The Principal’s Address at today’s Assembly to farewell the founding Chair of St Columba Anglican School, the Rev. Canon Dr John Barrett OAM, spoke to the heartfelt appreciation of an entire school community, and of generations of students who have been educated at SCAS over the past 17 years.

Good Morning.

As a school student I sat in many assemblies and ceremonies and often wondered: “What has this got to do with me?” Well, I am here to let you know that the man we are honouring today has had a direct influence on the life and the future of every person in this assembly today.

Without John Barrett, today we would be sitting in a scrubby horse paddock rather than in an incredibly successful school. There would be no Iona Centre, no football and netball club. SCAS swimming champions, futsal champions, tennis stars, HRIS, CIS, state or national reps from SCAS.  There would be no Performing Arts Centre next door. No SCAS dancers on the Opera House stage, no sold out Drama performances and no choir going to Carnegie Hall.

We would probably not have our robotics champions, young explorers, Maths whiz kids, Science and Engineering champions or students at the National Arts School. We would not have our champion public speakers, debaters, young environmental warriors, historians, poets or writers.

There would be no Early Learning Centre, ovals, library, canteen or cafe.

There would not be a school that so strongly values every student, every effort and every aspiration. And none of the great teachers who daily offer you such a wide world of opportunities. You see all this has its genesis in an idea formed by John Barrett that this area needed another school. An Anglican school that would offer local students the opportunities usually only available to city students.

This idea became a vision and this vision drew other like-minded individuals together and they worked to create a school – St Columba Anglican School. Having seen his vision realised it would have been easy for John to be happy and step back. But this did not happen. He continued to work behind the scenes using his skills, knowledge and wisdom to ensure that the small and enthusiastic school became the best in the area and then the best regional school in NSW.

He not only deserves recognition for what he has done but also for the reasons he spent so many hours working for SCAS.

He did not do it for the money. We have never paid him a cent for the hundreds and hundreds of hours he has spent working for SCAS.

He did not do it for the glory or personal recognition. He was even embarrassed when the school named the Science Block after him.

He did not do it for his family. His children had already graduated. In fact, the hours he worked cost him family time.

He did it because he believes in serving his community. He did it because he is a man of faith and vision. He did it because he lives by the mantra: Expect Great Things from God, Attempt Great Things for God.

Today we draw a line under a period of great growth and success for our school and we get to thank a man who made the world of opportunities possible.

As Principal of this school, I thank John for his wisdom, support and vision over the years and I ask the school community to give a loud but respectful round of applause for the man who started the journey of greatness for SCAS.

– Mr Terry Muldoon