated storage and student facilities. This stage commenced in 2010 and was completed and opened in 2012.  The new College Multi-Purpose Hall and PE Learning Centre is named the Magis Centre (pronounced “màh-gis”) was officially opened on Wednesday, 13 June, 2012. Magis is an Ignatian spirituality Latin term meaning “more”.  It is used in the context of “Doing More for the Glory of God.”

This is a wonderful new additional to the College and sees the completion of the final stage of the College building plan.

Xavier Catholic College now has all its classes digitally on line with fibre optic connections and an integrated wireless network with state of the art technology and resources truly a college of the 21st century.