New life for mother and daughter
By BELINDA SCOTT
PHOEBIE Limerick has counted her pencils and checked her bag twice and she's all ready for her first day of school.
Five-year-old Phoebie will join her older brother, Cooper, at St Augustine's Primary School in Coffs Harbour tomorrow.
She might be a bit nervous, but she knows her teacher; she's looking forward to seeing all her friends, and she says after the first day, she's leaving mum behind and going on the bus all by herself.
As a new starter, she will get early marks just for this week, coming home with other kindergarten children at 1pm.
It's a new world of learning, friends and sports for Phoebie and a newly-quiet house for her mother, Cathy Limerick, who is facing her first schooldays at home with no children in seven years.
"I think I will miss her and find it very quiet," Mrs Limerick said.
"But a few years ago I couldn't wait for her to go to school."
Cooper hasn't forgotten his first days at school, either, or what he liked best ? sports, 'nearly all of them'.
About 18,400 children are expected to return to Government schools this week for the 2005 school year in the Coffs-Clarence education district, which stretches from Chatsworth to Urunga, 1300 of them kindergarten children going to school for the first time, with thousands more returning to Catholic and independent schools.
Around NSW, some 763,000 students and 80,000 teachers returned to NSW Government schools on Tuesday.
While there are plenty of new students at Coffs Coast schools, there are also teachers new to the region's schools, including the new principal of Phoebie and Cooper Limerick's school.
Jake Madden is the new principal of St Augustine's and he has come to Coffs Harbour with his family from Mackay in Queensland. His four children are also new local students. St Augustine's former principal, Mike Hogan, retired at the end of 2004.