The entire community of St John’s College in Preston, Victoria have thanked His Eminence Archbishop Makarios for “his trust, guidance and dedication to the revival” of Australia’s oldest Greek Orthodox College.
In a statement, the College confirmed that even before His Eminence’s arrival in Australia, he had received suggestions for the closure of the school, due to “the limited number of enrolments, its large debts, general poor financial situation and especially the negative record of academic performance.”
However, Archbishop Makarios quickly turned his efforts to supporting the College, “securing more than $3 million for its operational needs, displaying personal interest and constant care to ensure its continued existence,” according to the statement.
“Thanks to the personal commitment of His Eminence and the fervent support of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, St John’s College has now turned the page and is emerging as a leading Greek Orthodox College, of which the entire Victorian Greek community can once again be proud,” the College writes.
Under the leadership of the new School Principal, Anna Urban, who was appointed by His Eminence in early 2020, St John’s College recorded an enviable increase in enrolment, with more than 80 new students to have joined the St John’s family since December 2019. Today, the school has 264 students.
It is also noteworthy that in the VCE exams of 2020, the school achieved its best ever result. Specifically, St John’s managed to rank 54th among 582 schools in the State of Victoria. This is an outstanding improvement in the school ranking, as in the last three years (2017, 2018, 2019) it was ranked in positions 415, 237 and 344 respectively.
St John’s also surpassed in the relevant ranking some of the most famous private schools in Victoria. The school’s average study score was 34 and the percentage of students with a grade above 40 was 15%, while two thirds of St John’s students at VCE level achieved an ATAR of over 40. This is a remarkable student achievement, unprecedented in the history of St John’s.
“With the support of the Board of Directors and the financial support of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Ms Urban spearheaded a process of continuous improvement and progress in all areas – from school facilities to educational programs, staff training, management, values and enhanced school culture,” the College says.
“All members of the College express our pride and joy at the progress made in 2020 and reaffirm our commitment to the Archdiocese and the local community that we will continue to work dedicated to the vision embodied in the school’s emblem: ‘To always excel’.”