Dalyellup’s Ocean Forest Lutheran College has said goodbye to the community after 14 years.
OFLC principal Andrew Leske told the Bunbury Mail the steady decline in enrollments had forced the Kindergarten to Year 10 co-educational Christian school to close its doors.
“The school grew in conjunction with Dalyellup...with the growth there has also been growth in other schools,” he said.
“That’s the reason, I think – with the economy and declining mining boom – there is less discretionary income around.
“With that, there were declining enrollments and so we have closed.”
The school held its last official day of operation on Friday, December 15, while students finished on the 8th.
Mr Leske said the school’s strong sense of community made it stand out in the region.
“Working parents would always know that if they were late picking up their kids then someone else would be looking after them,” he said.
“It had that good community feel.
“In Thor: Ragnarok, they describe Asgard as not a place but a people and people will still remember Ocean Forest going into the future.”
The principal reflected on the students’ impeccable contributions.
“It’s just about hearing those strong stories of students who came through, had a wonderful foundation and have gone on to graduate and then do well in their chosen occupation,” he said.
Mr Leske had served as a principal in Victoria prior to moving to Dalyellup and taking on the school's top job in 2014.
He said everyone involved worked tirelessly to reestablish the school following tough times.
“[We worked] to rebuild the confidence in the community and the name of school,” he said.
“There were staff who went through that period when there were redundancies and people leaving, so for them to remain and be positive right to the end I think is the main thing.
“For me it wasn’t about ATAR scores or NAPLAN scores, but it was for people to feel wanted and needed and appreciated.”
Mr Leske has planned to move back to Melbourne with his wife Robyn and thanked the Dalyellup community for its overwhelming support and positivity.