Edmund Rice Education Provides New Catholic Educational Opportunities in the North of the Country

The newest Edmund Rice Education Australia Flexible Learning Centre, Burdekin Education Program was opened on the 19th July by the Bishop of Townsville, Bishop Timothy Harris. This Centre seeks to respond to the needs of young people detached from education. It provides a place for an opportunity to engage in a suitable, flexible learning environment while building honest and authentic relationships with young people, their families, and communities, and supporting and celebrating the uniqueness and dignity of each person.

Beginning with a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country by Uncle Eddie Smallwood, was the Burdekin FLC Community was joined on the day by members of the Gudjuda Reference Group, Burdekin Police, Burdekin Shire Council, including Mayor Lyn McLaughlin, Councillors and EREA staff. State member for Burdekin Dale Last donated National flags to the school. Bishop Timothy gave a beautiful blessing of the building and community, supported by Sister Judy Foster and the Burdekin local parish priest, Fr Manoj Mathew.

“This tremendous new facility represents a partnership and shared vision with the Burdekin Shire Council to provide a place for learning that is respectful of young people and encourages them to flourish. We are also grateful to the both the Traditional Owners and Bishop Timothy Harris for welcoming and blessing this exciting new educational development for young people, ” Dr Craig Wattam, EREA Executive Director shared.

The young people from the Centre played a central role in the opening and blessing through reading, bringing up symbols and presenting their art work. In preparation for the opening the young people spent the week making gifts for each person who attended. They were gifted a small macramé keyring – with a tag that read New Beginnings, reminding us all of the importance of unlocking the future potential, hopes, dreams and voices of our young people.

The Burdekin Flexible Learning Centre is part of Edmund Rice Education Australia, a national system of Catholic schools educating 40000 young people in 55 diverse educational places. EREA aims to offer a Liberating Education, based on a Gospel Spirituality, within an Inclusive Community committed to Justice and Solidarity.