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Cairns’ newest secondary college is offering its students a revolutionary range of modern study options, including game development, robotics, marine sciences, personal finance and orienteering.

Newman Catholic College, co-located with James Cook University in Smithfield, has opened to its first cohort of Year 7 students and they are already sinking their teeth into the cutting-edge subjects on offer.

Principal Lauretta Graham said the College was purpose-built to support and nurture innovative thinkers. “A key element of our mission is to always remain relevant, contemporary, adaptable, and agile enough to respond to future change,” she said. “Our new, technology-rich environments deliver a greater impact than the more traditional spaces, and our carefully-selected teachers are comfortable using digital resources to enhance teaching and learning. “Technology will be deeply integrated into classroom practices and across the curriculum.”

From Term 1, students can choose elective subjects such as Dance, Drama, Instrumental Music, Visual Arts, Photography, Engineering, Game Development, Food Technology, 3D Design, Outdoor Education: Orienteering, Italian or Japanese. From Term 2 and beyond, students can also choose to study Personal Finance, Robotics, Performing Arts, Marine Science – Extension, Health and Sport Science, and Outdoor Education: Active Learning.

Some rules will be in place to ensure students are exposed to a variety of learning material. “Although students in Year 7 would traditionally not have the opportunity to select subjects, creating subjects that integrate multiple learning areas allow us to provide students with choice while they experience a broad range of subject areas,” Dr Graham said. She said it had been a “mighty job” bringing Newman Catholic College to life and thanked all the workers, contractors and managers who worked around the clock to make it happen.

“Standing on the site a year ago, we would never have imagined what could be achieved in such a short time, especially through the challenges of a long wet season and the many impacts of COVID 19,” Dr Graham said. “Our aim over the next five years is to further explore opportunities for working in partnership with JCU, other schools, industry and government to continue providing the best for each individual student.”

Newman Catholic College is the first Catholic school in Australia to be co-located with a university. It will add a new year level every year to be a full Year 7-12 secondary college in 2027.

Newman Catholic College Principal Lauretta Graham with Year 7 students at the orientation day held at JCU in November.

Newman Catholic College Principal Lauretta Graham with Year 7 students at the orientation day held at JCU in November.