St George and Sutherland Community College celebrates its 40th anniversary

Educating students: Patricia Carroll's daughter Erin pictured at the college celebration day. Picture: Split Screen Media
Educating students: Patricia Carroll's daughter Erin pictured at the college celebration day. Picture: Split Screen Media

A hub of education that has guided students for four decades celebrated its 40th anniversary this month.

St George and Sutherland Community College, based at Jannali, had its early start from a small classroom at Caringbah High School, with only 14 students in 1979.

The college supports children and adults with their English, and provides vocational and leisure activities.

It has expanded partnerships with community services including Sylvanvale and Civic, and delivers more than 400 courses.

The celebratory event in February had personal meaning for college chief executive Patricia Carroll. Her daughter Erin, has Down syndrome.

Anniversary speech: College chief executive Patricia Carroll shares the college's proud history with guests. Picture: Split Screen Media

Anniversary speech: College chief executive Patricia Carroll shares the college's proud history with guests. Picture: Split Screen Media

“She was born in a time when no education past high school was available for people with disability,” Ms Carroll said.

“Since its small beginnings, supporting peoples with wide variety of disability services has been the core.

“The college journey started at my kitchen table, surrounded by nappies and baby food. 

“With the knowledge that I knew my daughter would face serious limitations once her school years came to an end, I wanted to offer her the best future possible.

“The dream was to have a place where people with disability could further their education, and to create a college where people with a disability could access, post-school education.”

Slice of history: Heathcote MP Lee Evans, Sutherland Council mayor Carmelo Pesce, college chief executive Patricia Carroll and Miranda MP Eleni Petinos. Picture: Split Screen Media

Slice of history: Heathcote MP Lee Evans, Sutherland Council mayor Carmelo Pesce, college chief executive Patricia Carroll and Miranda MP Eleni Petinos. Picture: Split Screen Media

The college enrols more than 6000 people a year, and supports 130 clients in disability each day.

Recently it has increased its presence of international students.

“We now plan to grow by expanding beyond our borders,” Ms Carroll said.

“We are building partnerships to extend our disability services and learning courses in Sydney and we are also fostering new international partners in West Africa and Asia, by expanding our current university pathways courses.

“We encourage people with a disability to maintain their foundation of reading, writing and numeracy and to advance their preparation for the workforce and for an independent adult life in the community.”

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