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The Southern Cross : February 2012
Page 16 February 2012 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross | feature Football runs deep in the Fosdike family tree. It's one of the reasons principal Craig Fosdike, father of retired AFL football star Nic Fosdike, chose to head St Joseph's Memorial School in Norwood five years ago. But, as Rebecca DiGirolamo discovers, while Norwood -- home of the mighty Redlegs -- may have won his heart long ago, it is the suburb's historic connection to Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop that has inspired Craig's spirit. Since a young boy, Craig Fosdike has known Norwood as hallowed turf. Along The Parade many a battle has been won and lost by a long line of Fosdike men, Craig included, wearing the red and blue guernsey of the Norwood Football Club. Today however, Craig's centre of gravity has shifted several blocks south-east from Norwood Oval to St Joseph's Memorial School -- one of the very first schools set up in Adelaide by Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop. The school's senior campus lies opposite the holy ground of Saint Mary -- the convent she established for her pioneering order of nuns, many of whom taught at the school up until 1986. Saint Mary herself was known to visit the school's junior campus more than 130 years ago, handing out spoonfuls of boiled lollies to students. "It's a pretty amazing history," says Mr Fosdike. "And those Josephite traditions remain very much at the heart of who we are as a school today." The school -- unusual in its dual campus set-up (a preschool to Year One campus at Kensington and in nearby Norwood is the senior campus -- Years 2 to 7) -- is renowned for its Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy. Introduced to the school in 2005, Reggio Emilia aims to recognise the potential of each child and to preserve and respect childhood by providing interesting learning environments. In 2010, the school was visited by now South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill (Education Minister at the time) and a delegation of about 60 educators from across Australia. Mr Fosdike says he has embraced the school's early learning ethos and is passionate about ensuring every student receives the best possible start to a life- long love of learning. "The one thing that we do know about Mary MacKillop was that she was a visionary teacher and that she was passionate about learning and placed the best interests of the child at the forefront of her decision making," says Mr Fosdike. "And that's what Reggio Emilia is all about. It's about putting the children at the centre of our thinking and learning, our planning and doing." Since his arrival at St Joseph's in 2007, enrolments have climbed to 270 this year and the school has become well-known locally for its child-centred teaching pedagogy. Later this year, the school will officially open a $2 million, two-storey building at its William St site (Year 2 to 7) -- 70 years after the school's main building was opened by Archbishop Matthew Beovich in January 1942 at a cost of about £5000 to the Norwood Parish. The school is named in memory of the pioneering Jesuit Fathers who came to South Australia in 1848 and who administered the Norwood Parish. The new building includes: state-of-the art classrooms with wireless information technology capabilities; an indoor, communal, multi-use area; a kitchen for staff, students and parents; new toilets; new learning spaces and a library. "The building is significant," says Mr Fosdike. "But, I think our embracing of thinking about contemporary learning programs and looking at the development of the whole child as part of our curriculum is something that we can really stand up for in the past, present and now into the future." Born in Adelaide to a bank manager father, Mr Fosdike spent the beginning of his schooling life at the former St Joseph's Primary School in Richmond (now Tenison Woods Catholic School) before his family moved to Jamestown and later Penola, where Mary MacKillop first established the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart with Father Julian Tenison Woods. After completing Year 12 at Penola High School, Mr Fosdike began studying teaching. At 21 years old, he was teaching at St Michael's College, in Beverley. Less than two decades after graduating from Teacher's College he was appointed deputy principal at Dominican School (Semaphore) and in 1998, principal at St Anthony's in Edwardstown. Though living in Glenelg, and an active parishioner of Our Lady of Victories Church, he chose to head St Joseph's Memorial School Norwood in 2007 and enjoys the bike ride to work at least twice a week. Mr Fosdike played for the Norwood Football Club from 1976 to 1978, as did his father Bob, uncle Len, brothers Duncan and Simon and sons Nic and Matthew. Nic went on to play for the Sydney Swans (1999-2008) and was a member of the 2005 premiership team. He remains in Sydney with his wife Amy, while his brothers Tom and Matthew are studying teaching in Adelaide. "It's a real privilege to be working at this school in Norwood, being so closely aligned with Mary MacKillop's pioneering vision of what a great Catholic school can and should be. We look forward to the future and to finding new and innovative ways of ensuring our children, and their growth into global citizens, remain at the heart of what we do and why we do it." Heart and soul in Norwood STRONG TRADITION: St Joseph's Memorial School Norwood principal Craig Fosdike and Year 4 and 5 students ready to celebrate the opening of their new school building in the 70th anniversary year of the school.