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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

Principal’s Message: Term 3, 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 family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

This week we enter our third week of online learning.  It is quite an eerie feeling coming to school every day with only a handful of students and staff.  The corridors are empty, the classrooms are quiet, the ovals are still and there is certainly a lack of that energy and vitality that the boys bring the this place every day.   I recently came across this quotation, “School is not closed – the building is. If you listen closely you can hear the hum of teachers, administrators and support staff.”  Of course, if you listen even more closely, this “hum” extends to the home of every one of our students, where there is much going on.  Students are interacting with their teachers in one way or another, progressing with their work in each subject and immersing themselves in their learning programs.

Last week I thanked our teaching staff for the wonderful work they have done in ensuring that our students are purposefully engaged in their online learning experiences. This extends to our Diverse Learning staff who are looking after the small number of boys who physically join us every day.  Our Diverse Learning team are making sure that these students are also purposefully engaged in their learning and are guiding them through their work and wellbeing, making sure that the boys have a good balance of school work and physical activity.

Importantly, I would like to particularly thank our parents and carers.  Your work in keeping your sons motivated is so important, and I am well aware that sometimes this is very difficult for many of you who are working from home yourselves and may have a number of children at home.  I understand the battle for quiet workspaces; the anxiety around meeting your own work deadlines and requirements; the frustration in knowing that sometimes your sons may not be engaged in their work in the best way possible; and on it goes.  Thank you for partnering with us in our online learning program – we could not be able to do this without the support and guidance you provide. As I expressed last week, if you feel you son needs further support (or perhaps you need further support), please do not hesitate to contact the College and speak to a key member of staff, whether that be your son’s Head of House or Tutor, the counsellor or a class teacher. It is important to recognise that support is crucial but also reciprocal – we need to support you as a parent or carer just as much as it is crucial that you support us in the online learning program.

Last week we communicated to you regarding some wellbeing time we have initiated for our students.  We have allocated every second Monday and every Friday afternoon as time set aside for the boys to do as they wish, whether this be to catch up on their work or to go outside and just enjoy some free time. There are also some interesting and fun activities for the boys to participate in if they wish.  The Photo Competition is a wonderful opportunity for the boys to share photos of their pets, their family, their garden or their home.  Our College Captain, Baden Godfrey, has initiated the trick shots competition for boys to demonstrate their skills in a range of trick shots.  Last week we had boys in our Junior School participate in the online Book Week parade, demonstrating their cleverness in becoming their favourite book character. Mental health experts agree that penciling in some “me time” is an important part of anyone’s life. I hope the boys are making the most of their time and spending it in a way that is very different to the nature of their online learning experience. A good night’s sleep, a healthful diet, and regular exercise can help boost mood and have a positive impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of our boys.

Important News:

  • As I write this Vortex article, the Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced that the ACT lockdown will be extended until Friday 17 September. Online learning will continue for the rest of Term 3, with an announcement made regarding the future of schooling to be made 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.
  • The Board of Senior School Studies (BSSS) has postponed the Year 12 AST until Tuesday 12 & Wednesday 13 October.
  • The Year 12 Formal was originally scheduled for Friday 17 September. We are unable to hold this event at this time and will continue to look at alternative dates.
  • Please keep an eye out for the Father’s Day Reflection on our social media. To all the fathers and father figures in the lives of our students, we hope you have a very special day and we thank you for all you do in the guidance you offer your sons

I am sure that, like me, you are all suffering COVID related news fatigue.  I have made myself a promise that for the next two weeks of school I will not devote my Vortex articles to COVID-19 or online learning, and instead focus on other matters, giving us all a good break.

Prayer for Our Time

Come, Holy Spirit,
come as the wind
that blows where it pleases.
Move us, we pray,
to the depths of our being.

May we feel the gentleness
of your breezes,
and be stirred by the power
of your wind.

Come, blow on us,
and purify the environment
in which we live,
so that it may be freed
from what obstructs us
in our journey to you
and be filled with the freshness
of your breath.

Come, O Holy Spirit,
come as the wind
and surround us as you please.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 3, 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 family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

As we near the end of our second week of lockdown, we are becoming more and more aware of the many activities around the College that are in need to review.  Already we have been informed that the Rugby season has come to an end, with the basketball and football authorities still in consideration about the nature of the end of their season. We have already informed our Year 12 students and families of the BSSS decision to postpone the AST until Tuesday 12 & Wednesday 13 October. We still have our own events here at school to consider, with our Father’s Day celebration becoming an online reflection, and the Year 12 Formal (scheduled for Friday 17 September) on the top of our minds at the moment.  We will of course inform students and parents of any changes made to events as soon as possible.

It was encouraging that we could still have our Year 10 students and parents attend their Year 11 Course Selection Interviews, albeit by Zoom.  I sincerely thank our staff for organising this event, allowing our Year 10 students and parents an opportunity to discuss their pathways and packages for senior schooling.

I trust that the online learning experience is going well for most of our students.  I say “most” as I am well aware that not all students can adapt themselves easily to online learning. It is difficult for some of our students to engage in their learning in a positive and constructive manner as some learn best in a face to face environment with their teachers. I would encourage the parents of these students to communicate with class teachers, tutors and Heads of House to discuss the student’s specific situation and consider opportunities and alternatives to best move forward.  I certainly would not want any of our students facing anxiety because of their online learning – communication and open channels are so important at this time; please take the opportunity to contact key personnel  at the College to discuss your son’s particular needs and situation.

In this context, you are all aware by now that we have initiated some student wellbeing time during the week, giving students their own time.  Some students may wish to spend this time catching up on work; organising their work; finishing assessment tasks; etc.  But the time might be just as well spent having students outside in some form of physical activity; engaging in an interest or hobby (hopefully not online) or helping out around the house.   There is always the Photo Competition or the Trick Shot Challenge in which students can participate and have some fun (thanks so much to our College Captain Baden Godfrey for initiating the Trick Shot Challenge!).  Of course we look forward to the Junior School’s virtual Book Week for some great outfits and literary inspiration (by the way, just who was Wally on the Facebook video advertising Book Week? … at least he was wearing a mask!).

I must acknowledge and congratulate our teaching staff for the way in which they have been conducting online learning with their classes.  Our teachers were able to enter into online learning without a great deal of preparation, and I have received quite a number of emails giving us much positive feedback about the hard work of our staff and the nature of our online learning program.  I would make parents aware that often our teachers are not in a position to respond to an email immediately.  Teachers will respond to emails within 24 hours.  We need to keep in consideration that a great number of our teachers also have their own children at home as well as other responsibilities during lockdown which may prevent them from responding to an email as quickly as you would like.

On the day I write this article, the ACT recorded 16 new cases of COVID-19.  Whilst the numbers are somewhat stable each day with no significant increase to date, I am not sure if we will come out of lockdown next Thursday 2 September, as the Chief Minister has indicated that lockdown will only cease when we have zero transmissions.  I am keeping my fingers crossed and praying that it will be sooner rather than later. We need noise in the corridors, we need running on our ovals; we need learning and activity in our classrooms and we need our community to be come together again (and … I desperately need a haircut! I am seriously missing my skin fade cut).

A Light of Hope

Loving Lord of All,
we turn to you as we pray …

For our sisters and brothers who have contracted and are suffering from Coronavirus,
we pray that Your healing hand may rest upon them.

For all doctors, nurses and essential workers who are on the frontline against the pandemic,
we pray that You will sustain them and inspire them to render these life-saving services with due care, love and compassion.

For all who have lost their loved ones due to the pandemic,
we pray that their souls, through Your mercy, may rest in eternal peace.

We pray for peace, dignity and freedom for the men, women and children of Afghanistan;
for courage and generosity of the international community responding to their needs and for tranquillity of mind amongst our own Defence community and its wider family,

God of all healing,
who called the light to shine in the darkness at creation
and in whose eternal light there is no darkness at all,
be yourself a light of hope to those who dwell in darkness.
Be a support to the fearful,
a listener to the lonely,
a purpose to those in despair,
that amongst the confusions and struggles of this world,
they would find the path that would lead them to the fullness of life,
and joy, and peace,
In Jesus Christ or Lord,
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 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 family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

You would be well aware by now that the ACT is in lockdown until Thursday 2 September and regional NSW until Sunday 22 August, although these dates do not really mean much at the moment given the increasing number of COVID cases in both areas. Either way, we are fairly confident that we will be in lockdown for longer than anticipated.  Please be assured that we will continue to be in regular communication with our parents and students regarding our remote learning program and other organisational changes we might need to consider.  Our priorities at the moment are to continue a quality remote learning program balanced with a focus on student wellbeing, especially now with the extension of lockdown.

I realised a couple of nights ago how easy it is to be overwhelmed by what is happening around the world and within our own local community at the moment.  I was watching the evening news and found myself in a state of dread, starting to catastrophise the events around me.  This surprised me as I am usually quite a resilient person who just gets on with things.  However earlier this week I was overcome by the events of the news – the increasing COVID numbers in NSW and the ACT; the extension of the lockdown period; the death of the 15 year old boy in Sydney who attended the same high school as I did when I was young; being in the ninth week of not being able to see my 90 year old mother in Sydney; the ridiculous and dangerous conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination movements; the dreadful events in Afghanistan at the moment; our own school moving to remote learning and the many implications this has on our students, families and staff. I thought at the time that if I am having this reaction and I consider myself quite a resilient person, then there must be a large number of people in our society who are having the same reaction and who are not as resilient. This must be a very difficult time for many in our community who are feeling overwhelmed by the events of the day.

I also felt quite angry at the news services for their continued stress on the negative and their endless focus on wanting to blame someone for what is happening at the moment. I find most of the media sources at the moment acting in a very irresponsible manner, significantly adding to the situation and making matters much worse. An example of this is a headline in a local Canberra news service this morning, with its online headline stating “After initially preying on older and vulnerable people, there is increasing fear that Covid is morphing into a disease which hunts the young”. Again, as a person who is normally quite resilient, I was so angry and infuriated at the language used in the headline and the intentional fear mongering – phrases like “preying” and “hunts the young” have absolutely no place in responsible, service-based journalism, especially at a time like this.  I would hate to think how a young person would react to reading this headline.

It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that those around us, and of course we ourselves, are feeling safe and secure.  This is especially so with our young people and the students of St Edmund’s College.  This can be done so easily by being aware of the language we use and the subject of our discussions around young people – not to deny what is happening in the community, but to present an optimistic and balanced view of the events of the time; something that the media sources at the moment are very sorely lacking. I came across a lovely post on my Twitter feed yesterday that sums up how we should want our young people to feel at the moment, whether they are physically at school or in remote learning at home.  I have adapted this from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) – this is applicable not just to students, but to our lives as adults as well.

Each person should believe the following:

  • I’m going to be safe here
  • We are going to be serious about learning, treating one another well, and getting along. Everyone here matters equally.
  • Learning is going to be active and creative. We are going to be working together as well as on our own.
  • I can be successful here.
  • We are going to be heard. My ideas, interests and experiences matter.
  • I’m going to belong here.
  • I want to come back.

Last Sunday the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast Day of the Assumption of Our Lady when according to our faith, the Holy Mother, “having completed her course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory” (Pope Pius).  The Assumption signals the end of Mary’s earthly life and marks her return to heaven to be reunited with Jesus. There is little described of Mary in the Scriptures. What we do know, however, is that she was a woman of deep faith, trust and service. In the Gospel of Luke, we see Mary chosen by God to bring Christ into the world. She is with Jesus at his birth, nurtures him in childhood, is present during his ministry, witnesses his death, and stands with the early Church as it grows and proclaims the Good News. In the Gospel of Luke, Mary gives these words, which we call the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55):

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour
for he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.
Amen.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us
Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 3, 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 family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

Last Sunday the Catholic Church in Australia celebrated the solemnity of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.  Mary MacKillop’s story is one of faith and commitment.  She was born to poor Scottish immigrants, had seven siblings and a father who was regularly absent.  She commenced working at age 14 when she became governess to her cousins in Penola, South Australia, providing them with basic education.  The young priest there at the time, Father Julian Tenison Woods, was so impressed by Mary’s work with her cousins that he encouraged her to work with the poor children of the town, commencing a very strong and rewarding relationship between the two. Along with Tennison Woods, Mary founded Australia’s first order of nuns, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, only six years later, as well as establishing St. Joseph’s School in a converted stable in Penola, providing a free education to children from the area. Mary endured a great deal of conflict and obstacles in her life, incurring the wrath of local bishops and priests for many years. Pope Benedict XVI recognised Mary as a saint and she was canonized that October 1995 – Australia’s first saint.

It is impossible to capture the great work of Mary MacKillop in such a brief article.  Mary was instrumental in shaping the development and growth of Catholic education in Australia.  In many ways her work can be placed alongside the work of Blessed Edmund Rice in their focus on education for the poor and marginalised, and not only dedicating their lives to serve this great need, but inspiring others to follow their lead in this dedication with the establishment and growth of their respective religious orders.

“Whatever troubles may be before you, accept them bravely, remembering Whom you are trying to follow. Do not be afraid. Love one another, bear with one another, and let charity guide you all your life. God will reward you as only He can”. Mary MacKillop

It is very hard to believe that our Year 12 students have only about three months until they graduate. Much thought is being given at the moment by our Year 12 students to what life after school might look like.  It is also the time of year where it is easy for some Year 12 students to lose motivation as the finishing line draws nearer.  I would encourage our Year 12 students and their parents to make full use of the services here at the College to ensure that the next few months are fulfilling and successful.  Students can access our Careers Adviser, our VET Co-ordinator, the College Counsellor and the Heads of House, as well as individual members of staff to discern their pathways and directions, to discuss their concerns and issues and to set a good course until the end of the year.

Similarly, our Year 10 students are starting to consider their future pathways as they approach their senior school studies.  Again, I would strongly advise our Year 10 students and parents to make full use of our services and staff at the College so any discernment and decisions regarding senior school are made with good knowledge and understanding.

I have been conducting the enrolment interviews for Year 7 2022 for the last few months.  It is always a pleasure to meet with students and families who wish to join the Eddies community.  I am also pleased to see a very positive trend emerge in the reasons given by these families when I ask them why they want their boys at St Edmund’s.  The reasons given tend to fall into four main categories – the academic program offered by the College; our sense of genuine inclusion and diversity; our values and priorities and lastly, the first-hand experiences that prospective parents have had with either our current students or our old boys in the community, and the desire to have their sons experience the same spirit and develop the same sense of character. We have seen a positive development in our growth in enrolment numbers in particular year groups over the past few years and I truly believe this is because, as a College, we are committed to and genuinely live out our vision beliefs of being a College of vibrant spirit, strong character and tailored learning.  This does not mean we rest on our laurels.  In fact, it means the exact opposite – that we continue to strive to provide our students with the best possible environment in academic, cultural, social and sporting life.

I have had some messages from the community recently that our boys are not wearing masks when they are out and about in NSW (e.g. Queanbeyan, Googong, Jerrabomberra, Bungendore, Yass, etc).  Although it is not the College’s responsibility, I have reminded our boys about the importance of wearing masks in public places in these areas. I would ask our NSW parents to remind boys that if they are over 12 years old, they must be wearing a mask in public places in NSW and I would ask our ACT parents that if you know your sons are visiting public places in nearby NSW areas, that they must be wearing a mask as per NSW Government requirements. https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/changes/face-mask-rules

Ever generous God,
You inspired Saint Mary MacKillop
To live her life faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ
and constant in bringing hope and encouragement
to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy.
With confidence in your generous providence
and through the intercession of Saint Mary MacKillop
We ask that you hear our needs and grant our requests.
We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Holy Spirit
so that we too, like Mary MacKillop, may live with courage, trust and openness.
Ever generous God hear our prayer.
We ask this through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop, pray for us
Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 3, 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,

The Edmums event last Friday evening was certainly one of the community-event highlights of the year. It was wonderful to have such a large number of mothers attend the event (I believe around 88) sharing company, food and drink in strengthening and enriching our community.  Thank you to all of our “Edmums” who attended – you certainly created a lively, positive atmosphere at Psychedeli in the city.  Thanks to also to Sharon Isherwood who donated a beautiful hamper for the lucky door prize as well as providing a gift bag for all attended (Sharwood Hampers, sharwoodhampers.com.au).  A very special thank you to the College Community Development and Engagement Team, Jodee Marques and Rachel Smith for their great organisation, time and effort, very ably supported on the night by staff members Mikhala Andersen and Rachel Lemon.  After a COVID break last year, I feel that the Edmums events will continue to be a much-anticipated event in the College calendar.

Last Thursday evening we held our regular Careers Information Night.  This is a valuable opportunity for our older boys to consider their post-school pathways.  It was wonderful to see some positive and encouraging follow up posts and comments on LinkedIn from some of our old boys who came along to offer their advice and knowledge to our current students. Thank you to our Careers Adviser, Mrs Rebecca Jarman and to our VET Coordinator, Mr Alex Hausen, for their organisation and co-ordination of the event, and to our many stall holders for giving of their time and experience.

I recently came across an article written by a friend of mine for the Sydney Catholic Weekly.  The author is Anthony Cleary, Director of Religious Education and Evangelisation for Sydney Catholic Schools. Anthony makes a very relevant and strong point about the pursuit of excellence and its place in Australian culture (especially Australian schools), using the Olympic Games as a context. I would like to share this article with you, hoping that its message has some resonance with you.

“Owing to COVID-19 restrictions, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad are like no other. Public spectators have been barred and athletes pursue dreams in near-empty stadiums, left in isolation to compete against rivals and themselves.

That said, the purpose and spirit of the games has not been diminished, and the age-old adage of Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) still rings true.

The Olympics continue to represent ideals of human nature and the human spirit. They promote a genuine sense of shared humanity, with fellowship and camaraderie between different peoples and cultures, a commitment to self-improvement and the pursuit of excellence.

As people would well remember from Sydney 2000, the Olympics foster a unique spirit, characterised by a strong sense of fraternity and ‘oneness’ with others. They represent a departure from the mundane and the ordinariness of the everyday.

In so many respects, the Olympics are counter-cultural. An examination of Australian life, and that of other parts of the Western World, suggests that some of the Olympic ideals are dying, if not already dead.

Unlike the Olympics, where athletic achievement is progressively ‘faster, higher, stronger’, with new records set at each Games, the measurable standards of some sectors and industries are in decline.

As a teacher, I have long been concerned with approaches to education, student attitudes and achievement. For several decades, the educational sector has undergone cycles of review and reform.

Despite this, and the unprecedented financial investment of successive Australian governments, our nation’s place in international rankings of student achievement continues to drop. We must seek solutions to halt this trajectory of decline and raise the bar of our own educational standards. This of course, requires a change in our philosophical approach to learning and it involves the conscious and focused pursuit of excellence.

Excellence is not a dirty word, nor is competition.

For much of its history, Australia has been shackled with the reputation of the ‘tall poppy syndrome’, the phenomenon in which people’s successes and achievements are cynically derided by others. It rests on the belief that personal excellence leads to arrogance, and therefore should be avoided. It is a warped and misguided view of equality.

This cultural trait can be very damaging, and in the past has cost Australia some of its best and brightest minds. The recent Wimbledon championships, with the successes of our very own Ash Barty and Dylan Alcott, highlight that those who achieve excellence often embody humility and model the value of perseverance and hard work.

Despite worthy examples to the contrary, there remains a general suspicion of many ‘tall poppies’ and a resentment of their achievements. This is particularly sad as it often deters people, especially the young, from giving their best and pursuing their dreams.

How the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ took hold, I don’t know – for it goes against so many of our natural inclinations. Generally, we do rejoice in the achievements of others, especially if they are unanticipated or the result of dedication and hard work. And often, their successes inspire us in our own efforts.

We must guard against the idea that competition is a bad thing. If properly embraced, it is not. Rather, it teaches us many life-long values. Importantly, it teaches us that winning isn’t everything and that we don’t always win. It also teaches us how to be a good and gracious winner.

Some in our society abhor the idea of competition, believing that it can be destructive to people’s self-esteem. But that need not, nor should not, be the case. Leaving the centre court at Wimbledon as women’s champion, Ash Barty would have read the inscription of Rudyard Kipling, ‘if you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same’.

Kipling’s verse is refreshing and insightful, making abundantly clear the nature and value of competition. The pursuit of excellence is decried by some as elitism, and for others it evokes a fear of failure. We should not be paralysed by prejudices or fears, however.

Like all Olympiads, the Tokyo games highlights both the appeal and value of Citius, Altius, Fortius. Through their example, the athletes remind us that the pursuit of excellence ultimately involves the giving of one’s best”.

Nicholas Odgers (Year 12), Treacy House Captain, also gave us an Olympic story of encouragement and hope in last week’s Vortex.  If you haven’t read Nicholas’ article yet I would urge you to do so. https://sec.act.edu.au/outsider-to-olympic-champion/.  Also in last week’s Vortex, Mr Trent Masters, our Head of Mulrooney House, also gave us an insight to the spirit of the Olympics and how this can be applied to school life.  This article can be found here: https://sec.act.edu.au/lessons-from-the-olympics/

I would also urge all members of the St Edmund’s community to read the latest edition of The Pelican if you have not already done so.  The Pelican is our alumni magazine, highlighting the stories of old boys of the College as well as other members of our parent community. There are some wonderful stories in The Pelican.  I would like to thank Mrs Margaret Maher, our Assistant Principal ICT and Innovation, for producing the last edition of The Pelican.  This can be found here (best to read it on a desktop or laptop) https://sec.act.edu.au/pelican/pelican-semester-1-2021/

I have started some preliminary discussions with our uniform suppliers about another level of warmth during our winter season.  I strongly feel that for our students, a blazer and jumper for high school students or jacket and jumper for junior school students is just not warm enough on those mornings when we are looking at very low, single digit temperatures. The idea would be to have an optional puffer-type jacket that would be worn over the blazer or junior jacket.  I already have a small group for students involved in exploring this idea and I would also like a small group of parents involved in an advisory capacity.  If you are interested in being a part of this informal parent advisory team, would you please let me know by emailing me at principal@stedmunds.act.edu.au.  Please note any meetings to explore these ideas are more than likely to be held during the school day so students can attend as well.

Gracious Father,
Whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven
to be the true bread which gives life to the world:
Evermore give us this bread,
that He may live in us, and we in Him;
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
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 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,

It is wonderful to be back after a relaxing break of four weeks (six weeks including the school holidays). My wife and I were very fortunate in being able to enjoy a driving holiday before the COVID situation worsened in NSW and Victoria.  This was my very first driving holiday and I must admit I enjoyed it greatly.  We travelled down the south coast of NSW to Lakes Entrance in Victoria, with a brief stopover in Melbourne to see the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (we were the lucky few to be chosen for the 50% audience capacity).  We then made our way along the Great Ocean Road, stopping in a number of beautiful small towns (Lorne, Apollo Bay, Port Campbell, Warrnambool). From the Great Ocean Road we travelled inland to Halls Gap in the beautiful Grampians, Daylesford, Echuca then back into NSW to Albury (on the very same day that a lockdown was announced for Victoria).  We were so very blessed to be able to travel during this time just before lockdowns and restrictions, and I will always remember the absolutely stunning sights we came across – the ruggedness of the coast along the Great Ocean Road, the magnificence of the Grampians and the simplistic beauty of the Murray River.  I was also taken aback at the stunning scenery on our way home around the Hume Highway south of Canberra from the Snowy Valley area.  I have never travelled on the Hume south of Canberra and was in awe of the beautiful soft undulating hillsides in this area.  It was a privilege to be able to travel for six weeks and immerse myself in God’s creation, seeing the beauty of our Earth and our country around every corner.

My deepest thanks to Mr Ian Garrity who was Acting Principal during my long service leave for his care, time and attention in ensuring that the College was running smoothly.

I have been welcomed back to Canberra with very cold and wet weather.  Unfortunately this has also caused the postponement of our Heritage Day activities last Saturday.  This is normally a very busy day, especially with a number of our old boys meeting up for their reunions, culminating in the First XV Rugby match against Marist College.  The decision to postpone the activities was certainly not done lightly and was undertaken with a great deal of discernment and in consultation with key parties.  The ACT Government and other schools had already made the decision to close all their fields for weekend sport. It was therefore disappointing to read a small number of negative and spiteful comments on our social media regarding the postponement of activities.  We easily could have gone ahead with the Old Boys Mass and morning tea, but we did not wish to make the event a fragmented, piecemeal event.  We would rather have a whole day of activities which is in keeping with the spirit of the day.  We will inform the College community as soon as possible of the new arrangements and details for the Heritage Day.

There are a number of important events in Term 3 of which the community needs to be aware.  This coming Thursday (29 July) we have our annual Careers Information Night for our older students and their parents. Not only is this event important for students to start exploring their future pathways, but it is also a great showcase for the businesses and programs of our old boys, parent community and local community in general. This is followed by an important Information Evening for Year 10 and parents on Wednesday 11 August, focusing on the important requirements and processes for the transition to Year 11, with individual interviews for students and parents taking place on Monday 23 August. This is an extremely important time for Year 10, and our aim is to be able to meet the needs of all of our students as best we can for their two years of senior schooling. If parents of Year 10 students are planning on enrolling their son in another school for Years 11 & 12, I would strongly urge you to please have a conversation with us first to see if we can tailor your son’s learning to his specific need and desires.

As Mr Garrity mentioned in last week’s Vortex, we will have surveys for our parents, students and staff to complete over the next week or so.  These surveys will provide us with valuable data to use in shaping the next stage of our Strategic Vision 2022 – 2024.  I would urge you to please complete the survey so we have some good, solid information with which to work, ensuring that your views and perceptions have a place as we shape the next few years of the College vision.

It is with much excitement that we recognise the achievements of old boy Lewis Holland (Class of 2010).  Lewis represented the school in Rugby each year during his time here and is now a professional rugby player. Lewis is representing Australia in the Tokyo Olympics in Rugby 7s. He also participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Eddies community sends Lewis and his team our very best wishes.

I have once again written to Chris Steel, Minister for Roads and Active Travel and Andrew Crichton, Director of the School Safety Program, regarding the progress of the consideration of making the area of Canberra Avenue outside of the College a 40 km school zone.  I noted with interest that since my initial request to Minister Steel last year (18 February 2020), the ACT Government has introduced 40 km speed limit in areas around the ACT of high pedestrian and cyclist activity to improve safety for all road users.  The web page detailing this introduction states that “research shows that the introduction of a 40km/h area significantly reduces the risk of death for vulnerable road users. A 10km/h decrease in speed can reduce the risk of death from approximately 80% (50km/h) to 30% (40km/h).” https://www.cityservices.act.gov.au/roads-and-paths/traffic. I find it extremely frustrating that these changes have been made to ensure pedestrian safety, but no consideration has been made to our students crossing a busy road every morning and afternoon.  I will keep you updated of the progress regarding this issue.

I have also been informed by one of our parents about another travel / transport issue which is most frustrating.  Students who stay behind after 3.25 to attend a school-based activity (e.g. sport training) and then catch a bus home are not permitted to use their bus pass and need to pay a fare. I have commenced correspondence with key government authorities regarding this issue as it is most unfair that students who are involved in the co-curricular life of a school are then penalised for this by not being permitted to use their bus pass and being asked to pay for the trip, especially as they have been nowhere else between the end of school and the bus trip home. The parent involved has had a number of communications with key government authorities and I thank this parent for initiating this communication.

Last Sunday (25 July 2021) was designated by Pope Francis as the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. It coincides with the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, grandparents of Jesus, on 26 July. In this inaugural year Pope Francis takes the day’s theme from Jesus own words: “I am with you always” (Matt 28:20). These words, he writes, “are also the words that I, as Bishop of Rome and an elderly person like yourselves, would like to address to you… The whole Church is close to you – to us – and cares about you, [and] loves you…”  The day draws attention to the vital role grandparents and the elderly play in our communities and in the mission of the Church.  I grew up very close to my maternal grandparents Caterina and Paolo, and know what it is like to have a very strong, positive bond to one’s grandparents – it is indeed a very special relationship.  The Pope writes that grandparents and the elderly “… remind us that old age is a gift and that [they are] the link between generations, passing on the experience of life and faith to the young … The prayer of the elderly can protect the world, helping it perhaps more effectively than the frenetic activity of many others.”  St Edmund’s College is grateful for the important contribution grandparents, senior family members and friends provide to our young men.

Also at this time we think of the communities in other states who are enduring a lockdown, especially people and businesses who are struggling financially, and schools and students who are in the midst of extended remote learning. This is not an easy time, and we continue to pray for these communities and in fact all communities across Australia to find their way out of lockdowns and restrictions and start to enjoy the basic freedoms we take for granted.

God of compassion,
Jesus taught us to love our neighbour,
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength …
strength to comfort the fearful, strength to tend the sick,
strength to support our sisters and brothers in lockdown.

Be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through Him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with You in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

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 2, 2021

Dear parents and carers,

I hope that all families had a smooth transition back to school last week and have settled into to good routines. We have been impressed by the attitude that the boys have displayed for the start of semester.

2022-2024 Strategic Directions
The College is about to commence our process of writing our next three-year strategic directions documents. An important component of determining our key priority areas for the next few years is the use of student, parent and carer, and staff feedback. The College has engaged Michael Elphick to facilitate the distribution, collation and analysis of perception surveys for these three groups.

During the next week or so parents and carers should receive an email with a link to the 2021 Parent and Carers Survey. Please take the time to complete this survey when it arrives. Your feedback, as well as feedback from students and staff, will provide crucial data about various aspects of the College, and will assist in determining our priority areas for improvement over the next few years.

2021 NAIDOC ASSEMBLY
The 2021 NAIDOC Assembly held last Friday was a wonderful celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. Students broke open the 2021 NAIDOC Week theme, ‘Heal Country’ and House Captains presented the six spirit guides for our six houses. The spirit guides were a 2020 initiative. Every house is now recognised not only by their house crest, but also by their chosen spirit guide. We are striving to promote the idea of kinship within the houses and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values and customs in the spirit of reconciliation.

We were fortunate to have Ms Pat Anderson give a passionate and informative presentation at the assembly. Ms Anderson is an Alyawarre woman, and St Edmund’s family member, known nationally and internationally as a powerful advocate for the health of Australia’s First Peoples. She was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in 2014 for distinguished service to the Indigenous community as a social justice advocate, particularly through promoting improved health, and educational and protection outcomes for children. Ms Anderson spoke about history and culture, injustices and impacts of the past, as well as our assembly theme, reconciliation and Heal Country.

The St Edmund’s College Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was outlined in the second half of the assembly. The RAP was developed in 2020. Some of the key aims in the College RAP include:

  • To acknowledge and recognise the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • To develop relationships between St Edmund’s and the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, and other community members
  • To create and nurture an environment where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are experienced and valued by all students and members of our school community
  • To provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to celebrate and embrace their heritage.

I would like to thank Ms Ashleigh Kerin and the students involved in preparing and presenting the assembly. The following passage was delivered at the beginning of the assembly by Max Page and Charlie Rigney. It is taken from the following website: https://www.naidoc.org.au/get-involved/2021-theme

So, what is NAIDOC week?
NAIDOC week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year’s theme is Heal Country.  Country is inherent to our identity.

It sustains our lives in every aspect – spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and culturally. It is more than a place.

When we talk about Country it is spoken of like a person. Country is family, kin, law, lore, ceremony, traditions, and language. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples it has been this way since the dawn of time.

Through our languages and songs, we speak to Country; through our ceremonies and traditions we sing to – and celebrate Country – and Country speak to us. Increasingly, we worry about Country.

For generations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been calling for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of our culture and heritage for all Australians. We have continued to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.

We are still waiting for those robust protections.

Healing Country means hearing those pleas to provide greater management, involvement, and empowerment by Indigenous peoples over country.

Healing Country means embracing First Nation’s cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia’s national heritage. That the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders are respected equally to and the cultures and values of all Australians.

Destruction and desecration of our sacred lands or ancient sites – some of the oldest human occupation sites on the planet – is an enormous loss for both our nation and the world.

But to truly heal Country we have more to do.

Our lands will continue to burn from bushfires, droughts will continue to destroy our livelihoods, without using traditional practices that have protected this country for centuries.

For generations, our Elders and communities have advocated, marched and fought for substantive institutional, structural and collaborative reform.

The aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the culmination of generations of consultation and discussions among our nations on a range of issues and grievances.

Healing Country means finally resolving many of the outstanding injustices which impact on the lives of our people.

It must be a fair and equitable resolution.

Fundamental grievances will not vanish. In the European settlement of Australia, there were no treaties, no formal settlements, no compacts. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people therefore did not cede sovereignty to our land. It was taken from us. That will remain a continuing source of dispute.

To Heal Country, we must properly work towards redressing historical injustice.

While we can’t change history, through telling the truth about our nation’s past we certainly can change the way history is viewed.

After 250 years, our children and our future generations deserve better.

For generations we have repeatedly called for just recognition of our right to participate on an equal basis in economic and social terms.

Yet such participation cannot be successful unless, first, there is formal recognition that Indigenous people have been dispossessed and, second, definite, specific steps are taken to redress the grave social and economic disadvantage that followed that dispossession.

Healing Country is more than changing a word in our national anthem – it is about the historical, political, and administrative landscapes adapting to successfully empower and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, nations, and heritage.

We are all looking for significant and lasting change.

We cannot afford to let pass the very real opportunity that now presents itself for reform based on a fundamental change in the relationship Australia has with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Heal Country

 

Ian Garrity
Principal (Acting)
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 3, Week 1, 2021

Welcome to Term 3

It was great to see staff and students return this week following the semester break. I hope that families were able to enjoy the last few weeks without the day to day demands that occur during term time. Hopefully the recent COVID-19 outbreaks did not spoil the holiday time and families were able to get away or relax at home.

Staffing Update
We have had a number of staffing changes for the start of Term 3. We welcome three new members of staff. They are:

  • Ms Brenda Galvin, our new Defence School Mentor,
  • Ms Jessica Willoughby, will be teaching HASS and English, and
  • Mr Rohan Holloway, will be teaching Science.

We also welcome back Ms Frances Sargeant and Mr Tim MacArthur who have returned from leave.

Ms Klara Manenica is away for Semester 2. Mr Trent Masters will be the acting Head of Mulrooney House during this time.

COVID-19 Information
As mentioned above, we are again on alert with regard to COVID-19 and its impact at the College. All students and staff will continue with implementing our COVID-19 procedures and follow advice from local Health authorities. Some of the most important practices include:

  • Maintaining a high standard of hygiene practices including hand washing and sanitising, limiting the sharing of equipment and maintaining safe distances where possible,
  • Students and staff staying at home if they have flu-like symptoms,
  • All visitors to the College using the Check In CBR app,
  • Following density restrictions for events with visitors at the College,
  • Limiting or cancelling excursions to interstate destinations.

All students and parents are required to follow all current Health orders from the ACT and NSW Governments. This is particularly important for any family who have travelled during the recent holiday period. If you have travelled recently, please ensure that you follow the health orders for your circumstances. These can be found at:  Entering or returning to the ACT and NSW Health Orders.

The College is prepared to transition if ACT schools are directed to move to remote learning. Further details of procedures will be sent to parents if this situation arises.

Term 3 Events
Term 3 is again a busy term. Please find details below of some of the key events for the term for noting and your planning include:

  • Friday 16 July – NAIDOC Assembly (11.15am – 12.00pm)
  • Tuesday 20 July – Experience Eddies Day (8.45am – 2.00pm)
  • Saturday 24 July – Heritage Day (see information below)
  • Thursday 29 July – Careers Information Night (6.00pm – 7.30pm)
  • Friday 30 July – Edmums Soiree (6.00pm-9.00pm)
  • Monday 9 August to Wednesday 11 August – Yr 5 Camp
  • Wednesday 11 August – Year 10 Parent Information Evening (6.00pm – 7.30pm)
  • Friday 27 August – Yr 12 AST Preparation Day and Yr 11 Retreat Day
  • Tuesday 31 August and Wednesday 1 September – AST First Sitting (Yr 12)
  • Thursday 2 September – MUFTI Day for HOME / Karinya House
  • Friday 3 September – Father’s Day Mass (9.30am – 11.00am)
  • Friday 3 September – Sleepout for House and HOME (7.00pm – 7.00am)
  • Tuesday 7 September and Wednesday 8 September – Parent Teacher Interviews (from 4.00pm)
  • Thursday 17 September – Yr 12 Formal (6.30pm)

Heritage Day – Saturday 24 June 2021
This event coincides with the Eddies v Marist rugby matches and is an opportunity to reflect on the heritage of the College, as well as a day that old boys are encouraged to attend and reunite. The day will commence with a Mass at 10am in the College Chapel and will be celebrated by old boy Bishop Pat Power. This will be followed by a morning tea at 11am and a tour of the College and an opportunity to watch the rugby. To assist with our COVID-safe planning, old boys and friends are required to register their attendance.  Click here to book your place at the Mass and morning tea 

St Edmund’s College Prayer

Dear Lord,
Grant that we may live each day to the full, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Let us cast away all worries and concerns into your divine care.
All: Christus Lux Mea

Give us strength to confront all challenges that we face with hope and faith.
Let our community seek truth in all that we search for.
All: Christus Lux Mea

Let us stand for others always giving generously without counting the cost.
Blessed Edmund Rice
Pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts forever
Amen

Ian Garrity
Principal (Acting)
Christus Lux Mea