Home » Meet St Augustine’s College Principal Graham Meertens

Meet St Augustine’s College Principal Graham Meertens

Daniel Bouwmeester    May 5, 2023    4 min read   

St Augustine’s College opened 20 years ago.

In January of 2003, the school had just 176 students. Impressively it now has 1,500 students from Prep to Year 12.

We had a chat with Principal Meertens to find out more…

Prep to Year 12 culture

Mr Graham Meertens said he loves teaching, and has a long history working in co-educational secondary Catholic schools, from St Peter Claver College in Riverview to St Mary’s, Maryborough.

He joined St Augustine’s College as principal in 2018, drawn to the P-12 culture.

“The diversity involved in leading a school that has Prep to Year 12 students, and the various approaches required to teach and support students of all ages really suited my interests,” Graham said.

“The opportunity to watch a student grow from a young age into adulthood is such a rewarding process. But you do have to be very mindful that you attend to the needs of students.”

Building connections

St Augustine’s is a very welcoming school with a strong sense of community.

“Students feel comfortable knowing they have a great support network around them.

“That will always be the highest priority.”

The school’s three core values are Love, Truth, and Unity, and Graham said that students, parents, and teachers alike all deeply understand and embrace those values every day, no matter the circumstance.

“I think that’s what really sets us apart. Whatever situation we approach, it must have our school values at the forefront.”

Graham praised the school’s high participation rates across extra curricular activities.

“The students really enjoy everything cultural – music, dance, and drama – but also we’re very big on sport.

“And our staff are just wonderful. They really go beyond.”

The school also promotes participation in its social justice programs.

“The kids go out to Rosies [Friends on the Street], they’re big supporters of our local parish, and last year we raised over $10,000 specifically to people in our local area here who have been devastated [by the 2022 floods].”

There is a real presence of First Nations community and culture. Students and their families participate in activities like Yarning Circles to connect with Elders.

This Easter, seven students and three staff will be visiting the Northern Territory to participate in the ‘Red Earth’ cultural immersion experience.

Staff completed a professional development course during Term 1 to deepen their understanding.

“We have a First Nations liaison who works very hard with educating and connecting us.

“We want our students to ask lots of questions about our First Nations culture. There’s a real open dialogue.”

Contemporary learning

The school embraces modern learning and technology.

Each student from Years 4 to 12 has their own personal take-home laptop or iPad to help promote a more engaged and interactive learning process.

“We’re not a school that sticks to old traditions,” Graham said.

In 2019, the school introduced a Senior Hub – a “go-to centre” for senior students who need a little extra help.

It has been such a success that Graham plans to establish similar hubs for the primary and middle schools.

“We pride ourselves on being very contemporary, and ensure the curriculum connects with tertiary education or job opportunities – particularly in health and science.

There are plans to renovate facilities to better match the evolving curriculum and support such as a Certificate I in Construction and a Certificate III in Health), and create learning spaces that are very specific to supporting those courses.

Work has been completed on a $2.8M Early Years Precinct ‘Revitalisation’, including two playgrounds and renovated Year 1 and 2 classrooms. Furthermore, the Science Precinct will soon have an expanded outdoor learning area.

Places available in Years 10-12

Starting this year, St Augustine’s increased its secondary intake by 30 students in each year level.

Although St Augustine’s is currently full from Prep to Year 9, there remain some places available in Years 10 to 12.

“St Augustine’s has some wonderful Senior Year programs that provide wonderful post-schooling opportunities for students.

“We welcome parents enquiring about those possible opportunities.”

St Augustine’s College is a Catholic co-ed Prep to Year 12 school, located on St Augustines Drive, Augustine Heights. Contact on 3814 8300 or via email at psspringfield@bne.catholic.edu.au.

Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.