Most Reverend Brian Finnigan and Brother Paul Oakley officially open the Gympie Flexible Learning Centre before a big crowd.
Most Reverend Brian Finnigan and Brother Paul Oakley officially open the Gympie Flexible Learning Centre before a big crowd. Renee Pilcher

Learning has real value

THE most inspiring moment at the official opening of the Edmund Rice Flexible Learning Centre in Gympie this week was the brief speech given by one of its students.

Surrounded by a crowd of 70-80 guests and dignitaries, including civic leaders, principals, bishops and Christian brothers, teen Sam Ahrens told his personal story of rescue from the fringe of society and education, where he had teetered on the edge and almost fallen through the cracks.

"Before I came to this school I was undisciplined in class," he said.

"I did not want to be at school.

"This school has helped me come a long way.

"Students turn up at this school because they want to; not because they have to.

"Young people are given chances here until they get better.

"They are given the help they need to learn to read. They helped me. I actually attend school now."

His words said it all.

The director of Edmund Rice Education Australia Youth Plus, Dale Murray, who served as the MC for the opening, thanked Gympie Regional Council for providing the land free of charge and for its "extreme support over many years" leading to the opening of the centre's doors in January of this year.

The Gympie centre accommodates about 60 students.

Edmund Rice was the founder of the Catholic Christian Brothers. The Edmund Rice Education Australia group has 46 schools and 14 outreach centres, and educate 46,000 young Australians.

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