For the first time in almost 40 years, Blackfriars has welcomed female secondary students.
Ashmeet Kaur and Shiuli Fernando, from the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH) College, are studying Stage 2 Specialist Mathematics at Blackfriars in 2024.
With just two students wanting to study the subject at OLSH this year, the two schools worked together to coordinate timetables to ensure the girls a place in the Year 12 class at Blackfriars.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Ashmeet and Shiuli to Blackfriars in 2024,” Principal David Ruggiero said.
“Over the past few years, we’ve worked to strengthen the relationship between Blackfriars and OLSH and collaborated on a number of events, including International Women’s Day.
Ashmeet, who wants to study computer science at university, was thankful for the opportunity to continue her Specialist Mathematics studies.
“I enjoyed doing it (Specialist Mathematics) last year and I really wanted to do it this year as well,” Ashmeet said.
Shiuli is eyeing a career in robotic engineering, Stage 2 Specialist Mathematics a university prerequisite.
“I really like maths … it’s the problem solving,” Shiuli said.
History of ‘Blacks girls’
Back in 1968, senior female students from OLSH and St Dominic’s attended Blackfriars to study Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.
A decade later, nine girls from Kildare College started studying at Blackfriars after the school established a Business Course as an alternative pathway for Year 12 students.
Blackfriars went on to accept senior students from all-girls’ Catholic schools for a number of years. The school even had an Open girls’ netball team.
Old scholar Michelle Mahoney (nee Richmond) said she was “very confident” she would be picked for Blackfriars netball team.
“It was 1980 and I was just one of eight girls enrolled at Blackfriars in a school of 850 boys,” she told the school’s 60th anniversary commemorative book.
“It was an exciting time in my life and one I look back on very fondly. I am very lucky that I had the opportunity to study at Blackfriars and that I can call myself a ‘Blacks girl’.”
Blackfriars and OLSH plan to work together into the future to offer students from both school access to a range of subjects that would otherwise be unavailable.