From Little Things Big Things Grow
One street back from Marshall Street in Goondiwindi, Border Rivers Christian College opens up before you; large gates and a sweeping bitumen driveway are flanked by native Tuckeroos. A school built with the ambition to offer a local option to parents who have considered boarding school, but would like to keep their children local.
The Border Rivers Christian College opened in January 2015, and has quickly grown two short years later, to include 70 students from Prep to grade ten. The year ten students of 2016 will carry on through years 11 and 12, extending the years to cater to all high school aged students.
In its infancy the school operated out of the old Goondiwindi Christian Church building on Callandoon Street. The campus new campus is set upon 13 acres, the majority of which is yet to be developed; with two further classrooms needed by 2018, an oval in progress and room for specialised learning areas. The new campus allows plenty of space for the school to grow.
The building was completed by Goondiwindi local building company RJ Hanna Constructions, and with a great deal of help with the parents and families of the students. Families assisted with the moving of the school, laying of turf, planting of trees, installation of the gate and many aspects that add to the school as a whole.
The layout is inspired, with room for the current building structure to be mirrored again for more classrooms and an area allotted for boarding houses in the future.The light filled classrooms include bi-fold doors that open completely to the outside, allowing fresh air to circulate while the children work. The moveable partitioned walls allow for shared and flexible learning spaces, while the science and art room caters to the growing needs of the older students.
Visiting the school it is clear Principal Rebecca Montgomery is at home at Border Rivers Christian College, when I visit she is teaching year ten math. Mrs Montgomery’s class is equally as focused on the numbers on the whiteboard as they are the humour and good nature of their teacher.
“We are a Christian College, and this is demonstrated in both word and deed.”Mrs Montgomery says.
“Our school is a family. We have a great link with our families, students, board and staff. You can see it when you come to the school.”
Mrs Montgomery says that while they can already see steady improvements across all areas of new families coming to the school, the students are mostly encouraged to do their best and enjoy the learning experience.
The uniformity of such a new school is impressive to see, the students stand as I enter the classroom, a habit they have adopted in showing respect to visitors or their Principal entering the classroom. They are bubbly, happy, sometimes cheeky children who speak and present themselves well, even the littlest of them.
It is clear to see that the rules and respect learned within the four walls of the college are met with an equal amount of creativity and adventure. The active Paddock to Plate program has taken the students to local farms and nurseries, driving in headers, exploring the Macintyre Gin and to Goondiwindi Cotton.
The students have created their own garden beds, raised seedlings, and made delicious meals with their own ingredients, even milling local organic wheat to make their own bread. Learning the meaning of hard work they have collected and spread trailer loads of garden rocks, horse manure and mulch.
“We offer a unique learning experience where students have a holistic education focusing on the whole person. From Literacy through to bike education, music to math,” Mrs Montgomery says.
While the school has grown rapidly all classes have been capped at a certain number, with the aim of allowing all students to excel.
The school encourages parents to come and visit the school and see it in operation, or follow what is happening with the school along on Facebook and Instagram.