John Therry Catholic High School was established in 1981 at Rosemeadow. Our school mission statement is "To create a learning environment based on Catholic faith which empowers students and staff to achieve their potential as individuals in the wider community". We strive for graduates of John Therry to be confident and courageous young men and women who make a positive difference in their world. Our goal is spiritual, sporting, social and academic excellence for all our students. Our Graduate Statement which was developed by the school in 2009 and is displayed in all classrooms captures these aspirations for our students.
Currently six stream in years 9 & 10 and 5 stream in Year 7 & 8, John Therry is a co-educational, comprehensive Diocesan Catholic high school of 935 students at the August Census 2011. John Therry draws its students from the parishes of Rosemeadow, Campbelltown, Appin and Ruse. However, students enrol from outlying areas such as Picton and The Oaks and in excess of 20 State primary schools within the Macarthur region.
Students come from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. The school community has an inclusive attitude towards all students as evidenced by initiatives such as the Stage 6 Life Skills Satellite class link with Mater Dei and integrated Life skills classes for Stage 4 & 5. Pathways options are also available for Stage 6 students.
Student leadership and the place of the student voice in the school has further developed in recent years with expanding roles and a Peer Mentorship Program which is embedded in a Vertical Pastoral Learning Group structure. The student voice through student leadership opportunities is strong.
The core values of the school are identified within the school motto "Recta Sapere" and its prayer "to know, love and relish what is right and just" and are demonstrated in a strong Catholic ethos where students are advocates for social justice and peace. The school has had links to the Marist Brothers and their charism since its establishment but has recently, in 2010 been reinvigorated by the return of the two Marist brothers to the school staff. The 5 Marist pillars of Presence, In the Way of Mary, Love of Work, Simplicity and Family Spirit are evident across many aspects of school life.
The House system creates a vibrant school spirit and further strengthens values such as Justice & Compassion (Chisholm/blue), Faith & Integrity (Connolly/green), Respect & Wisdom (Murray/yellow), Hope and Gratitude (Ryan/red). The House Cup is awarded each year determined on academic, social, spiritual and sporting merit points across all aspects of school life.
Points of celebration within each school year allow significant spiritual elements to be embedded and enhanced across each student’s journey at John Therry. John Therry Week in Term 4 also celebrates Sporting and Social aspects of school life. Each House has a colour day and liturgical focus and the week is launched with a whole school liturgy showing Fr John Therry to be a person of significance to our school and to the early Catholic Church in Australia. The school uses this occasion to celebrate its birthday each year. The school Annual Sports Awards Presentation Assembly, JT Superstars and the Creative Arts night usually occur in this week which culminates in the Jack Crawford House Games and House performances. Champagnat week in Term 2 explores the life of Marcellin Champagnat, the work of his brothers and the Marist traditions with daily prayer focus on each Marist pillar and a school liturgy and celebration. The La Valla awards, the staff service awards and the student Montagne awards take place at this time. Annual Awards Presentations at the end of each school year acknowledge Academic success in each year group and a number of special awards reflect other aspects of the Graduate Statement and significant role models for the community.
The use of Restorative Justice within the student management system has a positive influence on student self-discipline and students achieving their full potential. The Merit System and clear student management procedures are evident.
The comprehensive curriculum with its broad offerings in subject choice provides students with the opportunity to excel. Extra-curricula activities enhance student learning experiences. These opportunities are evident in debating, chess and the short courses in year 9 of Financial Literacy, Sustainable Living, Rock & Water and the Leadership courses of Peer support and mentoring.
There are opportunities in sport in the integrated sport House program in years 7-10 and the selective MISA sport competition as well as Diocesan sport program each year. The school also participates in other competitions within the local area and the Marist schools sport competitions.
Creative and Performing Arts provide opportunities for participation in the school Musical each year as a performer or as a support person in set design, lighting etc. Music tuition is offered through an instrumental program and in lunchtimes in the music rooms. The school Choir supports the liturgical life of the school. There is a diverse calendar for student involvement.
The emphasis on the use of Technology, with the learning environment being one-to-one netbooks for years 7 to 12 since 2011, has empowered students to embrace 21st Century learning both within and beyond the traditional classroom setting. There are digital projectors in each classroom. The use of i-pads as individual student learning tools has been introduced for 2013.
Parent involvement from the school’s inception has been strong with the school’s origins coming from the collective work and will of Catholic parents in the Macarthur in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Over the years due to increased work commitments and changing times the P&F has diminished in size but parent attendance at Information Nights, Parent Teacher Nights and the Working Bees each term is still relatively strong. In 2012, a new model has been trialed for a Parent Consultation Forum Group to foster greater parent involvement in all aspects of school review and improvement (SRI).
Friday Mass at the parish church of Our Lady Help of Christians each week provides students and staff to join with the local parish. The parish links are implicit and explicit between the school and the parish priest, the parish community, the OLHC Parish Primary School and John Therry Catholic High school in the understanding of their proximity but also in their authentic and genuine relationships.
John Therry Catholic High School opened on February 9th, 1981, under the principalship of Brother Clarence Cunningham. The initial enrolment was of some 300 students from Year 7 to 9.
John Therry has had a proud history on this site since 1981 from the time that the first students actually came onto the current site of the school, (there had been two years of boarding at St Gregory's prior to this).
Our first Principal, Br Clarence Cunningham (1981-1985), a Marist brother who had been principal of St Gregorys College Campbelltown, was appointed to John Therry and moved into the brothers' residence, later to become the OLHC presbytery. Br Clarence was responsible for the original buildings at John Therry as well as the staff, and continued as principal until 1986 when he went to found another new school north of Campbelltown called Mt Carmel. Brother Clarence sadly passed away in 2011.
Our next principal, Mr Vince Villa (1986-1990) remained in the position until 1990, when he moved to the Catholic Education Office. Vince sadly passed away in 1996 after a distinguished career with the Diocese of Wollongong.
Mr Geoff Hicks (1991) was the principal for the 1991 school year, before moving to the Parramatta Diocese, where he was principal of a number of schools, before returning to the Diocese of Wollongong in 2004, working at the CEO.
Mr Barry Buchanan (1992-2000), who had been the first assistant principal in 1981, returned as principal of John Therry in 1992, remaining in this position until 2000. Mr Buchanan had been principal of St Joseph's Catholic High School at Albion Park during the years 1985 to 1991. During Mr Buchanan's time the Willaim E Murray Hall was constructed and this facility has been an important part of school life at John Therry.
Mr Peter Orman (2001-2007) returned to John Therry as principal in 2001, having been HSIE Co-ordinator in 1982.
Karen Young commenced as principal in 2008.
Father John JOSEPH Therry
Father Therry was born in the city of Cork in 1790 and ordained a priest in 1815. At the age of 29 he accepted the challenge of being a missionary and along with Father Conolly sailed in the "Janus" on the 5th December, 1819 to the colony of New South Wales.
Although Father Therry and Father Conolly were officially accredited chaplains, drawing a token salary, they were to find Governor Macquarie had set conditions by which their activities were regulated and controlled.
Father Therry was an uncompromising realist, he appears to have obeyed regulations when it was possible and ignored them when he saw it as necessary. Father Therry was travelling hundreds of miles seeking out his flock. Demands came from hospitals, gaols, farms, Government establishments, his own day and Sunday schools and from road gangs and convicts.
Of main concern was the lack of a permanent church and the need for educational facilities.Father Therry addressed both these issues, starting with the building of a church on a block of land near Hyde Park and despite all the difficulties of finance, started schools and was to make education a priority wherever possible.
Father Therry was to live on to see the foundation he had put down with so much work, being built upon by other priests. He had provided the first Catechism, built the first schools, established the first pattern of organised Catholic life. On 25th May, 1864, aged 73, Father Therry, now with the title of Archpriest, passed away after a brief illness.
Surviving the loneliness and responsibility, Father Therry had done it tough. It was from his turbulent efforts, that the colonial faith had sprung to life, to which we are today living memorials.
Adapted from "John Therry Catholic High School, 1981 - 2000: 20 Years Young" pages 7-11