fbpx

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 8, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

As we enter the all-important season of Advent next week, the Gospel reading from last Sunday reminds us of the nature of the Kingdom of God.  Last Sunday was the Feast of Christ the King – The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ (John 18:33-37)

People who are not familiar with the New Testament will hear the phrase, “Christ the King” and will automatically think of concepts of authority, power, status, privilege, wealth and all the other connotations of the word “king”.  People who are familiar with the New Testament know very well that this is furthest from the truth.  Christ is King, but he is a king whose power is very firmly founded in the first and greatest commandment of love, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind”. Jesus’ rule is further founded in the concept of loving your neighbour as you would love yourself.  There is an authority to the kingship of Jesus – the authority of love.  This is a king who acknowledges the poor in spirit, the meek and those who mourn.  This is a king who celebrates those who thirst for righteousness, those who are pure of heart and those who seek peace. This is a king who blesses those who are persecuted for righteousness.

God’s kingdom is a place of humility, charity, and love, where the transformation of the inner person leads to a virtuous life. In the last sentence of the Gospel passage, Jesus says to Pilate that those who belong to the truth listen to his voice. A truthful life and a genuine life is indeed one grounded in the words of Jesus.  It is this life of truth and authenticity that we endeavour to promote every single day here at St Edmund’s College.  As a Catholic school grounded in the spirit and tradition of Edmund Rice, our vision is to develop boys into young men of strong character, by building a spirit of growth through Liberating Education; hope through Gospel Spirituality; belonging through Inclusive Community and service through Justice and SolidarityOur mission is to provide a quality Catholic education in the Edmund Rice tradition by promoting the highest levels of personal achievement in education bringing the light of Christ to every student; recognising, nurturing and celebrating the God given qualities of every member of our community and promoting opportunities for service to the community and to each other. This is our vision and mission.  As we near the end of the year we hope that we have moved our students along this path, making the Kingdom of God a little stronger and clearer for all in our community.

On Tuesday of this week we held our Student Leadership Formation Day for our senior and junior school leaders.  The final activity of the day was for the various groups of leaders to formulate their own vision and mission statements for their particular groups.  I will share these student-led vision and mission statements with you in the next few weeks or early next year. As mentioned before, next year we have leaders in both the senior school and junior school who have stewardship for the four EREA Touchstones – Gospel Spirituality, Liberating Education, Justice and Solidarity and Inclusive Community.  I am genuinely excited to see how the Touchstones are animated throughout the year with the good work of our new student leaders.

Uniform Shop
Accompanying this Vortex is a flyer for Uniform Shop opening hours in 2022. I would ask all parents to familiarise themselves with these details so you can plan well for your uniform fitting and purchase for next year.

Uniform Optional Items (next winter)
We have received the sample of the College puffer jacket.  All students, parents and staff on the consulting group have been unanimous in their approval of the sample, so it looks like we will go ahead with the puffer jacket for next winter.  The puffer jacket is an optional item of uniform (not compulsory) and is intended to be worn over the College blazer and jumper during winter.

The sample of the new beanie was not met with the same enthusiasm (I must say I was disappointed when it arrived), so we are still working on a better design for this. The beanie is also an optional item of winter uniform.

Important Dates
I would ask all parents to please keep in mind the following important dates as we draw closer to the end of the year:

·   Year 12 Graduation Mass, Assembly & DinnerFriday 26 November
·   Last day for Year 10 studentsFriday 26 November
·   Last day for Year 4 – Year 9 studentsTuesday 7 December
·   Junior School & High School Presentation Ceremonies

(subject to change due to social distancing restrictions)

Tuesday 7 December
·   Reception closedThursday 23 December to Friday 10 January

PRAYER
Lord Jesus Christ,
You are a King who cares deeply for his people.
May we search out those in need,
so that Love and Justice will reign
as the Kingdom of God is brought forth within us.
We ask our prayer in your name and in the power of the Holy Spirit,
Amen.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 7, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

The last few days have been a sad and difficult time for the College community. I won’t repeat the circumstances of late last week as all members of the College community have been notified of this. I must thank the many members of our community who have taken the time to send messages of support and encouragement in the last few days. I have received a great number of supportive emails from current parents, including Year 12 parents who had sons involved in the incident; new parents to the school commencing in 2022 and from a number of old boys. This has been a great comfort during this time. Unfortunately it has become a common practice in our society to automatically tar everyone with the same brush, having the actions of a few characterise a whole community. We must remember that only a small number of students were involved in the event in question in low-level activities. The majority of Year 12 students chose not to involve themselves in the event and we must acknowledge their wise and sound decision. Now that we have identified those involved, we have commenced our discernment as to appropriate actions to take from this point.

The behaviour of a small group of boys has certainly been distressing and disappointing. What is also disappointing is the way in which the publication which published the article handled the matter. I have been recently informed that scavenger hunts have been a common end of year practice for a number of schools in Canberra. I have had at least two colleague principals inform me that they knew of similar activities in their schools this year, and scavenger hunt lists from other schools are circulating around the community. None of this was covered in the article. Of course this does not lessen the impact of the activities of our students last week. Nor does it excuse or justify their actions. We will continue to deeply examine our programs here at school to ensure that this behaviour does not happen again and we still have work to do to ensure that the message we are trying to instil in our students is fully internalised. But the fact that this was not reported does mean that highly significant context and perspective is missing from the article, and that a misleading impression was made of the College. The old saying is that the pen is mightier than the sword. The article, in solely focusing on the actions of a few students at St Edmund’s College, is good example of this.

The College does not condone the actions of last week. We still have much work to do in this space – in the process of working with students to make wise decisions and discern the underlying meaning and consequences of their actions.

College Leaders 2022
We now have finalised all of our College leaders for 2022. The list is below. We congratulate all of our students in leadership positions and we look forward to working closely with them in continuing to move forward with the College community. We are having a Leaders Formation Day on Tuesday 23 November to explore aspects of school leadership, servant leadership and developing skills in communication and working with others. The Junior School leaders will be announced by Mr David Kelly (Assistant Principal, Junior School) in his section of Vortex.

College Captain (stewardship for Inclusive Community): Andrew McFarlane

College Vice-Captain, Academic (stewardship for Liberating Education): Matthew McGrath

College Vice-Captain, Mission (stewardship for Gospel Spirituality): Joshua Hobbs

College Vice-Captain, Service (stewardship for Justice and Solidarity): Henry Alsworth

Clancy House Captain: Josh Wink; Vice-Captain: Archer Cooney

Haydon House Captain: Luca Morella; Vice-Captain: Will Grame

Mulrooney House Captain: Liam Guthrie; Vice-Captain: Himesh Rajapakse

O’Brien House Captain: Thomas Percy; Vice-Captain: Tahj Guglielmin

Rice House Captain: Liam Spence; Vice-Captain: Justin Thomas

Treacy House Captain: Andre Jugovac; Vice-Captain: Hunter Harlor

Congratulations
Congratulations to Year 10 student, Connor Mynott-Smith (Treacy House) who has been signed by the O’Connor Knights Soccer Club. The Knights announcement on their Facebook page notes that “Connor is undoubtedly one of the most exciting young and promising talents in Canberra who possesses amazing qualities. An attacking playmaker who is unpredictable and calm despite his young tender age of just 16 years. Connor is technically and tactically gifted and has attacking flair in abundance and will slot into the first team squad easily.” We are very proud of Connor and his great achievement for Connor. Well done Connor!

Uniform optional items (next winter)
We have received the sample of the College puffer jacket. All students, parents and staff on the consulting group have been unanimous in their approval of the sample, so it looks like we will go ahead with the puffer jacket for next winter. The puffer jacket is an optional item of uniform (not compulsory) and is intended to be worn over the College blazer and jumper during winter.

The sample of the new beanie was not met with the same enthusiasm (I must say I was disappointed when it arrived), so we are still working on a better design for this. The beanie is also an optional item of winter uniform.

Important dates
I would ask all parents to please keep in mind the following important dates as we draw closer to the end of the year:
• Year 11 & Year 12 Examinations Monday 15 to Friday 19 November
• Year 10 Examinations Tuesday 23 & Wednesday 24 November
• 2022 Student Leaders Formation Day
(Junior School & High School) Tuesday 23 November
• Year 12 Graduation Mass, Assembly & Dinner Friday 26 November
• Last day for Year 10 students Friday 26 November
• Last day for Year 4 – Year 9 students Tuesday 7 December
• Junior School & High School Presentation Ceremonies Tuesday 7 December
• Reception closed Thursday 23 December to Friday 10 January

PRAYER
God of Love,
When we feel lost and abandoned, your Word says that you will always guide us.
You do not leave us wandering through life
but you are with us during every moment of every day.
Help us to follow your ways when we feel weary, disappointed and frustrated,
and help us to experience joy in life.
May we be like the well-watered garden which thrives
because the roots are firmly planted in your love.
Amen.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 6, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

One of my great interests in a boys educational environment is how we can restore the lost form of ritual rites of passage for our students.  A traditional rite of passage is any ceremony or event that marks a transition from one phase of life to another. These ceremonies often correlate with a significant change of status in the boy’s community.  Unfortunately over time we have lost this sense of ritualised rites of passage and have left boys to experience their development into young men on their own, leading to problematic behaviours and attitudes as boys have sought to model themselves on inappropriate images of adulthood.

Throughout history, rituals would give a community an opportunity to recognise the new status of a young man. Being witnessed in this way would hold the young man accountable for honouring his new standing and responsibilities to the group.  These ritual initiations were revered as sacred and provided young men with the opportunity to transform their consciousness. It was a mental marker for them to shift their way of thinking about themselves and how they should behave.  Dr Arne Rubinstein, an expert in adolescent behaviour, writes that “Our lack of formal rites of passage has meant young men are learning how to be a man through the media and the internet”.

Dr Rubinstein also writes that we have the ability to create contemporary rites of passage where teenage boys are challenged to think about what sort of men they are going to be and what childish behaviour they need to let go of.  I would hope that St Edmund’s College provides our young men with important rituals and rites of passage to assert their transition and development. An example of this is the Year 12 Formal which was held last Friday.  Not only is this a social occasion in which our students can let their hair down and celebrate the end of the year, but in this formal occasion there is a wonderful opportunity to mark this time as a significant time of transition.

We also have a Year 12 Farewell Rites of Passage Week where the last week of school is marked by a special event each day. The week commences with the Old Boys and Friends Association Breakfast, in which the boys are addressed by a member of the Association (an old boy) and they are formally inducted into the Association.  Tuesday is normally marked by an activities afternoon where the oldest students in the school (Year 12) and the youngest students in the school (Year 4) spend a fun afternoon together involved in a myriad of activities.  Unfortunately this year we cannot have this combined afternoon due to ACT Health regulations which prohibits different cohorts in schools mixing together.  Wednesday is normally marked by a farewell lunch with Year 12 students from St Clare’s College.  Again, COVID restrictions do not allow different school groups from mixing together, so this year the boys will have a farewell lunch with staff.  On Thursday the boys will have an affirmation liturgy in the Chapel.  This is a beautifully touching activity where the boys bring in a white shirt and have the shirt signed by their peers as a symbol of their time together over the past nine or six years.  The Farewell Rites of Passage Week ends with Friday’s House Farewells, where the boys are farewelled by their House groups, led by the head of House and tutor. There are also some significant rituals planned for the Year 12 Mass, Assembly and Graduation Dinner on 26 November (which I cannot mention here without spoiling the surprise!).

I hope that in a small way the planned rituals we have for our Year 12 students allows them to reflect on their transition away from school, entering the world before them with a greater sense of maturity and a closer sense of their own identity. Over time I would like to introduce a wider range of rituals for our boys in other year groups, appropriate to their age and development.

As already mentioned, our Year 12 Formal was held last Friday at the Arboretum.  This was a great event and perhaps one of the best formals I have attended in my 36 years of working in schools.  Our young men were perfectly behaved, beautifully dressed and looked after their guests well. Our Year 12 students introduced their guest to me as they arrived at the venue, at which point we had a brief chat before they moved into the venue itself.  The boys are reminded of appropriate etiquette prior to the event.  It was a fun and positive evening and it marked the nearing of completion of a difficult and problematic year for students in lockdown.  I congratulate our boys who certainly rose to the occasion last Friday. We look forward to a similar positive experience with their Farewell Rites of Passage Week and their graduation events.

College Expectations
As I wrote last week, it was an absolute delight to have all of our students back on campus.  Most of our boys have returned in a very positive manner, engaging well in their face to face learning and enjoying the energy of school life.  It was disappointing to see some boys poorly dressed and with extreme haircuts.  I have always said that St Edmund’s College is more flexible with its hair policy than any other Catholic school in Canberra, but we do not tolerate hairstyles which are ridiculously extreme and come nowhere near meeting the College expectations.  If we have boys coming to school with unacceptable hairstyles, we will have no hesitation in sending those boys home to rectify the hairstyle.  This should come as no surprise to any of our students or parents, as appearance is one aspect of school life that is made very clear at each and every enrolment interview and is clearly mentioned in our enrolment policy.  Having said this, I must congratulate the vast majority of our students who make a great effort each and every day to come to school in appropriate appearance, wanting to represent their school in the best way possible.

Uniform optional items (next winter)
We have received the sample of the College puffer jacket.  All students, parents and staff on the consulting group have been unanimous in their approval of the sample, so it looks like we will go ahead with the puffer jacket for next winter.  The puffer jacket is an optional item of uniform (not compulsory) and is intended to be worn over the College blazer and jumper during winter.

The sample of the new beanie was not met with the same enthusiasm (I must say I was disappointed when it arrived), so we are still working on a better design for this. The beanie is also an optional item of winter uniform.

I will provide more information about these optional items of uniform over the next few weeks.

Important dates
I would ask all parents to please keep in mind the following important dates as we draw closer to the end of the year:

·  Year 12 House FarewellsFriday 12 November
·  Final day of Year 11 classesFriday 12 November
·  Year 11 & Year 12 ExaminationsMonday 15 to Friday 19 November
·  Year 10 ExaminationsTuesday 23 & Wednesday 24 November
·  2022 Student Leaders Formation Day

(Junior School & High School)

Tuesday 23 November
·  Year 12 Graduation Mass, Assembly & DinnerFriday 26 November
·  Last day for Year 10 studentsFriday 26 November
·  Last day for Year 4 – Year 9 students

·  Junior School & High School Presentation Ceremonies

Tuesday 7 December
·  Reception closedThursday 23 December to Friday 10 January

EREA Child Safeguarding Standards

This week we continue exploring the Standards by looking at Standard 11 (the final Standard).

Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and St Edmund’s College Canberra are committed to creating an environment in which the safety, wellbeing and participation of all children and young people are paramount.  We have zero tolerance of child abuse and all allegations and safety concerns are treated very seriously in line with our robust policies and procedures. EREA and St Edmund’s College have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.

EREA has responded proactively to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by developing a set of Child Safeguarding Standards. The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework is designed to further enhance a culture within St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools wherein protecting children and young people from abuse and other harm, and the promotion of child safety, participation, empowerment and wellbeing, are embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of our leaders, staff and volunteers.

The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards ensure accountability for the protection and safety of the children and young people under our care. St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools and entities are held accountable to the Child Safeguarding Standards and we will regularly report to EREA on how these standards are being addressed here.

The purpose and intent of the Standards contained in this Framework are to embed a culture of child safety and wellbeing by demonstrating values in practice, nurturing the wellbeing of all children and young people, respecting their dignity, ensuring their safety and protecting them from abuse and other harm. This we do, at all times, by acting in the best interests of children and young people under our care.  The Framework should be read alongside the EREA Child Safeguarding Policy which can be found here, and the St Edmund’s College Canberra Commitment to Child Safety which can be found here.  The entire EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework can be found here.

STANDARD 11: EREA PROTOCOLS AND REQUIREMENTS EREA protocols and requirements support ongoing compliance with and reporting against the EREA Child Safeguarding Standards.

EREA, through its Board, seeks assurance that EREA itself, as well as each EREA school, complies with all relevant child protection legislation and regulations, the requirements set out in the EREA Child Safeguarding Standards and relevant requirements of the Catholic Church.

Rationale: The EREA Board is the means through which EREA discharges its governance responsibilities with respect to the implementation of these Child Safeguarding Standards in each EREA school. In accordance with this authority, EREA requires regular assurance from each EREA school on the overall effectiveness of its Child Safeguarding policies and procedures and the management of child safety incidents, either current or historical. The EREA Board have a responsibility for ensuring this.

What is EREA expected to have in place to comply with Standard 11?

  1. EREA models compliance with the EREA Child Safeguarding Standards at its highest level of leadership.
  2. Governance arrangements facilitate implementation of EREA’s child safeguarding strategies at all levels and across all of EREA’s activities.
  3. EREA monitors and oversees the effective implementation of child safeguarding policies, procedures and practices, including the Child Safeguarding Policy and related procedures and practices at all EREA schools.
  4. EREA monitors child safeguarding compliance and risk management at each EREA school through annual risk assessments and attestations of compliance that are provided by each EREA school.

From now on, when an initiative or program is raised in Vortex or any other College publication or communication, we will explicitly make the connection to the relevant Child Safeguarding Standard so the whole community is aware of how we are meeting our expectations.  We will also post the ways in which we comply with each Standard on our website.

PRAYER REFLECTION

Gospel, Mark 12:38-44
In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honour in synagogues, and places of honour at banquets.  They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.  A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.

Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 5, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

We now have all of our students back on campus.  Last Monday was an absolute delight being able to welcome back our remaining year groups.  There was much positive energy around the College and a genuine feeling that our boys were excited about being back at school, seeing their mates and physically engaging with their teachers. Let’s hope that we have the seen the last of extended lockdowns and that, as a country and a local jurisdiction, we are now headed in new directions in handling further COVID outbreaks.

College Leaders
Last Friday I had the very great pleasure to announce to staff and Year 11 our new College Captain and Vice-Captain for 2022. From next year, each of these positions will have special stewardship of one of the EREA Touchstones with the aim of promoting the Touchstones and making them a tangible, meaningful part of our daily lives at the College. Congratulations to the following students on their significant leadership achievement and thank you to all ten students who had the strength of character to put themselves forward.

COLLEGE CAPTAIN
(stewardship for Inclusive Community)
Andrew McFarlane
COLLEGE VICE-CAPTAIN, ACADEMIC
(stewardship for Liberating Education)
Matthew McGrath
COLLEGE VICE-CAPTAIN, SERVICE
(stewardship for Justice and Solidarity)
Henry Alsworth
COLLEGE VICE-CAPTAIN, MISSION
(stewardship for Gospel Spirituality) 
Joshua Hobbs

The leadership process now continues with the selection of House Captains and House Vice-Captains.

Year 12 End of Year Events
I am also very pleased that our Year 12 students will be able to enjoy their scheduled end of year events without being affected too much by COVID restrictions.  The Year 12 Formal is going ahead this Friday at the Arboretum.  Next week sees our Year 12 students make their way through their Farewell Rites of Passage Week, with an Old Boys and Friends Association Breakfast, a farewell lunch, an affirmation liturgy and formal shirt signing activity, and of course the much-loved House Farewells next Friday. Our Year 12 Graduation Mass and Assembly will take place at school this year on Friday 26 November, followed by the Graduation Dinner at the Southern Cross Club that evening.

I have spoken to Year 12 students about the importance of finishing their schooling at St Edmund’s in a positive and respectful manner. We do not subscribe at all to the concept of “muck up day” – this is a terribly outdated and “old school” concept which has negative connotations and sees students finish their schooling in a disrespectful manner, with physical and relational damage to a school they have enjoyed being at through all of their time here. The time spent on the Farewell Rites of Passage Week and the graduation events should tell the boys that we want them to finish well, with dignity and in good relationships.

All Saints Day & All Souls Day
As Catholics, we begin November by remembering those who have died. We call the first two days of November All Saints Day and All Souls Day. On All Saints Day and All Souls Day we remember that we are members of the People of God and that united with God, we are also united with all Christians who have come before us in the Communion of Saints.

All Saints Day on November 1 is marked annually in the Catholic liturgical calendar as a day to remember and venerate saints from around the world and throughout history – not only those known and canonised, but also all unknown as well. It is an opportune time to consider the example saints offer us today and to reflect on how we can imitate their holiness. As Pope Francis remarked in 2017, All Saints Day “is not celebrated only in honour of those who have reached the ‘goal’ (of sainthood), but it is also for the many ‘simple and hidden people’ who we may know, and who, through everyday holiness, help God to ‘carry the world forward’”.  All Saints Day is also particularly important to me as my mother’s name is Santa (Italian for saint) and therefore it is her Feast Day as well.

All Souls Day follows All Saints Day on November 2, when Catholics remember, pray and offer Mass for those who have passed away. It is a day of special remembrance, to pause, reflect, pray and remember those close to us.

Gospel Reflection
Last week’s Gospel is perhaps one of the most well-known Gospel readings. In the reading, Jesus is asked which is the greatest commandment.  It is of particular importance to know here that the Jews had over 600 commandments, covering many aspects of daily life, including family, personal hygiene and diet.  So here Jesus is being put to the test by a Scribe, being asked which is the most important of the of the hundreds of commandments (the Scribes being legal experts at the time, having full knowledge of the law).

“One of the Scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”  Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

 The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’  And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions”. (Mark 12:28B-34)

 These are the great commandments of Jesus. He gives two commandments that encapsulate all the laws and commands previously mentioned in the Old Testament.  Jesus first teaches us that the greatest of all commandments is to love God with our whole being because God is the foundation of love. It is only by loving God that we truly learn how to love. Right away Christ follows it up with loving your neighbour as yourself because once we put God at the centre of our love, we learn how it is to genuinely do the same for our neighbours.

Since their earliest years of school, children are taught to treat others how they want to be treated. We unfortunately do not see this in reality (nor do we see it in all adults). As mentioned in previous Vortex articles, I would dearly love to be Principal of a school where all of our students – every single one of them – is an advocate for other students. I want our young men to have the strength of character and inner fortitude to stand up for others; to be the advocates not just for their friends or mates, but for anyone they see being placed in a confronting or difficult situation – in class, in the yard, on the field, on the bus, etc., whether they know them or not. At the very most, our senior students should have this quality within them; to step in and stop negative actions and words or to be able to tell someone about it.  Being a student of St Edmund’s College means that all boys need to be the very epitome of loving others as they love themselves and treating others as they wish to be treated.  We find similar concepts throughout the New Testament, forming the very foundation of what it means to be Christian or to follow the ethos of Christianity in a Catholic school.

  • No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:24)
  • For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)
  • Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:1-2)
  • Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
  • A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
  • The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other commands there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Romans 13:9)

EREA Child Safeguarding Standards

This week we continue exploring the Standards by looking at Standards 9 and 10.

Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and St Edmund’s College Canberra are committed to creating an environment in which the safety, wellbeing and participation of all children and young people are paramount.  We have zero tolerance of child abuse and all allegations and safety concerns are treated very seriously in line with our robust policies and procedures. EREA and St Edmund’s College have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.

EREA has responded proactively to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by developing a set of Child Safeguarding Standards. The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework is designed to further enhance a culture within St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools wherein protecting children and young people from abuse and other harm, and the promotion of child safety, participation, empowerment and wellbeing, are embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of our leaders, staff and volunteers.

The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards ensure accountability for the protection and safety of the children and young people under our care. St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools and entities are held accountable to the Child Safeguarding Standards and we will regularly report to EREA on how these standards are being addressed here.

The purpose and intent of the Standards contained in this Framework are to embed a culture of child safety and wellbeing by demonstrating values in practice, nurturing the wellbeing of all children and young people, respecting their dignity, ensuring their safety and protecting them from abuse and other harm. This we do, at all times, by acting in the best interests of children and young people under our care.  The Framework should be read alongside the EREA Child Safeguarding Policy which can be found here, and the St Edmund’s College Canberra Commitment to Child Safety which can be found here.  The entire EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework can be found here.

STANDARD 9: REGULAR REVIEWS AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT Implementation of the EREA Child Safeguarding Standards and of the St Edmund’s College Child Safeguarding Policies and Procedures is regularly reviewed and improved.

St Edmund’s College is expected to maintain vigilance by putting in place systems to frequently monitor and improve performance against the EREA Child Safeguarding Standards.

Rationale: St Edmund’s College seeks to continuously improve its delivery of child safe services and the school’s broader operations. Regular reviews of the school’s performance against the EREA Child Safeguarding Standards ensures that its policies and procedures, including record keeping practices, are being implemented by Staff, Volunteers and Contractors. The school reports on the findings of its reviews, shares good practice and learnings back to the school community on a regular basis, and addresses new challenges or child safe concerns that arise.

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 9?  The core components of continuous review and improvement of Child Safeguarding practices are:

  1. The school regularly reviews and improves Child Safeguarding policies, procedures and practices.
  2. The school analyses complaints and reports of child safety concerns to identify causes and systemic failures to inform continuous improvement.
  3. The school reports on the findings of relevant reviews to Staff, Volunteers, Contractors, children and young people, families and relevant communities.

STANDARD 10: POLICIES AND PROCEDURES SUPPORT CHILD SAFETY Policies and procedures document how St Edmund’s College is safe for children and young people.

St Edmund’s College is expected to have clearly documented Child Safeguarding policies and procedures that detail how the school meets its obligations under the law, regulation and EREA Child Safeguarding Standards to create an environment that is safe for children and young people.

Rationale: Documenting policies and procedures ensures consistent application of Child Safeguarding practices across the school. It also enables the school to examine, through review processes, adherence to child safety principles, practices, law and regulation.

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 10?  The core components of policies and procedures in a child safe organisation are:

  1. Policies and procedures address all EREA Child Safeguarding Standards and comply with relevant child protection law and regulation.
  2. Policies and procedures are accessible and easy to understand.
  3. Accepted best practice and school community consultation informs the development of policies and procedures.
  4. Leaders champion and model compliance with policies and procedures.
  5. Staff, Volunteers and Contractors understand and implement the policies and procedures.

Next week we will explore the final standard, Standard 11.

From now on, when an initiative or program is raised in Vortex or any other College publication or communication, we will explicitly make the connection to the relevant Child Safeguarding Standard so the whole community is aware of how we are meeting our expectations.  We will also post the ways in which we comply with each Standard on our website.

PRAYER
All I am, and all I have,
I offer, Lord, to you.
I offer you these hands,
that you might use them
in and through my daily work.
I offer you these feet,
that you might lead them
to someone who needs my help.
I offer you these shoulders
if you should need them
to help lighten another’s load.
I offer you this voice
that you might use it
to speak up for those in need.
All I am, and all I have,
I offer, Lord, to you.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 4, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

We welcomed back students in Years 6, 9 and 10 this week.  Next week sees Years 4, 5, 7 and 8 join us back at school, giving us our full student body on November 1.  Just as we have been looking forward to shops and services re-opening after lockdown, so too are we excited at having all of our students back with us on campus to return the College to its full energy and spirit.

Last Friday we had leadership speeches presented to Year 11 by those students who have been nominated for next year’s student leadership team.  I was so impressed by the quality of speeches this year, with all nominated students considering the bigger picture of the needs of the College and its community rather than focusing on just the needs of their own cohort. Congratulations to all of our nominated students for a great effort with their speeches.  The selection process should be finalised this week, and then we focus on the House Captain and House Vice-Captain positions.

Last Friday also saw Year 12 students participate in the annual Exit Survey process.  I explained to Year 12 that just as they look forward to feedback after an assessment task to determine what they have done well but also where they can improve and develop, so the College and its staff requires feedback to let us know what needs consolidating and what needs improvement.  This feedback, along with the feedback provided by all students, staff and parents through the Satisfaction Surveys, will be analysed and incorporated into our Strategic Directions and Annual College Improvement Plan.

It was a great pleasure being able to physically attend Mass last week after a few months of lockdown.  The readings last week provided me with much source for reflection, especially with how we care for those students at the College who are vulnerable and could be considered marginalised. The First Reading has the prophet Jeremiah (31:7-9) telling us that God will save those who have been exiled.  He makes particular mention of God providing a safe path for the most vulnerable of the time, “the blind and the lame, women with child, women in labour”.  God provides the vulnerable with “a smooth path where they will not stumble”.  In Mark’s Gospel (10:46-52), Jesus is walking from Jericho to Jerusalem with a crowd of people.  The blind beggar Bartimaeus, who was sitting by the road, calls out to Jesus.  We are told that many of those around him scolded him for calling out, almost in a sense that he should not be bothering Jesus or is not worthy to be in the company of Jesus.  But this did not deter Bartimaeus.  He calls out again and this time Jesus hears him, eventually giving Bartimaeus his sight. This reminds me of the many times we would walk past people begging in the street and almost automatically think to ourselves, “Surely they can get a job, how hard can it be for them get some work?” without knowing anything of their personal circumstances or their story. The action of Jesus in the Gospel is such a clear and strong example of Jesus reaching out with authority to include powerless, vulnerable people, modelling authentic Christian ministry.

We have a duty of care to all of our students at St Edmund’s College, in particularly those who are the most vulnerable. We do not want a single student at the College to feel marginalised (to sit on the side of the road as Bartimaeus did) and hopefully we have programs and processes in place that recognise our most vulnerable, draw them in closer to us and allows us to give them the appropriate academic and pastoral care.  But having programs and processes in place is only part of the matter.  We need to develop this sense of care and protection within all of our students, so all students become advocates for the vulnerable and are strong enough to speak for them and act for them if they see that the care is not appropriate, e.g. in cases of teasing, bullying and intimidation. For our students to be true Eddies boys, they need to develop the fortitude and strength of character to speak up for and walk alongside those needing that extra care, and not be like the crowd in the Gospel reading who scold Bartimaeus for speaking out and continue to be indifferent. If I have just one desire for our boys, it is for this quality to be developed within them.

 

EREA Child Safeguarding Standards

This week we continue exploring the Standards by looking at Standards 7 and 8.

Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and St Edmund’s College Canberra are committed to creating an environment in which the safety, wellbeing and participation of all children and young people are paramount.  We have zero tolerance of child abuse and all allegations and safety concerns are treated very seriously in line with our robust policies and procedures. EREA and St Edmund’s College have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.

EREA has responded proactively to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by developing a set of Child Safeguarding Standards. The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework is designed to further enhance a culture within St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools wherein protecting children and young people from abuse and other harm, and the promotion of child safety, participation, empowerment and wellbeing, are embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of our leaders, staff and volunteers.

The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards ensure accountability for the protection and safety of the children and young people under our care. St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools and entities are held accountable to the Child Safeguarding Standards and we will regularly report to EREA on how these standards are being addressed here.

The purpose and intent of the Standards contained in this Framework are to embed a culture of child safety and wellbeing by demonstrating values in practice, nurturing the wellbeing of all children and young people, respecting their dignity, ensuring their safety and protecting them from abuse and other harm. This we do, at all times, by acting in the best interests of children and young people under our care.  The Framework should be read alongside the EREA Child Safeguarding Policy which can be found here, and the St Edmund’s College Canberra Commitment to Child Safety which can be found here.  The entire EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework can be found here.

STANDARD 7: ONGOING EDUCATION AND TRAINING Staff, and relevant Volunteers and Contractors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through information, ongoing education and training.

St Edmund’s College is required to have documented policies and procedures to ensure that all Staff, and relevant Volunteers and Contractors, are able to identify indicators of child abuse and other harm, respond effectively to children and young people and their parents/carers and support other Staff, Volunteers and Contractors.

Rationale: Child safe organisations emphasise the importance of information, ongoing education and training for all Staff, as well as for relevant Volunteers and Contractors. St Edmund’s College promotes and provides regular ongoing development opportunities for its Staff, as well as for Direct Contact Volunteers/ Direct Contact Contractors through education and training, beginning with induction and, for staff, continuing throughout their professional development. This ensures Staff, as well as Direct Contact Volunteers/ Contractors develop cultural and child safety awareness and insights into their attitudes towards children and young people and have a contemporary understanding of child development, safety and wellbeing. Regular and Casual Volunteers and Contractors also receive relevant information to support their awareness of child safety and their role in promoting a child safe culture whenever they are engaged by the school

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 7?  The core components of ongoing education and training at St Edmund’s College are:

  1. Staff, as well as Direct Contact Volunteers/ Contractors are regularly trained and supported to effectively implement the College’s Child Safeguarding policies and procedures.
  2. The Induction and Refresher training for Staff, as well as Direct Contact Volunteers/Contractors includes training to recognise the nature and indicators of child abuse and other harm, including harmful behaviours by a child towards another child.
  3. The Induction and Refresher training for Staff, as well as Direct Contact Volunteers/Contractors, and the modified training or information for Regular and Casual Volunteers/Contractors, includes training and/or information to enable them to respond effectively to child safeguarding risks, incidents, complaints and concerns of child abuse and other harm.
  4. Staff, as well as Direct Contact Volunteers/ Contractors receive training and information on how to build culturally safe environments for children and young people.

STANDARD 8: SAFE PHYSICAL AND ONLINE ENVIRONMENTS Physical and online environments promote safety and contain appropriate safeguards to minimise the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.

St Edmund’s College is required to take a risk-based approach to child safety by identifying and considering their child safe risks. This is based on a range of factors including the nature of the services we provide, the nature of the children and young people to whom we provide services, our activities and physical and online environments. It includes ‘business as usual’ risks as well as risks posed by specific activities such as camps, tours or excursions. Where risks are identified, the College will institute measures to reduce or remove them.

Rationale: Risk management is part of the College’s core responsibility with respect to its duty of care to protect students, as well as its legal obligation with respect to workplace health and safety. Certain physical and online environments can pose a risk of harm to children and young people. ST Edmund’s College can improve the safety of children and young people by analysing and addressing these risks, reducing opportunities for abuse and other harm, increasing the likelihood that perpetrators would be caught. By taking a risk management approach to child safety the College can better target its use of resources and build a stronger, more effective, child safe culture.

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 8?  The core components of a child safe physical and online environment are:

  1. Risks in the physical and online environment are identified and mitigated without compromising a child’s right to privacy, access to information, social connections and learning opportunities.
  2. The online environment is used in accordance with the College Child Safe Codes of Conduct and relevant policies.
  3. Risk management plans consider risks posed by organisational settings, activities and physical environments.
  4. The College has procurement policies for contracting facilities and services from and to third parties that ensure the safeguarding of children and young people.

Next week we will explore Standards 9 and 10.

From now on, when an initiative or program is raised in Vortex or any other College publication or communication, we will explicitly make the connection to the relevant Child Safeguarding Standard so the whole community is aware of how we are meeting our expectations.  We will also post the ways in which we comply with each Standard on our website.

Prayer for the Vulnerable
Loving God,
Your Son commanded his disciples to
“Let the children come to me.”
Look with kindness upon us
and help us to shepherd your children,
the vulnerable and the marginalised,
and lead them into your loving embrace,
so that they may know your life and your love.
We ask this through the same Jesus Christ, your son,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.
Amen.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 3, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

This week we welcomed back Year 11 and Year 12 to face-to-face learning, and next week (on Monday 25 October) we welcome back our students in Years 6, 9 and 10.  I am so thankful that the buzz is gradually returning to St Edmund’s College, with all students back on board on Monday 1 November.

It is a very important week for our Year 11 students.  Not only do they return on campus, but they are actively participating in the process to determine our 2022 student leaders.  Those students who have been nominated for College Captain / Vice Captains will be presenting their nominee speeches to Year 11 and the College Leadership Team on Friday of this week.  I wish those students all the very best in their presentations.

The student leadership positions for next year have had a new, important component added to them – we will now incorporate the EREA Charter Touchstones into leadership positions.  The College Captain will have stewardship of the Touchstone of Inclusive Community; the Academic Vice-Captain will have stewardship of the Touchstone of Liberating Education; the Mission Vice-Captain will have stewardship of the Touchstone of Gospel Spirituality; and the Service Vice-Captain will have stewardship of the Touchstone of Justice and Solidarity. These positions will not be solely responsible for promoting their respective Touchstone, but will have stewardship of the Touchstone in working with others to clarify and promote the Touchstone with students, staff and our community throughout the year.

The Touchstones gives *EREA and its schools ideals authentically linked with the charism which underpins the ministry in EREA schools and educational endeavours. They help us set our direction and define our goals as, following Blessed Edmund’s vision, we continue to reflect and seek to make the Gospel a living reality in our communities. (*EREA – Edmund Rice Education Australia).

Our student leadership at St Edmund’s College is centred on the significant and valued concept of servant leadership. The phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970.  Greenleaf writes that the servant-leader is servant first; it begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.  This is servant leadership in a secular sense.  Our sense of servant leadership is very much in a strong Christian context.

Jesus is the model servant leader.  He submitted his own life to sacrificial service under the will of God, and he sacrificed his life freely out of service for others.  There are many practical references to servant leadership in the New Testament, with the most well-known being John 13:1-17, where Jesus washes the feet of his followers, which was properly the responsibility of the house-servant.

Jesus often talks about this sense of servant leadership.  Last Sunday’s Gospel gives us a beautiful example of this. When we get to Mark 10:35-45, Jesus has informed the disciples many times of what will happen to him and has explained to them the nature of the Kingdom of God.  Yet we have the sense that they still don’t “get it”. At one point James and John turn to Jesus and ask him if they can sit on either side of him, thus showing their status and importance amongst the disciples.  If we were put in this position, I’m sure our eyes would be rolling with frustration at James and John’s ignorance.  Who knows, perhaps Jesus did roll his eyes at them. What the Gospel tells us though is that Jesus demonstrates patience, and once again explains to them the idea of status and authority,

 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Servant leadership is to serve the needs of others, which is quite a liberating experience. It implies recognising others’ needs (without judging them), and then doing what can be done, in line with the higher purpose of serving God first, to help satisfy that need. A servant leader is Christ-centred in all aspects of life; committed to serve the needs of others before their own; courageous to lead with power and love as an expression of serving, consistently developing others into servant leaders, and continually inviting feedback from those that they want to serve in order to grow and flourish.  It is with strong and vibrant hope that we are fostering this sense of leadership in our students.

School Zone Update
I have received communication from the Director of the School Safety Program that the issue of a 40kph school zone on Canberra Avenue is now part of a wider consideration of traffic in the local area, “Roads ACT has requested further advice from the consultant about potential treatments on Canberra Ave to increase safety for students, including how any future improvements at Hume Circle may impact the traffic flow and vehicle speeds in the area. The consultant is currently investigating this further and will provide recommendations to Roads ACT to consider” (5 October 2021).  The Hume Circle is the large roundabout near the school connecting Canberra Avenue, Wentworth Avenue and Sturt Avenue. Whilst on one hand this is encouraging, it has now been well over a year that I made my initial enquiry about the school zone, and it concerns me that we now have students returning to school after lockdown who will be attempting to cross Canberra Avenue and we are in absolutely no better or safer position than we were a year ago except that we are part of a wider traffic study. This is extremely frustrating.  I will keep you informed of any further progress.

EREA Child Safeguarding Standards
This week we continue exploring the Standards by looking at Standards 5 and 6.

Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and St Edmund’s College Canberra are committed to creating an environment in which the safety, wellbeing and participation of all children and young people are paramount.  We have zero tolerance of child abuse and all allegations and safety concerns are treated very seriously in line with our robust policies and procedures. EREA and St Edmund’s College have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.

EREA has responded proactively to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by developing a set of Child Safeguarding Standards. The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework is designed to further enhance a culture within St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools wherein protecting children and young people from abuse and other harm, and the promotion of child safety, participation, empowerment and wellbeing, are embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of our leaders, staff and volunteers.

The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards ensure accountability for the protection and safety of the children and young people under our care. St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools and entities are held accountable to the Child Safeguarding Standards and we will regularly report to EREA on how these standards are being addressed here.

The purpose and intent of the Standards contained in this Framework are to embed a culture of child safety and wellbeing by demonstrating values in practice, nurturing the wellbeing of all children and young people, respecting their dignity, ensuring their safety and protecting them from abuse and other harm. This we do, at all times, by acting in the best interests of children and young people under our care.  The Framework should be read alongside the EREA Child Safeguarding Policy which can be found here, and the St Edmund’s College Canberra Commitment to Child Safety which can be found here.  The entire EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework can be found here.

STANDARD 5: ROBUST HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safeguarding values in practice.

Rationale: Each EREA school implements robust, child safe human resources policies and work practices that are designed to reduce the risk of child abuse and other harm by Staff, Volunteers and Contractors.

The core components of child safe human resources management at St Edmund’s College are:

  1. Recruitment of Staff and relevant Volunteers and Contractors, including advertising, pre-employment screening and selection, emphasises child safeguarding.
  2. Relevant Staff, Volunteers and Contractors have Working with Children Checks (or equivalent background checks).
  3. Staff, Volunteers and Contractors receive an appropriate induction, or relevant information, so that they are aware of their Child Safeguarding responsibilities to children and young people, including reporting obligations, while at the school.
  4. Ongoing supervision and people management is focused on child safeguarding.
  5. The school has targeted programs for the screening, induction, professional supervision and development of overseas church personnel.

STANDARD 6: EFFECTIVE COMPLAINTS HANDLING. Processes for raising child safety concerns and complaints are responsive, understood, accessible and used by children and young people, families, carers, relevant communities, and staff.

St Edmund’s College has developed, communicated and effectively implemented child-focused processes to respond to child safety-related complaints and concerns.

Rationale: Ensuring that processes for receiving child safety related complaints, and for responding to child safety incidents, complaints and concerns are effective is an important strategy for helping and encouraging children and young people, families, staff and others to raise any concerns about child safety. Policies and procedures for responding to child safety incidents, complaints and concerns should be clear, comprehensive, accessible, and responsive to and understood by children and young people, families, Staff, Volunteers and Contractors. The College Leadership Team needs to be aware of any and all incidents, complaints or concerns of abuse, harm or other child safety concerns that involve the school and/or school Staff, Volunteers and Contractors, and all Staff, Volunteers and Contractors must be supportive of children and young people, parents/carers and others who have made a complaint or raised a concern, or who have witnessed a child safety incident.

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 6?  The core components of effective complaints handling processes for and responses to child safety incidents, concerns and complaints are:

  1. St Edmund’s College has effective Child Safeguarding and complaints handling policies and procedures which clearly outline roles and responsibilities, approaches to dealing with different types of child safety incidents, complaints and concerns, reporting obligations and record keeping requirements.
  2. St Edmund’s College has a child-focused complaints handling system that is understood by children and young people, families, Staff, Volunteers and Contractors.
  3. All child safety incidents, complaints and concerns are taken seriously, and responded to promptly and thoroughly.
  4. College policies and procedures address reporting of incidents, complaints and concerns to relevant authorities, whether or not the law requires reporting. The requirement to cooperate with investigating authorities is also explicit.
  5. College policies and procedures for responding to child safety incidents, complaints and concerns ensure that the school, and its Staff, Volunteers and Contractors, meet their external reporting, privacy and employment law obligations.
  6. St Edmund’s College has mechanisms in place to support parents/carers or adults who are former students and who make complaints about child safety incidents or concerns involving the school or its Staff, Volunteers and Contractors.
  7. St Edmund’s College has mechanisms in place to monitor and support Staff, and relevant Volunteers and Contractors, facing child safety allegations.

Next week we will explore Standards 7 and 8.

From now on, when an initiative or program is raised in Vortex or any other College publication or communication, we will explicitly make the connection to the relevant Child Safeguarding Standard so the whole community is aware of how we are meeting our expectations.  We will also post the ways in which we comply with each Standard on our website.

Prayer
Loving God,
As we discern the meaning of our call to servant leadership,
help us recognise the ways you seek to minister through our lives.
Inspired by the knowledge of your abiding presence,
may we have the courage to reach out and support one another,
to stand firm in what is true,
to decrease when others should increase,
and to lead with vision and compassion,
as faithful followers of Jesus, your Son.
We make this prayer to you in his name.
Amen

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 2, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

Over the past week I have come across some very inspirational sources that have really lifted my spirits and have allowed me to start thinking of the many good things in our lives and how we should celebrate them.

The first source of inspiration, believe it or not, has been the comedy series “Ted Lasso” on Apple+.  For those of you who are not aware of the series, it tells the story of Ted Lasso, an American college football coach who is hired to coach an English Premier League football team.  Much of the humour of the series derives from Ted not quite understanding English soccer and the culture clash that comes from Ted trying to impose his American techniques on the English.  What I love about the series is that Ted has an extremely positive outlook on life; he cares greatly about people and puts people before the game.  Whilst this is not an overly pragmatic way to lead a football team to success on the ladder, Ted is nevertheless someone who recognises the inner goodness in people and allows that goodness to shine.  So engaging is the character that I couldn’t quite believe the emotion with which I watched the final episode of the first season, willing the fictitious football team with all my heart to win their match so as not to be relegated out of the Premier League. Throughout the series, Ted often conveys little pearls of wisdom to his players. One of these gems of wisdom is the goldfish analogy.  He tells his players to be a goldfish – goldfish have very short memory spans. If the players make an error on the field, they need to learn from it but then move on.  They shouldn’t dwell on their mistakes and allow their failures or errors to form them or become their identity.   How often in life do we make an error or feel that we have failed in something, and we allow that to overcome us, becoming an obstacle to our growth and development.  Ted’s little goldfish gem has a lot to say about how we allow ourselves to grow and flourish.  Hopefully I can share some other Ted Lasso pearls of wisdom this term with our boys as they return to school.

My other source of inspiration this week comes from last Sunday’s First Reading, from the Book of Wisdom (Wisdom 7: 7-11).  This book, also known as the Wisdom of Solomon, provides a series of proverbs, sayings and prayers from King Solomon. Solomon is known for being the king of Israel who built the first Temple in Jerusalem. He was also the second (after his father, David) and last king of a unified Israel, which was at the height of its power during his reign. Last week’s first reading is quite brief but powerful.

Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me: and I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me: And I preferred her before kingdoms and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither did I compare unto her any precious stone: for all gold in comparison of her, is as a little sand, and silver in respect to her shall be counted as clay. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for her light cannot be put out. Now all good things came to me together with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.

Solomon talks about the strength of wisdom, and how wisdom is the most precious and powerful gift from God.  Wisdom is more esteemed than any kingdom or throne and the status that comes with this; wisdom is more precious than any stone.  Unlike health which can deteriorate and beauty which can fade, wisdom is eternal and, unlike light, can never be put out.  All good things come from wisdom. Solomon says quite clearly that wisdom can only come from God. Solomon’s celebration of wisdom here and his reference to being in love with wisdom reminds me of Paul’s celebration of love in his First Letter to the Corinthians, as both are referring to the love of God.  According to the Sacred Space website (a service of the Irish Jesuits) “Divine Wisdom embraces both Truth and Love.  To be a friend of God is to share his Wisdom, that is, to see and understand reality as he does. This is the most precious thing we can have in life for it gives meaning and direction to everything that we experience. It is to live in a light that is never extinguished”.

Let us pray today for this wisdom that will guide our lives and the lives of our young men, and bring us the happiness, peace and security which we constantly seek.

Congratulations
Congratulations to Nicholas Odgers (Year 12, Treacy) on being shortlisted and progressing through to the next round in the Australian Olympic Change-Maker Be the Change Competition. The Australian Olympic Change-Maker program recognises and rewards students who are demonstrating the Olympic spirit through leadership and driving positive change in their communities. This can take on many forms – from major projects to small examples of daily positivity.

Nick’s impressive video submission highlighted how he has used sport to create positive change and promote resilience in creative and unexpected ways; proving that the power of sport is truly limitless.

AST
I would like to wish our Year 12 Tertiary students my very best wishes for their AST this Tuesday and Wednesday. The AST is significant for these students as the AST scores of the Tertiary package students provide the basis for scaling course scores. A student’s scaled course scores are used in the calculation of the student’s ATAR.  Teachers have been involved in preparing our students for the AST in a comprehensive preparation program.  Best wishes to all of our Year 12 Tertiary students.

Return to School Transition
Next week (Tuesday 18 October) sees face to face teaching resume for Year 12 and Year 11 students. We look forward to having all of our senior school students back with us next week.  It is an important time for both year groups, with Year 12 moving towards the end of their schooling and Year 11 students looking at who amongst their peers will be leading the College as part of the new Student Leadership Team.

Uniform Purchases for 2022
Accompanying this week’s Vortex is information about making bookings for the Uniform Shop.  I would ask that you please read this carefully and commence the process for purchasing next year’s uniform as soon as possible to avoid the rush.  This information was also emailed to all carers and parents last week.

EREA Child Safeguarding Standards

This week we continue exploring the Standards by looking at Standards 3 and 4.
Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and St Edmund’s College Canberra are committed to creating an environment in which the safety, wellbeing and participation of all children and young people are paramount.  We have zero tolerance of child abuse and all allegations and safety concerns are treated very seriously in line with our robust policies and procedures. EREA and St Edmund’s College have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.

EREA has responded proactively to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by developing a set of Child Safeguarding Standards. The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework is designed to further enhance a culture within St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools wherein protecting children and young people from abuse and other harm, and the promotion of child safety, participation, empowerment and wellbeing, are embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of our leaders, staff and volunteers.

The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards ensure accountability for the protection and safety of the children and young people under our care. St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools and entities are held accountable to the Child Safeguarding Standards and we will regularly report to EREA on how these standards are being addressed here.

The purpose and intent of the Standards contained in this Framework are to embed a culture of child safety and wellbeing by demonstrating values in practice, nurturing the wellbeing of all children and young people, respecting their dignity, ensuring their safety and protecting them from abuse and other harm. This we do, at all times, by acting in the best interests of children and young people under our care.  The Framework should be read alongside the EREA Child Safeguarding Policy which can be found here, and the St Edmund’s College Canberra Commitment to Child Safety which can be found here.  The entire EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework can be found here.

STANDARD 3: PARTNERING WITH FAMILIES, CARERS AND COMMUNITIES. Families, Carers and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.

It is the expectation that St Edmund’s College has processes that help parents, carers and the relevant communities to contribute to and participate in developing a child safe culture, including cultural safety, at the school and to know what to do if they want to make a child safety complaint or report a child safety concern.

Rationale: Parents and carers are best placed to advise about their children’s needs and capabilities.  Relevant communities, such as the local community in which the school operates or the culturally diverse communities that make up the school’s student body can assist in identifying and addressing cultural safety needs as well as influence the culture of the school. Community and family members may also often be aware of child safety issues that might not otherwise be known to Staff.

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 3?  The core components of family and community involvement to promote child safety at the College are:

  1. St Edmund’s College recognises that parents and carers have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their child and ensures that they participate in decisions that affect their child.
  2. St Edmund’s College engages and openly communicates with families, carers and relevant communities about its child safeguarding approach, and ensures relevant information is accessible.
  3. Families and relevant communities have a say in the school’s Child Safeguarding policies and practices.
  4. Families and relevant communities are informed about the school’s operations and governance.
  5. St Edmund’s College takes a leadership role in raising community awareness of the dignity and rights of all children and young people.

STANDARD 4: EQUITY IS PROMOTED AND DIVERSITY RESPECTED. Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.

It is expected that St Edmund’s College adjusts our practices to enable children, young people and families with diverse needs and circumstances to contribute to and participate in developing a child safe culture at the school, understand their rights and responsibilities as part of the school community, and know what to do if they want to report abuse and other harm, inappropriate behaviour or concerns about their safety.

Rationale: As a child safe institution, St Edmund’s College takes into account children and young people’s diverse circumstances. Some children and young people are more vulnerable to child abuse and other harm than others, or may find it harder to speak up and be heard. Adjustments are necessary to equally protect all children and young people at the school. Procedures used by the school must be tailored to ensure these children and young people have fair access to the relationships, skills, knowledge and resources they need to be safe, in equal measure with their peers.

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 4?  The core components of upholding equity and meeting diverse needs of children and young people at the school are:

  1. St Edmund’s College, and in particular all Staff, Direct Contact Volunteers and Direct Contact Contractors, actively recognises the diverse circumstances and backgrounds of children and young people and responds effectively to those who are vulnerable.
  2. Children and young people have access to information, support and complaints processes in ways that are culturally safe, accessible and easy to understand.
  3. St Edmund’s College is attentive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, children and young people with disability, children and young people from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, children and young people who are unable to live at home, and gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and young people.

Next week we will explore Standards 5 and 6.

From now on, when an initiative or program is raised in Vortex or any other College publication or communication, we will explicitly make the connection to the relevant Child Safeguarding Standard so the whole community is aware of how we are meeting our expectations.  We will also post the ways in which we comply with each Standard on our website.

Prayer for Wisdom
Loving God,
take us to the place where we are saved from our pride and arrogance
and Christ’s humility is centre stage,
where we are lifting up clean hands and a pure heart to You.
Take us to the place where we are no longer looking at the mountains we face
but looking down upon them,
where we can see clearly
and our decisions are flooded with Your light, truth and justice.
Father, we bend our knee and receive Your truth,
we open our ears to receive Your counsel,
we open our hearts to receive Your eternal wisdom.
Amen.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 1, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

Return to School Transition Schedule
This week we welcome back our Year 12 students to the College.  Whilst they are continuing their remote learning, we have invited them to physically attend the College so they can meet with their friends and be in more of a social learning environment than they would at home.

All parents and carers were recently emailed with our return to school transition plan, based on the schedule set for us by the ACT Government.  This is a brief summary of the schedule.  I would ask that you refer to the last two emails distributed to parents and carers for more specific information.

  • Year 12 Tuesday 5 October (Term 4, Week 1)

Remote learning continues during Weeks 1 & 2; Year 12 students are invited to physically attend school if they wish. Year 12 Tertiary students must physically attend school on Thursday 7 October (AST preparation); Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 October (AST).  There will be no classes for Accredited students on these days.  Full QCity Transit services will operate during this time; Transport Canberra Services will be limited.  Please check the Transport Canberra timetable.

  • Years 11 & 12 Tuesday 19 October (Term 4, Week 3)

Face-to-face teaching resumes at school for all Year 11 and Year 12 students on Tuesday 19 October (Monday 18 October is a scheduled study day). Full QCity Transit services will operate during this time; Transport Canberra Services will be limited.  Please check the Transport Canberra timetable.

  • Years 6, 9, & 10: Monday 25 October (Term 4, Week 4)

Full QCity and Transport Canberra transit services will operate from this date. More specific details about the return to school will be sent to parents and carers closer to this date.

  • Years 4, 5, 7 & 8: Monday 1 November (Term 4, Week 5)

More specific details about the return to school will be sent to parents and carers closer to this date.

Once students physically return to school, we will offer only one mode of learning, i.e. face to face teaching and learning.

General: Please note that the only students who will be at school outside of this schedule are students of essential workers and vulnerable students whose parents and carers have been contacted by the College. We would ask that you contact the College to inform us of your son’s attendance if this applies to you (email studentservices@stedmunds.act.edu.au ). Students attending the College during this time must be in school uniform. The Canteen will be open, but we prefer that students pre-order via Canvas.

Masks: According to ACT Health orders, students in Year 7 to Year 12 will be required to bring and wear a mask whilst on school grounds, this includes being in the building and outside, except when students are eating, drinking or involved in rigorous physical activity.  Members of staff will also be required to wear a mask.  Students in Years 4, 5 and 6 are encouraged to wear masks but this is not mandatory.

        Vaccinations:

  • Year 12:We have been advised to remind students to organise their vaccination if not yet done so. Bookings can be made by calling the COVID line 51247700 and by advising the operator of your son’s priority category. Follow this link for more specific details.
  • Other students: Families may be aware that recently the ACT Government announced that from Monday 20 September all children in the ACT aged 12 years and over are able to book a Pfizer vaccination appointment at an ACT Government clinic. ACT Health advises that there are two vaccines approved for 12 to 15-year-olds in Australia, with Pfizer available from participating GPs already and Moderna expected to be available from participating pharmacies from 20 September. Follow this link for further information

Ventilation: The advice provided to us is that given the age of our buildings, we can rely on natural ventilation processes. Older schools such as ours were designed to maximise light and airflow with larger rooms, high ceilings and big windows, resulting in very good airflow (unlike newer school buildings which often rely on mechanical ventilation). The school is naturally ventilated, with good ventilation in our spaces depending on having windows (in classrooms and corridors) and doors open.  Staff members will be trained in adopting good ventilation practices such as ensuring that windows open easily, operating air conditioners properly (in those few spaces where they must be in operation) and maximising airflow within particular buildings.

We will also conduct an audit of all spaces within the College and where we deem a space unsatisfactory in terms of ventilation, the space will not be used until it can be rectified.

In the few spaces where air conditioning must be used, this will be monitored regularly by our maintenance company and, where we can, we will ensure there is always a supply of fresh outdoor air through the air conditioning units.  Again, where this is not possible, the space will not be used.

These practices, alongside enhanced cleaning, sanitising practices, hygiene supplies, face masks, staff vaccinations and school site restrictions will provide a safe setting for students when they return.

Visiting the College: Parents, carers and guests must not enter the College grounds except for an essential reason. Any visit must be arranged with a staff member from the College prior to the visit, but again only for an essential reason.  All other communications will take place through other means, e.g. telephone calls, emails, video conferencing.

 

EREA Child Safeguarding Standards
Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and St Edmund’s College Canberra are committed to creating an environment in which the safety, wellbeing and participation of all children and young people are paramount.  We have zero tolerance of child abuse and all allegations and safety concerns are treated very seriously in line with our robust policies and procedures. EREA and St Edmund’s College have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.

EREA has responded proactively to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by developing a set of Child Safeguarding Standards. The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework is designed to further enhance a culture within St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools wherein protecting children and young people from abuse and other harm, and the promotion of child safety, participation, empowerment and wellbeing, are embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of our leaders, staff and volunteers.

The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards ensure accountability for the protection and safety of the children and young people under our care. St Edmund’s College and all EREA schools and entities are held accountable to the Child Safeguarding Standards and we will regularly report to EREA on how these standards are being addressed here.

Throughout this term I will share with you the EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework. The purpose and intent of the Standards contained in this Framework are to embed a culture of child safety and wellbeing by demonstrating values in practice, nurturing the wellbeing of all children and young people, respecting their dignity, ensuring their safety and protecting them from abuse and other harm. This we do, at all times, by acting in the best interests of children and young people under our care.  The Framework should be read alongside the EREA Child Safeguarding Policy which can be found here, and the St Edmund’s College Canberra Commitment to Child Safety which can be found here.  The entire EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework can be found here.

This week we commence by exploring Standards 1 and 2.

STANDARD 1: COMMITTED LEADERSHIP, GOVERNANCE AND CULTURE.  Child safeguarding is embedded in the leadership, governance and culture of St Edmund’s College.

It is the expectation that St Edmund’s College has strategies to embed and enhance a culture of child safety and wellbeing throughout the leadership, governance and culture of the College.

Rationale: The culture at EREA consists of the collective values and practices that guide the attitudes and behaviour of EREA school communities. A positive child focused culture helps to keep children and young people safe. Leadership at St Edmund’s College and at the EREA Head Office plays a critical role in creating and maintaining a culture where safety and wellbeing of children and young people is central to the operation. This is the responsibility of Staff, Volunteers and Contractors at all levels. Governance, or the systems, structures and policies that control the way that EREA and St Edmund’s College operate, also strongly influences culture, practices and decision-making.  Whilst there are some common strategies that may be adopted, each EREA school is unique and must develop and implement strategies to embed or improve on a culture of child safety and wellbeing that meet its own circumstances.

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 1?  The core components of a child safe culture being embedded in and enhanced by the leadership, governance and culture of St Edmund’s College are:

  1. The College publicly commits to child safeguarding and takes a zero-tolerance approach to child abuse.
  2. Child safeguarding is a shared responsibility and a child safe culture is championed and modelled at all levels of the College community, including from the top down and the bottom up.
  3. Governance arrangements facilitate implementation of the College’s child safeguarding strategies at all levels and across all of the College’s activities.
  4. Child Safe Codes of Conduct provide guidelines for Staff, Volunteers and Contractors on expected behavioural standards and responsibilities.
  5. The College has risk management strategies focused on preventing, identifying and mitigating risks to children and young people.
  6. Staff, Volunteers and Contractors understand their obligations with respect to mandatory reporting, information sharing and record keeping.

STANDARD 2: CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE ARE SAFE, INFORMED AND PARTICIPATE. Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.

It is expected that St Edmund’s College has simple and accessible age appropriate processes that:

  • enables children and young people to participate in decisions that affect them,
  • helps children and young people understand what to do if they want to report child safety concerns,
  • enables children and young people to understand their rights and responsibilities as part of the school community.

 Rationale: Establishing an environment of trust and participation at St Edmund’s College is key to maintaining a child safe environment. When children and young people …

  • are engaged and involved in decisions that affect them,
  • can express their views and raise concerns,
  • have their views and opinions taken seriously,
  • are included in policy consultation and development, and
  • know their rights and responsibilities

they are more likely to be able to speak up to raise concerns about child safety. Children and young people need to feel that they will be safe and heard when reporting concerns or allegations of child abuse and other harm. Children and young people may not report abuse and other harm because they feel that they will not be heard or because they do not know how to raise their concerns.

Children and young people also may not report abuse and other harm if the processes for doing so have not taken into account children and young people’s views about their appropriateness. High levels of trust, awareness and simple, accessible processes are required to ensure that children and young people are empowered to disclose abuse and other harm, inappropriate behaviour or concerns about their own safety or the safety of their friends. Additionally, all Staff, Volunteers and Contractors must have an awareness and acceptance of the rights of children and young people and of adult responsibilities with respect to child abuse and other harm.

What is St Edmund’s College expected to have in place to comply with Standard 2?  The core components of children and young people’s participation and empowerment within the College are:

  1. Children and young people are informed about their rights, including those pertaining to safety, information and participation. They are participants in decisions affecting them.
  2. The importance of friendships is recognised and support from peers is encouraged, to help children and young people feel safe and be less isolated.
  3. Children and young people have access to child abuse and harm prevention programs and to relevant related information in an age appropriate way.
  4. The College facilitates child-friendly ways for children and young people to express their views, participate in decision-making and raise their concerns. Staff, as well as Direct Contact and Regular Volunteers/Contractors are attuned to signs of harm.

Next week we will explore Standards 3 and 4.

From now on, when an initiative or program is raised in Vortex or any other College publication or communication, we will explicitly make the connection to the relevant Child Safeguarding Standard so the whole community is aware of how we are meeting our expectations.  We will also post the ways in which we comply with each Standard on our website.

I apologise for this week’s Vortex being very “matter of fact” in its nature, but as you can see there are significant issues which we need to clarify and communicate.  Hopefully we can soon go back to the Vortex being a little more personal and relational in its nature.

Prayer
Loving Jesus,
During this new term, we pray that whilst we prepare for a physical return to school,
we carry Your light within us.
We pray that Your light never fades within us;
let our focus always be on You in every environment we enter,
whether it be online or face to face.
We know that we may sometimes face difficulties,
but Lord You are faithful to deliver us from them all.
We know that this term we will be successful and we will overcome all things
because Your Word tells us so.
Amen.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 3, Week 10, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

Last week I shared with you an extract from of my favourite books, The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet, written by Benjamin Hoff.  The extract from last week focused on the many wonders of just being still, immersing ourselves in the joy of silence and surrounding ourselves with nature.  These are experiences very much needed at this time.

This week I would like to share with you another of Hoff’s concepts as he continues to explore Taosim through the stories of A. A. Milne’s Winnie-The-Pooh and the qualities of its characters. Most of us are familiar with the character of Eeyore.  He is generally characterised as a pessimistic, gloomy, depressed donkey who is a friend of Winnie-the-Pooh.  We all know an Eeyore in our lives – those friends, family members or colleagues of ours who are afraid to risk any positive emotional expressions and instead relish on dwelling on the negative.  Eyeores are very good at complaining, with an expertise in mumbling and grumbling.  Hoff says that Eeyores are whiners – they believe the negative, not the positive, and are so obsessed with the wrongs that can happen in life that the good things pass them unnoticed.  This is a very recognisable scenario especially with the amount of negative news flooding us at the moment.

“Hallo, Eeyore,” said Christopher Robin, as he opened the door and came out. “How are you?”
“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
And freezing.”
“Is it?”
“Yes,” said Eeyore.  “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

Hoff explains that Eeyores reside in a negative reality and they feel they are powerless, hence their grimness.  They feel they have no say in anything and no power over anything. Their sense of powerlessness forces them to bring themselves down as well as others around them.

“Piglet had got up early that morning to pick himself a bunch of violets; and when he had picked them and put them in a pot in the middle of his house, it suddenly came over him that nobody had ever picked Eeyore a bunch of violets, and the more he thought of this, the more he thought how sad it was to be an Animal who had never had a bunch of violets picked for him. So he hurried out again, saying to himself, ‘Eeyore, Violets,’ and then ‘Violets, Eeyore’, in case he forgot, because it was that sort of day, and he picked a large bunch and trotted along, smelling them, and feeling very happy, until he came to the place where Eeyore was.
‘Oh, Eeyore,’ began Piglet a little nervously because Eeyore was busy.
Eeyore put out a paw and waved him away.
‘Tomorrow’, said Eeyore. ‘Or the next day.’”

How deflating for Piglet to have been brushed away so quickly after what he had done for Eeyore. There is a very strong message emerging here that we need to be open to the positive; we need to allow ourselves to be in the company of the positive and immerse ourselves in their positive spirit, sometimes perhaps even when we don’t really feel like it.  It is so easy for us to become an Eyeore, to wallow in the bad and not see the good.  But we can easily overcome the Eeyore within us by looking around us and by doing what Piglet does best – thinking of others; serving others and wanting to make others happy.  This in turn does the same for us.

Congratulations
We have been informed by Australian Schools’ Rugby Union that Baden Godfrey (Year 12, College Captain) and Shane Wilcox (Year 10) have been selected to the 2021 Australian Schoolboys ‘A’ Team. The title of Australian Schoolboy is synonymous with players of high rugby skill and outstanding personal character. Baden and Shane were able to rise above many hundreds of boys who participated in trial days and selection matches held all over the country during the year.  We congratulate Baden and Shane on their wonderful and exciting achievement, and wish them all the very best.

Congratulations also to Jesse Borghouts (Year 8, Treacy) for being awarded the U13s ACT AFL Leagues ‘Best and Fairest’.  We are very proud of Jess’ achievement – this is reflective of the many strong qualities we see in Jesse every day.

Support
If you feel your son is struggling at the moment, please find a link below to an excellent resource for parents and carers who want to support their young person but may not have the tools or the confidence to do so.  This document is from batyr (a preventative mental health organisation, created and driven by young people, for young people) and The Happiness Institute.
https://www.batyr.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/How-to-start-a-conversation-about-mental-health_parent-carer.pdf

Important Notices:

  • Return to school in Term 4: The ACT Government announced yesterday (Tuesday 14 September) the nature of the return to school plan for Term 4. We will email parents specific details of this in the next day or so. I was very disappointed with the plan, especially given that fact that students in Years 4 – 10 will not be back at school for face-to-face learning until Week 5 of next term. I firmly believe that our students need to be back at school as soon as possible for a number of reasons, first and foremost being their mental wellbeing. I am also very frustrated that the ACT Government has given no thought to what parents are to do in the two week period between the planned end of lockdown (Friday 15 October) and school commencing for Years 4 – 10 (planned for Monday 1 November).
  • Year 12 AST: The Board of Senior School Studies (BSSS) has postponed the Year 12 AST until Tuesday 12 & Wednesday 13 October.
  • ATAR: The BSSS has also announced that the release of the ATAR will be delayed until Thursday 20 January 2022. The delay is due to the postponement of the NSW Higher School Certificate examinations. The ATAR and therefore University offers for ACT and NSW students are processed at the same time.
  • Year 12 Formal: This has been postponed from Friday 17 September to Friday 5 November 2021 at The Arboretum (dependent on the nature of restrictions at the time)

My very best wishes to all of you for the school holiday break and I look forward to our community being able to be together soon.  I am aware that we have quite a number of people in our Eddies community who are suffering illness at the moment or who have family members quite ill.  We offer our prayers to these people and sincerely hope for appropriate care and speedy recoveries.

Prayer
Lord Jesus,
You told your friends not to worry about the future.
You showed them how to have the attitude of simple trust that young children have, so that they could place themselves into the caring hands of your Father.
And so we ask for the power of your Spirit that we may remain positive throughout all that is ordinary in our daily lives.
We know that your touch can change people and situations, and so we ask you to join us in offering to our Father not only the good things of this day but also the suffering and sacrifices that we want to offer cheerfully and lovingly, and in a quiet and hidden way.
And so may any difficulties and frustration and pain of this day be transformed in your presence for the benefit of other people.
Amen.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 3, Week 9, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

Last week I promised that I would take a break from writing about COVID related issues and focus on more positive themes.  This week I would like to share with you one of my all-time favourite books by an author named Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh & The Te of Piglet. The book is intended as an introduction to the Eastern belief system of Taoism for Westerners. It employs the fictional characters of A. A. Milne’s well-known Winnie-the-Pooh stories to explain the basic principles of philosophical Taoism through allegory.

Hoff presents the characters from A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories as if they are interacting with him while he writes The Tao of Pooh. Hoff uses many of Milne’s characters to symbolise ideas of Taoist principles. Winnie-the-Pooh himself, for example, personifies the principles of wu wei, the Taoist concept of “effortless doing,” and pu, the concept of being open to, but unburdened by, experience, and it is also a metaphor for natural human nature. Hoff regards Poo’s simpleminded nature, unsophisticated worldview and instinctive problem-solving methods as representative of Taoist philosophy.

In the world of Pooh, a person who is always moving, always busy, always distracted by what is happening around them, always searching for something they don’t have or a way to get more is called a “Bisy Backson,” which translates to “Busy, Back Soon” The Backson is someone who is never at peace or content. They must always be exerting the full capacity of their energy and feel like there’s never enough time. (The Bisy Backson comes directly from a Winnie-the-Pooh story, where Rabbit goes to visit Christopher Robin.  Rabbit finds a note on Christopher’s door in his typical misspelling: “Gon out.  Backson.  Bisy.  Backson”. Rabbit assumes that someone called Backson had written the note, rather than reading it as “Gone out. Back soon. Busy.  Back soon”.)  Hence the Bisy Backson is referred to as a character in Milne’s stories.

Hoff provides a story from the writings of Chuang-tse (an influential 4th century BC Chinese philosopher) as a description of a Bisy Backson:

“A man hated seeing his footprints behind him and his shadow. He thought he could outrun them, so he ran fast. But the footprints and shadow were still there. He reasoned he wasn’t running fast enough and increased his speed. He kept running faster and faster until he finally collapsed from exhaustion and died. If he’d simply stopped moving, there would have been no footprints. If he’d stopped in the shade, there would have been no shadow”.

In one of my favourite parts of the book, Benjamin Hoff gives us the following allegorical interaction with himself and Pooh to exemplify and celebrate the joy of stillness and the wonder in silence:

“I say Pooh, why aren’t you busy?” I said.
“Because it’s a nice day,” said Pooh.
“Yes, but -”
“Why ruin it?” he said.
“But you could be doing something important,” I said.
“I am,” said Pooh.
“Oh. Doing what?”
“Listening,” he said.
“Listening to what?”
“To the birds. And that squirrel over there.”
“What are they saying?” I asked.
“That it’s a nice day,” said Pooh.
“But you know that already,” I said.
“Yes, but it’s always good to hear that somebody else thinks so too,” he replied.
“Well, you could be spending your time getting Educated by listening to the Radio, instead,” I said.
“That thing?”
“Certainly.  How else will you know what’s going on the world?” I said.
“By going outside,” said Pooh.
“Er … well … (click) “Now just listen to this Pooh.”
(There is a report on the radio about a severe plane collision and significant injuries).
“What does that tell you about the world?” asked Pooh.
“Hmm. You’re right.” (click)
“What are the birds saying now?” I asked.
“That it’s a nice day,” said Pooh.

Some of you may have seen my recent light-hearted video on our social media page about the importance of being away from our screens and being outside. In our contemporary world the Bisy Backson would spend all his time behind his screen – working; keeping up with his emails, checking all his social media, reading and reacting to every comment; catching up on every little bit of news he missed, gaming and so on.  Pooh wouldn’t do this – Pooh is at home in the natural world around him.  It is the natural world that keeps Pooh satisfied, gives him energy, gives him balance and liberates him from the many shackles of life.  Sharing this with his friends is what gives Pooh even more joy.

I hope that all our students can enjoy time away from their screens to be outside, immersing themselves in the joy of doing nothing (not when their scheduled lessons are on of course!), and more importantly, that they can share doing nothing with their families and friends, or if they prefer, on their own.  There are times when we cannot avoid being a Bisy Backson (unfortunately this is just what life is today), but there are times when we need to make time to be more like Winnie-the-Pooh. Stillness, silence, reflection, fulfilment.

Reminders:

  • The Chief Minister Andrew Barr will make an announcement regarding the nature of Term 4 schooling in the first week of the school holidays. We will make email contact with families in the holiday period to advise you of our return to school transition plans, depending on the news forthcoming from the ACT Government.
  • An email was distributed last Friday to Year 12 students and parents with a message from ACT Health regarding vaccinations.

 A Prayer for Stillness

Gracious God,

We ask you to plant a seed of stillness in our souls.

Everything in our lives moves ever more quickly, and we are continually expected to fit more things into time that is already brimful with activity. Even when we have moments that require nothing of us, our minds race and we seem unable to locate a switch to turn it off.

Give us, each day, the desire and capacity to breathe in the wonder of air, to envision a still lake on a windless dawn, to drop deep into the well of our own being and find there the peace of your presence.

We ask this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea