FORTY years ago, John XXIII College opened its doors for the first time as a co-ed Catholic school.
Following the amalgamation of Loreto College and St Louis School for Boys in 1977, the school operated on the established sites of the Claremont schools, on opposite sides of Stirling Highway, under principal Father Daven Day SJ.
In 1979, Loreto’s Sister Denise Desmarchelier became principal and pushed the idea of relocating to one site.
In 1981, negotiations began to purchase the current 24.6ha John XXIII site from the State Government.
In May 1986, the College’s Mt Claremont campus was officially opened, and today 1500 students from pre-kindy to Year 12 are enrolled.
Twenty-three teachers have been at John XXII for 20 years or longer.
Ron Lloyd is one of the longest serving staff members, starting as an English teacher at John XXIII in 1985.
“I remember we had teachers crossing the (Stirling) Highway to get between the old campuses,” Mr Lloyd said. “And then I saw it (the current site) get built, it was just a sandpit.
“People said how crazy it was to build a school between a sewerage farm and a tip, but look at it now, it’s one of the best campuses in Australia.”
Mr Lloyd said the school had come a long way since its humble beginnings.
“There’s the new dedicated Year 7 building, new music centre, gymnasium, drama centre… the kids have got so many choices now,” he said.
Principal Robert Henderson, who started at John XXIII in 2016, said the College had an exciting year ahead.
“It’s very exciting, it’s a real celebration, the fact that we are 40 years as a Catholic co-ed college,” he said
“Being a catholic co-ed school is something quite unique and something we are very proud of.”
Mr Lloyd, who plans on retiring soon, said he was privileged to be part of the school for so long.