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The Southern Cross : December 2011
The Southern Cross Page 22 December 2011 www.thesoutherncross.org.au | feature Though educated, and then inspired to teach, by the Marist Brothers in New South Wales, it is a group of pioneering nuns from Ireland who are having the greatest impact today on Cabra Dominican College principal Brian Schumacher. Rebecca DiGirolamo reports. Brian Schumacher is the fifth lay principal to head the 125-year-old Adelaide Catholic college established by nine Dominican Sisters to teach young women of the new colony. His office sits in the old convent and boarding house built in Cumberland Park in 1885 and opened and run in 1886 for 37 boarders and 74 students. The three-storey stone building is now home to the administrative arm of the college, the music faculty and the St Ann's Unit -- devoted to teaching 20 students with intellectual disabilities. For Mr Schumacher, the Cabra story and the inclusion of the St Mary's Unit within the mainstream co-educational college of 1080 students are constant reminders of the extraordinary role that Catholic schools have played in shaping education and society in South Australia. "When you celebrate a milestone like 125 years you become very aware of the fact that the College has existed for a long time before you arrived and will be operating for many years long after you leave," he says. "It is a great privilege to be a part of such a rich tradition here at Cabra and to be able to play a small role in helping to shape the future of this great college." The making of modern-day history is everywhere in the college parlour, where pin-boards are filled with newspaper clippings of the achievements of current and past students. Among them is Andrea Faulkner, Australia's Ambassador to Israel, and Adelaide seminarian Deng Chour, who set up a school in Sudan. "We love to hear and read of such stories about our old scholars because they remind us that each person we educate is truly capable of helping to create a better world," says Mr Schumacher. Born in Maitland, New South Wales, Mr Schumacher studied Economics, Politics and Education in preparation for a career in teaching. He was appointed principal at Cabra in 2009. It is the seventh school in which he has worked and his second as principal, originally coming to South Australia to head up Sacred Heart College Middle School. He says it was the "inspirational" educators, mostly religious Brothers and Sisters, of his childhood who sparked a love of teaching. Continuing a Dominican