The recent construction of a contemporary hospitality trade training kitchen and cafe at Corpus Christi Catholic High School in Oak Flats has the whole school community excited—especially the students.
It’s easy to see why they’re enthusiastic. The upgrade provides a place of collaboration to learn, experiment, and build skills for their futures, as well as achieve externally accredited qualifications.
Year 11 Hospitality student Harry said that the addition of the kitchen and cafe has allowed students to extend their hospitality training.
“The new facilities and equipment have provided us greater work experience in a ‘real life’ work environment,” he said. “It’s definitely been beneficial, giving a huge boost to our confidence given we’re working in a more practical facility this year.”
Bishop of Wollongong, Brian Mascord; Parish Priest, Fr Joseph Nguyen; and Director of Schools for the Diocese of Wollongong, Peter Hill, were on hand to celebrate the student-led blessing and opening on June 1—and enjoyed a barista-made coffee afterward.
Corpus Christi Principal, Robert Muscat, said the purpose of redesigning the space was to create an environment in which the “fruits of talented students and staff” would be appreciated and vocational learning would be truly meaningful.
“The Vine Cafe will be a place where on a personal level, we can share stories, laugh, eat and get to know each other,” he said. “A place at the centre of our community that draws us to be connected and to see the face of Christ in others.”
Mr Hill praised the facilities, which have been built to industry standards, remarking that The Vine Cafe is a perfect example of community and welcome in action.
“These facilities provide excellent opportunities for students to explore various pathways in senior school and undertake vocational training without leaving school grounds,” he said. “Perhaps, more importantly, it’s one more way that students, teachers, and school staff, and eventually parents, carers, and visitors can become part of ‘the vine’ too.”
Additionally, the school recently undertook the process of designing a cross to be placed in their entrance garden, a centrepiece that stands tall amongst the landscape that is uniquely ‘Corpus Christi’.
The design process was finalised this year by Adam Cruickshank from Ironbark Metal Design, with the school’s Middle Leader, Monique Fennell, adding her own unique artistic flair to the end product.
“Our cross reflects who we are at Corpus Christi, with the design including the body represented as a circle sitting upon the cross, a representation of the Eucharist,” said Mr Muscat. “The four school values of presence, humility, courage, and service are encompassed on the arms of the circle, reminding all of who we are and what we stand for as members of the Body of Christ.
“The cross is intertwined with four distinct branches of the vine, rising from the ground and wrapping around the Cross. These once again represent the values we stand by, as well as referencing our school Gospel reading, John 15:1-12, and vision statement: ‘we are called to be people of the Vine’. It is the vine that truly makes us Corpus Christi, allowing us to flourish through our connection to each other and Jesus.”
Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong Schools Properties Officer, Brendan Luckman, oversaw the design and construction of the building works alongside Daniel Smith and Chris Martin from Leaf Architecture and the building team at SOFC Pty Ltd. Mr Luckman said the majority of the project was completed in the full COVID lockdown period.
“Coordination of all the consultants was quite a challenge over Zoom calls,” he said. “Construction was also a challenge with many additional procedures put in place to ensure the safety of all. Materials supply issues were also a problem we had to contend with again due to COVID.”
Congratulations are extended to the school’s hospitality students and staff, particularly Ms Freeman, Mrs Davidson, and Mrs Llamas, for their hard work and vision that allowed the Corpus community to appreciate such a space.