Community Appreciation Day and Reopening of the WN Oats Centre

Posted on March 30, 2023

Each year the School expresses its appreciation for the many contributions of our community to Friends’ – whether that be time, funds, mind or items. These contributions have a direct and positive impact on Friends’ students and the School appreciates very deeply the enhanced educational journey it is able to offer students thanks to the support of our community.

The annual Community Appreciation Day was held on Thursday 23 March 2023 and attended by over 150 community members. The event was also the official reopening of the WN Oats Centre. As guests arrived, our talented students entertained guests with some wonderful jazz and string musical performances. Break out rooms of interactive Maths challenges and paper crane making showcased to guests how the different spaces can be used, a key feature being the ability to write directly on tables, walls and windows.

Head Students, Maeve Bylsma and Noah Everett, officially welcomed guests, with Aboriginal Elder Auntie Brenda Hodge providing a Welcome to Country and acknowledging the First Nations People’s land that the School teaches on.

Principal Nelson File acknowledged our amazing volunteers and donors and spoke about why the School has retained the name of the redeveloped WN Oats Centre. Guests heard that Bill Oats was a remarkable person and human being in the history of the school, not just in The Friends’ School. Bill had such a zest for learning and helping children and helping them develop into positive contributing members of society and taking them from where they were to being the best they could be. The new state-of-the-art teaching and learning facility honours Bill’s legacy probably in a better way, in a stronger way, than the previous gymnasium facility. It was heartwarming to hear from the daughter of William Nicolle Oats and former Friends’ School Co-Principal, Stephanie Farrall, and how much this would mean to her father.

We were so fortunate to have Bill Oats’ extended family with us to officially reopen the Centre, along with so many others from the Friends’ community able to celebrate with us.