Mr CAMPBELL (Keira) [12.31 p.m.]: I bring to the attention of the House the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Corrimal High School on 24 February. An open day was held on that date and I, as the local member, had the opportunity to join in the celebration along with many other people. As a former student of the school I was asked to speak about my time at the school and its contribution to our community. Another speaker was Dr Marie Lyall, the principal of the school, who recently announced her retirement from the public school teaching system, and I wish her well. Other speakers included Chris Carroll, the district superintendent; Malcolm Pusell, the past president and life member of Corrimal High School parents and citizens association; and Brian Ferry, a former student, former head teacher of science and now a professor in the faculty of education at the University of Wollongong.
The occasion was a celebration of the high school that during its 50 years has proudly been a comprehensive school, one that has been equally coeducational, and one that has worked very well with its community and has a long involvement with, great support from, and interaction with, its community. This was reflected by the way the open day proceeded, with many people attending to celebrate the fact that in 1951 the school opened with 650 students and 30 teachers and that in 2001 it has approximately 590 students and 50 teachers. Interestingly, during its 50 years the school maintained a Latin motto "Ad Altiora", which means "To the heights", but it now has a modern motto: "Aiming for excellence".
Corrimal High School has celebrated not only its contribution to our community over the years but also to former students who have made a contribution in a number of ways since leaving the school. Former students include Vince Jones, a world-renowned trumpet player and jazz and blues singer; Russell Mulcahy, a film director of movies such as "The Highlander" and "On the Beach"; Leigh Rowles, a very successful ballet dancer and teacher in this country; Craig Young, a rugby league player with St George who represented Australia; Brian Ferry, a lecturer in education at Wollongong University, to whom I have already referred; and Phillip Jarratt, who worked with Yvonne Goolagong-Cawley on her autobiography.
A young man named Tod De Clouett is the first Aboriginal student of the school to gain a double degree from Wollongong University in commerce-accounting and financial management. Scott Chiperfield, who plays for the Wollongong Wolves in the National Soccer League and recently represented Australia in Colombia, is also a former student of the school. As can be seen, a number of former students have been involved in cultural and sporting pursuits. The present Anglican Bishop of Wollongong, Dr Reg Piper, is also a former student and captain of the school.
Corrimal High School has a proud tradition in sport, but equally it has a very strong presence these days in the arts. Another former student and school captain in 1998 is a young man called Aaron Hughes. The souvenir magazine for the open day contained a poem that Aaron wrote, entitled It's 5.16 a.m.. The poem reads:
There is no one on this street
Small children could play in the middle of the road.
There is no sun. Before dawn.
They saunter out. Like proud cats they
cluster the centre of the highway. Awaiting.
"Parade march" is answered by a sound of
black padded shoes stomping.
The march is slow; remembering.
To say "Pop" is to have a hundred heads turn your way.
"Dad" even more.
Yet these men are not family figures.
Today they are an archipelago. Remote, distant from us,
together in their sadness.
"My Pop took a bullet," says a young man, nudging me.
I smile (what else can I do?)
As he greets more and more of his relatives and friends.
They all walk together and I stumble along behind.
Wreaths are laid. Prayers are said.
Time is made to stop! By an old wrinkled hand.
His blue jacket gives him authority,
and the sun stops rising, the wind ceases to blow
and all breathing ends.
They are the words of a young student who has won a national award for creative writing. The poem illustrates the comprehensive and educational experience at Corrimal High School, a place of achievement and celebration. [Time expired.]