For the Whole of Their Life.

Thank You St Philip's Cessnock: Entering New Seasons

Posted 27th August 2020
By Ellie Rolfe

Hello Parents/Caregivers

I hope this blog finds you having a great day. Earlier this morning, you would have received the news that I have accepted an exciting job opportunity as Head of School Design at Sydney Catholic Schools — commencing in 2021. Whilst I look forward to this next season and challenge, I also look at this current season at St Philip’s and the ones prior with incredible fondness.

I have loved being Principal of St Philip’s Christian College Cessnock. Our Cessnock community is one to be proud of.

When I was appointed Principal in 2014, I wanted to make sure that we weren’t just helping students with ABC123, but that we were also striving for something bigger. I wanted our College vision to go beyond the classroom, I wanted to create a community that supports each other, that encourages each other to step out into greatness.

We have achieved great things together. We have been able to shape the social context, as well as the academic context of Cessnock. We have gone from a small school of 200 students in Edgeworth Street, with its run-down demountable buildings and lack of space — to now, a College just shy of 1200 students with state-of-the-art buildings and facilities. We have seen staff nominated for Australian Education Awards, our sporting facilities occupied by international teams, our NAPLAN results nationally recognised, our self-paced learning programs lauded, we’ve launched innovative pathway programs, we’ve created our own bus routes, overseas trips and many other cutting-edge opportunities.

I’ve cherished being part of a vibrant community that embraces life. I’ve loved participating in The Mannequin Challenge with our students, being one half of Woody and Buzz, the craziness of Colour Run, being moved by our students marching for our ANZACs, singing along to PIARTSA performances, getting muddy rolling turf with the Blues boys, and just being able to enjoy life with our students, staff and families.

Thank you for trusting my vision and for actively making the vision better than I could have imagined; for saying ‘yes, I will stand with you’. Thank you for trusting me with the most precious of things, your children; and all the hopes and dreams tied with that. Thank you for the real friendships that we have formed, the parents, community and businesses — the ability to share a laugh with you has been invaluable.

I will still be here for the remainder of the year and look forward to enjoying being a part of life here at St Philip's, as well as appreciating the beautiful Hunter Valley for a while longer.

Thank you.

Darren Cox


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