Marist Catholic Primary School in Herne Bay, Auckland has celebrated the opening of a new school building, which will enable the school to accommodate an additional 90 students.

Marist Primary principal Louise Campbell said the Jeanne Marie Chavion Building has two innovative learning environments where, on both floors, three teachers and three classes of students can work collaboratively. The building was named after the founder of the Marist Sisters, under whose charism the school operates.

“It’s an exciting prospect for us at school to be able to meet the demand for values-based Catholic education in our community,” she said. “The building will enable us to take on more students and to meet the local demand for a Catholic school, with a strong emphasis on values and academic excellence.”

The building was funded by the Ministry of Education and the Auckland Catholic diocese. In 2014, the Ministry of Education granted the school a roll growth from their current maximum of 210 to a maximum roll of 300 students. This was the beginning of their journey to new classroom spaces to accommodate the increased roll.

Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn blessed the school on February 23. He gave the students gathered outside the building a little information about Jeanne Marie Chavion.

He explained that when Sr Jeanne Marie was a little girl, she saw the problems in the society in which she was living.

“She said, ‘someone must do something. I’ll do something’. And we pray that you’ll get the same spirit. You’ll look around and say, ‘what are the needs in our society? What needs to be done? Who’s going to do it?’ And then say, ‘me’,” he said.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye replaced the sod that she removed a year ago as part of the blessing of the site.

“We want you to grow up and be whoever you want to be but also your role in life and one of the greatest contribution each of can make is to be a good person. That’s one of the reasons we love Catholic education,” she told the students.

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