School celebrates 30 years

Paula with student Sarah. 195066_01. Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Brendan Rees

Narre Warren’s Dandenong Valley Special Developmental School has reached a significant milestone, celebrating 30 years since opening its doors.

About 400 people including past and present students, staff, and their families gathered at an open day on Saturday 3 August.

The day was filled with stories and memories, a display of the school’s sensory garden, and an opportunity for visitors to tour newly refurbished rooms.

Attendees could also walk through years of photos from the ‘good old days’ to present.

There was also a display of past bike camps including the school’s tandem bike on the purpose built bike rack.

The school caters for children and young people with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities from age five to 18 years.

The original school was built with seven brick classrooms which were considered state-of-the-art at the time.

Past principal Margaret Edmunds shared her thoughts on the day, speaking of the school culture of serving the community.

Current principal Sue Chernishoff and the two assistant principals, Judy Norton and Michael Weston cut three birthday cakes – one for each decade.

Special education teacher Jennifer Prince said families of past students were “surprised and excited at how the school had grown and changed.”

This included the senior and junior playgrounds, the hydrotherapy centre improvements, the horticultural centre, the sensory room improvements and the beautiful water wall in the administration building.

Ms Prince added: “Some of our staff have been at the school for over twenty years.”

Fun also included bubbles, face painting, and a sausage sizzle. 

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