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2 February 2021

Blackfriars officially opens Aquinas Centre

On Friday 29 January, it was finally time to officially open our new Aquinas…

On Friday 29 January, it was finally time to officially open our new Aquinas Centre. The Aquinas Centre is the centrepiece of the school’s current Master Plan, and features state-of-the-art science laboratories, as well as tutorial-style ‘Think Tank’ rooms, an open-plan ‘Learning Commons’, traditional classrooms and teacher workspaces for individual and collaborative planning.

While students have been using the centre since its completion in late 2020, it had not yet been formally opened and blessed. Blackfriars was fortunate to have the opening liturgy celebrated by both The Most Reverend Patrick O’Regan DD, Archbishop of Adelaide, and The Very Reverend Anthony Walsh OP, Prior Provincial of the Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We also hosted a number of key guests whose roles were integral in bringing the centre to life, including Blackfriars Board Chair Mr David O’Loughlin (BPS’80) and staff from both architects Swanbury Penglase and builders Partek Construction & Interiors. Along with special guests from across Catholic Education and the Blackfriars Parents & Friends Committee, our school leaders joined in reflection and blessing of this wonderful new facility.

Throughout the liturgy, our speakers reflected on the roles of the student, and of the teacher. Fr Anthony Walsh noted that for the building’s namesake, St Thomas Aquinas, the dignity of the student is central to all teaching and learning.

“St Thomas is the patron of schools and universities, of teachers and students for the whole Church.  And that is no accident. Not only is St Thomas one of the great minds of the Western world, in his own life he helped to usher in a new way of understanding how we both learn and teach…”

“…The student is the centre of the learning, and the way that matters are presented must take into account each and every student, in their uniqueness, created as they are in the image of God,” he said.

This centrality of the student experience is present in the design of the Aquinas Centre, which is fitted with state-of-the-art technology in a wide range of multipurpose spaces. It is also present in the teaching and learning that has already taken place in the building, and that will continue to happen for many years to come.

After the liturgy, guests were invited to take a tour of the Aquinas Centre with our student leaders, before enjoying morning tea in the Year 12 common space, looking out over the picturesque front lawns. We thank all attendees for joining us in this important event, and indeed all members of our school community for their support in the inception and creation of this innovative learning hub, which heralds the beginning of a new era at Blackfriars.