ONE family has been witness to five generations of change at Woolsthorpe Primary School.
When William Harris first attended the school, his work would have been completed on slates with chalk. Today his great-great-grandson Alexander Bell completes most of his work on an iPad.
Prep pupil Alexander is the latest link in a long family connection with the school and proudly took his father Scott and nana Shirley on a tour of their former school’s latest development, which was officially opened yesterday.
Shirley Bell said Alexander was the fifth generation of her family to attend the school and she couldn’t believe how the new school looked.
“It’s fabulous, it’s so different from when I was here and now from when Scott was here,” Mrs Bell said.
“My grandfather (William Harris) was the first member of the family to start their schooling here. Then there was my father Jack, then me, Scott and now Alexander.”
Premier and Member for South West Coast Denis Napthine officially opened the $2.5 million redevelopment yesterday, saying it took the school to a new level.
“These new buildings are great, but what goes on inside the walls makes them exceptional,” Dr Napthine said.
“When I walked in here today, I couldn’t help but notice in the schoolbag hanging on the hook, right next to the lunch box, there wasn’t an exercise book, there was an iPad.
“The students at this school are now getting a modern education in modern surroundings.”
The state government funded the redevelopment with contributions from Moyne Shire and the local community.
The redevelopment involved construction of a new building with administration offices, four “learning studios” and open spaces, incorporating the old bluestone school building.
Principal Simon Perry said the redevelopment showed the school was still at the heart of the local community.
“It’s been an 18-month-long community project,” Mr Perry said.
“In small communities like Woolsthorpe the school is the hub of the community and this redevelopment had been a huge community project.
“From the initial lobbying to fund-raising, the community has backed us the whole way.”