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Principal’s Message: Term 2, Week 2, 2024

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

2024 Scriptural Theme: “I have come so may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10)

Term 2 has certainly commenced in a big way.  We have had many significant events mark the commencement of Term 2, and I will try to do them justice in this Vortex report.

On Tuesday 30 April we held our ANZAC Commemorative Assembly. It was an honour to once again welcome the Australian Federation Guard Catafalque Party who graced our gathering with their presence. Additionally, we were incredibly privileged to host Captain Carlie Gibson as our guest speaker. Carlie, who serves as the Military Public Affairs Officer for the Land Combat College at the esteemed Royal Military College – Duntroon, not only brings professional expertise but also a personal connection as a mother to two of our students and a great supporter of the College. During her address, Carlie shared a poignant narrative, highlighting the valour and sacrifice of a young 14 year old who bravely enlisted in World War One. The story deeply resonated with our students, capturing their attention and stirring reflection. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Carlie for generously sharing her time and inspiring us with her words. We also extend our appreciation to the defence families who joined us.  Many thanks to Ms Kylie Rose for organising our ANZAC Day Commemorative Assembly.

On Wednesday 1 April our Performing Arts Faculty organised a special concert for International Jazz Day (a UNESCO initiative). The concert consisted of a performance by our combined St Edmund’s & St Clare’s band, with several local primary schools in the audience. I thank Ms Rachel Rasmussen and Ms Leanne Thomas for their work in organising this wonderful and educational afternoon of jazz music (my favourite was the traditional Spiderman theme – great piece of music!).

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights last week saw the culmination of months of rehearsal in the performance of our school musical, School of Rock. Through the guidance and encouragement of Rachel Rasmussen, Leanne Thomas and Rhys Hekimian, our students were empowered to step out of their comfort zones, embrace their talents, and shine on and off stage. A huge thank you to these teachers as well to all our performers for their hard work and tireless efforts. Many thanks to the small band of lead performers from St Edmund’s for sharing their talents with us – Lachlan Nicholls (Year 12, O’Brien) and Liam Burke (Year 12, O’Brien), Nicholas Isherwood (Year 9, O’Brien), Dale Fisher (Year 8, Haydon), William Childs (Year 5, Mulrooney) and William O’Sullivan (Year 5, Haydon).

We celebrated Founder’s Day on Friday 3 May. This was the feast day of Blessed Edmund Rice, a day on which we not only celebrated the life and times of Edmund Rice and the rich enduring legacy of his charism, but also the day on which we proudly celebrated the 70th anniversary of St Edmund’s College, the oldest continuing Catholic school in Canberra.   The Founder’s Day Mass was indeed a highlight of the year, with our boys conducting themselves in a reverent and appropriate manner.

We were very fortunate to have a large contingent of Christian Brothers attending our Mass, including the Deputy Provincial Leader Br Paul Conn, former Principal Br Bob Wallace, former Deputy Br John Giacon, and former member of staff and old boy Br Bernie Gartland.

We were also fortunate to have attending Dr Michael Slattery, President of EREA and Chair of the Trustees of EREA; Chris Woolley CEO of EREA Colleges Ltd; Dr Liam Smith National Executive Director and Peter Fullagar, our Regional Director of Education and former Principal of St Edmund’s.

I sincerely thank Mel Wilson and Bridget Cusack for organising the Founder’s Day Mass, as well as Margaret Thomas, Rachel Rasmussen and Leanne Thomas for guiding our students in the band and choir.  The boys enjoyed a great afternoon of fun and activities back at school after the Mass, organised by Kylie Rose and Monica Day.

Amongst all of our other special guests, I would like to single out one individual guest.  Mr Damian Borgia was a former member of staff and an old boy (Class of 1992) who now works at Merici College.  I originally worked with Damian at St Patrick’s College for Girls in Campbelltown in Sydney, where Damian and I became good friends.  At that time I was awe struck by Damian’s artistic ability; he is a brilliant artist, specialising in sketching.  I reached out to Damian last year with a special request for our 70th Anniversary.  I explained to Damian that nearly all Edmund Rice schools around the world have the same portraits of Edmund Rice.  I wanted a portrait of Blessed Edmund Rice that was unique to St Edmund’s College for our 70th celebrations, that no other Edmund Rice school anywhere in the world had.  I commissioned Damian with this task.

Damian’s portrait captures the younger spirit of Edmund Rice walking alongside two students of the College, students whose everyday actions are influenced and shaped by the life and character of Edmund Rice.  These students serve as embodiments of the collective spirit of all past, present, and future members of our College community. Radiating from the portrait is a captivating sense of light and optimism, infusing the artwork with a profound sense of beauty and positive energy.  I thank Damian so much for this very special enduring gift he has given our community.  It captures beautifully the vision of our College.  The framed original is hanging is our Reception area.

I felt disheartened by the number of parents who permitted their sons to be absent from school on Friday. I hold a firm belief that the absence of regular lessons on a particular day should not serve as justification for a small group of students to skip school altogether. Founder’s Day stands as the pinnacle of our community calendar, embodying our shared values and fostering a sense of belonging. It is regrettable that some students and parents chose not to partake in this important day, disregarding the essence of community spirit and engagement. Participation in events like Founder’s Day strengthens our bonds within the school community and cultivates a deeper appreciation for our heritage and values. It is vital to uphold the significance of such occasions and embrace them as opportunities for collective celebration and reflection.

At the Founder’s Day Mass we also acknowledged several people in two special groups of awards:

Acknowledgement of Staff Service Awards
We acknowledged the dedication and commitment of our staff members who have been an integral part of our community.  Their unwavering loyalty and hard work have not only contributed to the success of the school bit have also touched countless lives along the way.  Their journey with us represents not just a tenure but a testament to the passion and devotion to the College mission.  I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the following members of staff:

25 years of service: Sue Dowling (finance staff), Bridget Cusack (Junior School), Julia Roche (Junior School)
15 years of service: Tim Bibbens (Assistant Principal Teaching & Learning), Andrew Castrission (High School), Holly Ellem (Junior School), Linda Meulen (High School), Joel Richardson (Head of PHPE)
10 years of service: Alana Beard (High School, Head of House)

Br Matt McKeon Spirit and Service Awards
Mr Matt McKeon was a cherished member of the St Edmund’s College community for over two decades.  He epitomised the spirit and values of our tradition as a Christian Brothers school.  In honour of his legacy, the awards recognise staff, students and alumni who exemplify outstanding dedication to St Edmund’s College and / or the broader community through selfless service.

Staff recipients: Audra Martin (TAS assistant) and Lisa Millar (Head of Diverse Learning)
Student recipient: Jackson Hasler, Year 11
Old Boys recipient: Anthony Fainga’a and Saia Fainga’a (Class of 2004).

War Memorial
Much progress has been made on our War Memorial located at the front of the school. The plaques have undergone restoration or have been replaced entirely, and we are proud to unveil new signage adorning the memorial. This revitalization ensures that our memorial now stands as a fitting tribute to the members of the St Edmund’s community who served their country.

I extend my sincere gratitude to Will Collett, one of our parents, for spearheading and overseeing this endeavour. Will has also orchestrated the involvement of volunteers from Disaster Relief Australia, whose invaluable assistance has been instrumental in this undertaking.  The culmination of this work will be marked by a special blessing ceremony conducted by our chaplain, Fr. Chris Eaton, on Wednesday 8 May.

Father Son Weekend
In amongst all the other activities and events throughout last week, the College held a Father & Son Weekend. These weekends provide dedicated time away from daily distractions, allowing participants to focus on each other and build trust and understanding. Through shared activities and experiences, fathers serve as role models, imparting important values and life skills to their sons. Additionally, these weekends create opportunities for open communication, emotional support and positive influence, all of which contribute to healthy development of the father-son relationship, fostering a sense of community among families and strengthening the school’s social fabric. My thanks to David Kelly (Head of Junior School) for facilitating this important event.

Uniform
A reminder for all high school students that during Terms 2 and 3, it is mandatory to have a blazer as part of your daily attire. While the puffer jacket is offered as an optional choice for warmth, the blazer remains a compulsory component of our dress code. Please ensure that the blazer is worn to and from school each day.  Please adhere to the following guideline in terms of layering for warmth: the jumper serves as the first layer, followed by the blazer as the second layer, with the optional puffer jacket as the third layer. It is important to note that the puffer jacket should not be worn independently of the blazer.  The beanie is also an optional item of winter clothing that should be worn outside only.

Any additional items for warmth beyond these specified layers are not considered acceptable parts of the College uniform. As stated to the boys, if an item cannot be bought from the uniform shop, it cannot be worn. A simple message.

2025 Enrolments
If you are aware of families contemplating Eddies for their sons’ education next year, regardless of the year group, I encourage you to direct them to our Enrolments Officer, Ms. Rhiannon Muir, as our places tend to fill quickly (last year, we had waiting lists across several year groups).

Student Drop Off and Pick Up
Parents are not to use the staff carpark (off Canberra Avenue) to drop or collect students before and after school. This is a dangerous place for our students to be moving through and we would like to keep this area for staff only. There is plenty of room around the perimeters of the school for drop off and pick up, especially Barrallier Street, Frome Street, Blaxland Cresent, and Wills Street (not McMillan Crescent).

Afternoon pickups from the front driveway are also problematic with cars blocking McMillan Crescent from Canberra Avenue. Again, I would ask these parents to consider organising your son to wait for you at a suitable place around the perimeter of the school. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe.

Prayer
Loving God, we thank you for the life of Blessed Edmund Rice.
He opened his heart to Christ present in those oppressed by poverty and injustice.
Grant us the courage and compassion of Edmund
as we seek to live lives of love and service.
We ask this through 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 1, Week 10, 2024

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

2024 Scriptural Theme: “I have come so may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10)

Easter Reflection
I trust that the families within the St. Edmund’s community experienced a happy and holy Easter Sunday, and enjoyed the relaxation and leisure of the extended weekend.

It is a common misconception that Easter concludes once Easter Monday fades away. However, the truth couldn’t be more different. Easter holds profound significance in the Catholic faith, extending its season for fifty days, starting from Easter Sunday and culminating on Pentecost Sunday. Throughout this extended period, Catholics worldwide immerse themselves in a time of joy and celebration, deeply rooted in the sacred rhythm of the liturgical calendar. It is a time set aside to commemorate the pivotal moment of Jesus Christ’s resurrection and the subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon believers.

As the central event of the Christian faith, the resurrection of Jesus symbolises hope and new beginnings for believers, as symbolised in the liturgies for Junior School and the high school held last Thursday. It signifies the triumph of good over evil and is a reminder that death is not the end. The resurrection is a powerful symbol of the transformative power of faith and the promise of eternal life.  Moreover, the resurrection of Jesus represents the incredible sacrifice that he made for humanity. By dying on the cross, he paid the price for the sins of all people, and his resurrection offers the promise of salvation and redemption to all who believe in him. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus made it possible for us to be reconciled with God and to live with him for eternity.

As a time of great joy and celebration, Easter is a period of renewed commitment. It is a time to reflect on the incredible love that Jesus has for us and to renew our dedication to follow him. Through Mass attendance, special devotions, and prayer, we can focus on the incredible love that God has for us and deepen our faith in him.

The significance of Easter is immense. It is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and reflect on the incredible sacrifice that he made for us. The resurrection offers us the promise of salvation and redemption, and it symbolises hope and new beginnings. May we always remember the true meaning of Easter and strive to live our lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

2025 Enrolments
Tuesday evening of last week marked our Open Evening, an occasion where we welcomed a multitude of prospective students and parents to explore our school. Witnessing families strolling through the halls, engaging with staff and students, pondering whether St. Edmund’s College is the ideal fit for them next year, filled us with optimism. The increasing interest in our College year after year stands as a testament to the dedicated efforts of our staff and the remarkable spirit of our students.

If you are aware of families contemplating Eddies for their sons’ education next year, regardless of the year group, I encourage you to direct them to our Enrolments Officer, Ms. Rhiannon Muir, as our places tend to fill swiftly (last year, we had waiting lists across several year groups).

A heartfelt thank you extends to Ms. Kylie Rose, as well as our staff and the volunteer students whose contributions ensured the success of Open Evening.

Congratulations
Congratulations to Thomas Wragge (Year 10, Mulrooney) on being selected to represent the ACT as part of the School Sports Australia 18&U team at the Baseball National Championships.

Harmony Day
Tuesday 19 March saw us celebrate Harmony Day (as part of Harmony Week), celebrating and recognising our diversity and bringing together Australians from all different backgrounds.  We had a great number of students dress in traditional costume, with many other students dressed in orange, the symbolic colour of Harmony Week, signifying social communication and meaningful conversations. Of course the highlight of the day was the array of different cultural foods available to our boys. The money raised on Harmony Day is directed to our Term 1 focus on Caritas.

Student Drop Off and Pick Up
Parents are not to use the staff carpark (off Canberra Avenue) to drop or collect students before and after school. This is a dangerous place for our students to be moving through and we would like to keep this area for staff only. There is plenty of room around the perimeters of the school for drop off and pick up, especially Barallier Street, Frome Street, Blaxland Cresent, and Wills Street (not McMillan Crescent).

Afternoon pickups from the front driveway are also problematic with cars blocking McMillan Crescent from Canberra Avenue. Again, I would ask these parents to consider organising your son to wait for you at a suitable place around the perimeter of the school. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe.

Prayer for the Easter Season
Draw us forth, God of all creation.
Draw us forward and away from limited certainty
into the immense world of your love.
Give us the capacity to even for a moment
taste the richness of the feast you give us.
Give us the peace to live with uncertainty,
with questions,
with doubts.
Help us to experience the resurrection anew
with open wonder and an increasing ability
to see you in the people of Easter.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 1, Week 8, 2024

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

2024 Scriptural Theme: “I have come so may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10)

Retirement Announcement
Last week, I shared with our community my intention to retire at the end of this year. This decision was influenced not only by the personal challenges of the past year, including the loss of two immediate family members, but also by the milestone of reaching my 40th year in education, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the College. It really does feel like the right time.

After 40 years of service to Catholic school communities, I feel a great need to explore new avenues of giving back. I have long had a desire to volunteer with community organisations, lending a helping hand to those in need. Regrettably, the demands of a full-time position in education left little room for this pursuit. Now, as I approach retirement, I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to our community in a different capacity. Additionally, it’s undeniable that after 40 years in the education, I am ready for a change of pace, seeking renewed purpose and direction (in other words, I am just very tired!).

Over the past seven years, I have collaborated with our staff in nurturing and strengthening our College community. I am proud to say that our efforts have borne fruit, evident in the strong spirit that now permeates St Edmund’s College. Our consistent growth in enrolments reflects the positive direction we’ve embarked upon. As we commence on the preliminary phases of our master plan this year, I am confident in the solid foundation we have laid.

However, as I reflect on the future of St Edmund’s College, I recognise the need for fresh perspectives and renewed energy in leadership. I genuinely believe the time has come for a new Principal to steer our College towards its next chapter of growth and excellence. While I will always remain an ardent advocate for St Edmund’s College, I believe it is paramount to pass its leadership to someone who can leverage our past achievements and propel us towards even greater success with a new set of eyes and a new energy.

I am deeply moved by the outpouring of support and kind words from the members of our community since my retirement announcement. Your messages have touched me profoundly and reinforced my conviction that the Eddies community is truly special and unique. I am grateful for your support throughout my time here, and I am honoured to have been a part of such a remarkable community. Thank you for your continued encouragement and for making this journey so memorable and rewarding. (This is now beginning to sound like a farewell speech! We still have about nine months together and there will be time for appropriate farewells much further down the track. We need to make the most of the time we have left to achieve our goals and strengthen our community further).
EREA Colleges Ltd will soon commence the process of recruitment for the new Principal.

Principal’s Award
It gave me great pleasure at the College assembly on Tuesday 12 March to present a special Principal’s Award to Eddie Brady (Year 10, Mulrooney).  The Principal’s Award is presented to a student, personally chosen by me, who has demonstrated an exceptional level of maturity and leadership, either on one single occasion or on an on-going basis. Eddie has demonstrated exceptional leadership on two separate occasions this year.

The first occasion took place near the beginning of the year and was witnessed by me. Eddie saw two boys in the quad who were in a heated argument with each other, and it looked like the situation was escalating. Before the situation had a chance to escalate to something more serious, Eddie stepped in to separate the two boys and diffuse the tense encounter. The second occasion took place at the high school swimming carnival a few weeks ago. Witnessing a fellow student struggling to exit the pool safely, Eddie wasted absolutely no time in jumping in to assist, ensuring the safety of the other student.

In both instances, Eddie exhibited commendable courage and a proactive approach to helping others, reflecting the values we aim to instil in our students, particularly the ethos of being an “Eddies boy”– young men who step in to right wrongs, to help and serve those in need and to be there for others.  Eddie has demonstrated the strong qualities of being an Eddies boy.
It was with immense pride and honour that I presented the Principal’s Award to Eddie Brady, a Year 10 student who exemplifies leadership, courage, alertness, and compassion.

Congratulations
Congratulations to the Stage 2 Sunday Gold Cricket team on their impressive 4 wicket victory over a spirited Marist team! Completing an undefeated season is a remarkable achievement and speaks volumes about the team’s dedication and skill.
This win was the result of a collective effort from every member of the team, showcasing their unity and teamwork on the field. Special recognition goes to the individuals who delivered outstanding performances, contributing to the team’s success.  A big thank you is also owed to Coach Eamon O’Donoghue for his guidance, support, and energy throughout the season.
Well done to the boys for their exceptional achievement, and may this victory serve as a memorable highlight in their cricketing journey.

Edmums
Our Edmums event this year is being held on Friday 5 April at Highball Bar (London Circuit, Civic), which is an ideal location to enjoy an aperitif or two. A grazing table will be available for all guests, consisting of cheeses, cured meats, pickles, dips, fresh fruits, and sweets. Additionally, guests will be greeted with a Martini Prosecco upon their arrival. Our annual Edmums event is always very attended so I wold suggest you get in early to book your ticket.  Tickets can be purchased here  by clicking on this link.

2025 Enrolments
I cannot believe we have already commenced interviews for 2025 enrolments.  If you are considering enrolling your son in the College or are aware of a family who may be considering this, I would encourage you to get in early and complete the enrolment procedure. Our enrolments are increasing every year, and last year we had a waiting list for some year groups (which is a great problem to have, but certainly inconvenient for families involved).  Please contact our Enrolments Officer as soon as possible.

Experience Eddies Day is on Monday 25 March and Open Evening is Tuesday 26 March (4.30pm – 7.00pm). These are great events for those considering to enrol in 2025 to come along and experience the school up close.

Student Drop Off and Pick Up

Parents are not to use the staff carpark (off Canberra Avenue) to drop or collect students before and after school. This is a dangerous place for our students to be moving through and we would like to keep this area for staff only. There is plenty of room around the perimeters of the school for drop off and pick up, especially Barallier Street, Frome Street, Blaxland Cresent, and Wills Street (not McMillan Crescent).
Afternoon pickups from the front driveway are also problematic with cars blocking McMillan Crescent from Canberra Avenue. Again, I would ask these parents to consider organising your son to wait for you at a suitable place around the perimeter of the school. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe.

Reflection on the Fifth Sunday of Lent

I would like to share with you a lovely reflection on the fifth Sunday of Lent by Sr Mary M. McGlone, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

“When I was 4, I told my mother that I was running away and would never come back. She replied that any child of hers who ran away and never came back would receive a punishment she/he would never forget. Well, that was enough for me! (Logic was not my strong suit at that age.) At the same time, her dealings with us made it obvious that no child of hers could quash her motherly love — no matter what we did.

(In the first reading of last Sunday), Jeremiah gives us an image of a motherly God who wants nothing to do with punishment. When the people break their covenant with the God who freed them, what does God do? God turns to them to offer a better deal than they had known before. God had brought them out of Egypt; when they were unfaithful, God said, “I will make a new covenant with you. This covenant will join us heart to heart. It will affect you so deeply that our mutual love will teach the world all they need to know about me.”

Ours is a God who gambles on love — over and over again.

In the Gospel, Jesus explains the same dynamic in relation to his life and mission. Jesus revealed that, as God’s representative, he would prove the boundless power of love through vulnerability, becoming like a seed that falls to the ground and dies to produce fruit.

The most Godly thing about Jesus’ vulnerability was that, unlike our own weakness and limitations, it was freely chosen (John 10:18). The most amazing thing about it was that it revealed the true character of God as a divine lover who constantly tries to woo us beyond our broken covenants and our attempts to fashion the divine in our own image.

From Jesus, we learn that divine power is the most subversive force in all of creation. Rather than crush opponents, God’s power undermines evil and the violence it perpetrates. As Mahatma Gandhi explained, “Love is the strongest force the world possesses, yet it is the humblest imaginable.”

Ultimately, the greatest leap of faith Christians are invited to take is to believe in this entirely counterintuitive and countercultural idea that the forces of humility, generous love, and tender, nonviolent creativity are the instruments of world change. This is Jesus’ message. He taught that falling into the ground and dying lead to ousting the ruler of this world.

Christ’s ongoing offer is to draw everything to himself. To believe that is to have faith that when the forces of evil unleash their worst, they ultimately expose themselves impotent against love.

As we draw near Holy Week, our liturgy invites us to reassess the creed we really live by.

Do we look to Christ to be delivered from punishment or harm? If so, what does the cross tell us about that? Are we willing to gamble everything on the power of love? To the extent that we choose the latter, we are on our way to being drawn into the very heart of a motherly God”.

Prayer for the Fifth Sunday of Lent
Loving God,
it is so hard to love the world sometimes
and to love it the way Jesus did seems impossible.
Help us to be inspired by His love and
guided by His example.
Most of all, we need to accept that we cannot do it alone,
and that trying is an arrogance of self-centeredness.
We need you, dear God, to give us support in this journey.
Show us how to unlock our hearts
so that we are less selfish.
Let us be less fearful of the pain and darkness
that will be transformed by You into Easter joy.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 1, Week 6, 2024

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

2024 Scriptural Theme: “I have come so may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10)

Camps and Retreats
I had the great pleasure last week of spending some time with our Year 12 students on their retreat in Jindabyne. I was deeply encouraged by our students in the way they engaged with the activities.  The theme of the retreat was “thrive” – a highly relevant theme for our students at this very important time in their last year of secondary schooling. The activities presented to students asked then to reflect on important influences, milestones and pathways in their lives, the choices they have made or will make in the future and what informs these choices in terms of connections and relationships. My thanks to our Assistant Principal (Mission and Identity) Mrs Carmela Wilson for facilitating the retreat, and I also thank the staff attending for giving of their time and experience – Ms Anna Blore, Ms Monica Day, Ms Caroline Devlin, Mr Joachim Fatiaki, Ms Klara Manenica, Mr Trent Masters and our College Chaplain, Fr Chris Eaton.

Year 6 students participated in their camp on Monday 19 to Wednesday 21 February.  They enjoyed the camp at Tuross Head and engaged with the outdoor activities with great enthusiasm and vigour! Many thanks to Mr David Kelly (Head of Junior school) for facilitating the camp and to our staff for being with our boys and allowing them to have such a great opportunity, Mr Denzil Fox, Mrs Lisa Millar, Mr Martin O’Rourke and Mr Joseph Sidorko.

Acting Deputy Principal
Our Deputy Principal, Mr Ian Garrity, is taking some well-deserved leave soon.  Edmund Rice Education Australia has appointed Ms Margaret Maher as the Acting Deputy Principal during Mr Garrity’s absence (from April 2 to July 5).

High Achievers Assembly
At a special assembly held this Wednesday, we had the pleasure of welcoming back several of our top-performing students from the Class of 2023 to honour and applaud their remarkable accomplishments, particularly their impressive ATAR results and vocational success. Amidst the many activities throughout the year at the College, it is essential to remember that our primary focus always lies in learning and teaching, areas in which our high achievers have truly shone. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the following outstanding students from the Class of 2023, whom we recognised during this week’s assembly: Lachlan Vearing (Dux), Toby Francis (second ATAR), Tristan Borghouts (third ATAR), Jacob MacDonald, Sam Skvorc, Dylan Kolum, Tom Farrell, Joseph McBride, Roy Kuchel, Deveraux Tapelu, Charlie Sneddon, Ryan Goldsmid, Damian Jelfs-Smith, Aaron Ciuffetelli.

Swimming Carnivals
Thanks to the staff involved in organising the two swimming carnivals last Friday – Mr Denzil Fox (Junior School carnival) and Mr Joel Richardson (High School carnival).  The weather was perfect for a day of good competition and fun house events.  The boys were in very good spirits throughout the day and contributed to a great day all round.

Congratulations
Isaac Mitchell (Year 9, Clancy) recently entered three of his creations in the Lego Competition at the Royal Canberra Show. He came away with three first places along with Student Champion and Overall Lego Champion for his made-your-own creation piece. Congratulations to Isaac for this wonderful achievement, highlighting his creativity and innovation.

Musical
Rehearsals are well underway for this year’s school musical, House of Rock, in collaboration with Canberra Girls Grammar, Merici College and St Clare’s College. Please keep an eye out for details regarding the musical (with performances in early May) as tickets are sure to sell quickly.

Edmums
Our Edmums event this year is being held on Friday 5 April at Highball Bar (London Circuit, Civic), which is an ideal location to enjoy an aperitif or two. A grazing table will be available for all guests, consisting of cheeses, cured meats, pickles, dips, fresh fruits, and sweets. Additionally, guests will be greeted with a Martini Prosecco upon their arrival. Our annual Edmums event is always very attended so I wold suggest you get in early to book your ticket.  Tickets can be purchased here  by clicking on this link.

2025 Enrolments
I cannot believe we have already commenced interviews for 2025 enrolments (this tells me we are no longer in the “beginning” of the year!).  If you are considering enrolling your son in the College or are aware of a family who may be considering this, I would encourage you to get in early and complete the enrolment procedure. Our enrolments are increasing every year, and last year we had a waiting list for some year groups (which is a great problem to have, but certainly inconvenient for families involved).  Please contact our Enrolments Officer as soon as possible.

Experience Eddies Day is on Monday 25 March and Open Evening is Tuesday 26 March (4.30pm – 7.00pm). These are great events for those considering to enrol in 2025 to come along and experience the school up close.

Afternoon bus procedures
We have changed our afternoon bus procedures by having students who catch the bus near the St Clare’s lawn to congregate on the lawn itself rather than wait on the footpath.  This has made this area much safer for students and supervising staff. Our students have been complying with this new procedure very well and I thank them for their co-operation.

Student Drop Off and Pick Up
Parents are not to use the staff carpark (off Canberra Avenue) to drop or collect students before and after school. This is a dangerous place for our students to be moving through and we would like to keep this area for staff only. There is plenty of room around the perimeters of the school for drop off and pick up, especially Barallier Street, Frome Street, Blaxland Crescent, and Wills Street (not McMillan Crescent).
Afternoon pickups from the front driveway are also problematic with cars blocking McMillan Crescent from Canberra Avenue. Again, I would ask these parents to consider organising your son to wait for you at a suitable place around the perimeter of the school. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe.

Gospel Reading – Third Sunday of Lent (John 2:13-25)
Last Sunday’s Gospel sees Jesus enter the temple to clear out the corruption that had developed over the decades before. In this story we have a strong reflection on the simplicity of prayer and worship. I would like to share with you a commentary on the Gospel reading (source: https://westhills.org/blog/2022/05/10/john-2-13-25-study-guide-clearing-out-the-temple) which highlights this theme of the simplicity of prayer.
The temple was designed as a place for God’s people to gather to offer sacrifice and praise and to experience his presence. Over the years various outdoor courts were added to allow for more people to gather. The central part of the temple was the Holy of Holies was the place where God manifested his presence to the high priest who would enter once a year on the day of atonement. But various other courtyards were designed for people to gather and pray and offer sacrifice, including the court of the gentiles (as a number of gentiles were also believers, though not Jewish). Since people were travelling from all over the nation to come sacrifice, the law of God made provision for people to buy an animal for sacrifice instead of travelling for weeks with one to the city. Various merchants would set up shop down in the Kidron Valley outside the temple, but over the years these merchants moved closer and closer to the temple area, taking up residence in the court of the gentiles. Instead of being a place where you would hear prayers to Yahweh and people would make sacrifice for their sins, you would instead hear people haggling over sheep and the changing of money and it all took place in a location reserved for the gentiles to gather. To top this off, these merchants would jack up the prices of the animals and skim some money off the top for the money changing. Jesus does not specifically call out these shrewd business practices but he does condemn the taking over of the temple grounds for business. God’s heart for the outsider to worship him is on display here and their injustice towards the gentiles was something that outraged Jesus.

Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is intentional and purposeful. He makes his own whip and the language is forceful saying he “drove” them out. We may cringe at the thought of him making a whip, but this was done to move on the big animals, not to use the whip on people, as that would seem to cross an ethical line that is not fitting with Jesus’ character.
The temple is called a house of prayer for the gentiles and here the merchants and money changers were preventing the gentiles from being in the presence of God and offering prayer to him (in a sign of possible disrespect to the worshipping gentiles as they were not Jewish).
It would have been startling to see this take place. The temple leaders respond to Jesus by asking him what authority he had to clear out the temple. Jesus’ response directs them to the new temple, the new place where the presence of God was found: himself.
Jesus chose this place and time to point to the true and better temple in his body.  He is the place where heaven and earth meet and even though the disciples did not grasp what he said in that moment they would look back and connect the dots of what he said to what would happen on the cross and the empty tomb.
When Jesus came, he eliminated the need for a temple being in a single location. Christians became the temple of God, a house for his Holy Spirit. We have become a meeting place between heaven and earth to bring other people in to commune with God.
During Lent we reflect upon the meaning of this sign for us and for our world. We might take this opportunity to consider the quality of our prayer and worship. In our prayers we seek to deepen our relationship with the person of Christ. In our worship with the community, we gather to experience anew the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus and its significance in our lives. Christ promises to be present with us when we gather for prayer.

Prayer for the Third Sunday of Lent
God of goodness and mercy,
Hear our prayers as we continue this Lenten journey with you.
Let us be honest with ourselves as we look into our heart and soul,
noticing the times we turn away from you.
Guide us as we humbly seek to repent and return to your love.
May humility guide our efforts to be reconciled with you and live forever in your abundant grace. Transform us this Lent, heavenly Father.
Give us the strength to commit ourselves to grow closer to you each day.
Amen.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 1, Week 4, 2024

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

2024 Scriptural Theme: “I have come so may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10)

Thursday 8 February was one of those rare days in a school where all things align beautifully to create meaningful, memorable and successful events. Schools very often talk about their “spirit,” but that spirit is sometimes elusive in the hustle of everyday school life. We experienced that sense of spirit and community in a very tangible and powerful way.

Our beautiful Opening Mass was a very fitting and poignant formal opening to the school year. The Opening Mass plays a crucial role in fostering a sense of community, spiritual grounding, and shared purpose within St Edmund’s College. It contributes to creating a positive and supportive school environment, built upon the core foundation of the College. The emotion surrounding the student leaders’ induction was quite palpable, and the musicians and choir added greatly to the sacredness of the Mass.  Our students performed in an outstanding manner under the direction of our Performing Arts staff. My thanks to Fr Chris Eaton for celebrating the Mass with us. The Opening Mass served as out first official function to commence our 70th Anniversary celebrations, with every student and member of staff being given a special 70th Anniversary badge to wear for the year.

The Mass was followed by an afternoon of activities, further fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie amongst our boys.

We had our new families join us that afternoon for their welcome function, where they had the opportunity to mingle amongst our staff whilst enjoying some fine hospitality. This proved to be a resounding success, marked by the presence of numerous new families who shared positive feedback about their sons’ transition to the school. My thanks to members of staff who attended this function and made the newest members of our community feel welcome.

The day culminated with our community picnic, another event to mark our 70th Anniversary. This was a great success and surpassed all expectations.  We had no idea how successful this would be as it was the first time we had organised such an event.  We were all pleasantly surprised by the large number of families who attended the picnic.  There was a lovely atmosphere, and the weather was superb for a picnic afternoon/evening. Again, the feeling of community spirit here was very strong and unmistakable. Families and staff enjoyed their time on Owens Oval, listening to the music of our student musicians and partaking of their own picnic supplies or making use of the food vans or barbeque. Hopefully this will become an annual event. My most heartfelt thanks to the families who joined us for this event.

The events of Thursday 8 February served as a testament to the vibrancy, strength, and unwavering support of our community, leaving us all filled with pride.

Congratulations
Congratulations to Harrison Bond (Year 10, Clancy) who performed in the Tamworth Music Country Music Festival, held at the “Country Rocks the Park” show in late January. Well done Harrison – what an opportunity and experience for such a talented young man. Harrison also shone with his vocals during our Opening Mass.

Congratulations to Samuel Mitchell (Year 7, Clancy) on his nomination for a major cake industry award – Rising Star of the Year, in the 2024 Australasian Cake Oscar Awards. This is a great achievement and testament to Samuel’s wonderful ski and talent in this area. Hopefully we will continue to see more great creations from Samuel.

Parent Code of Conduct
St Edmund’s College comprises a wide variety of individuals who work together to educate our students to become confident, well-educated members of the community who are prepared to contribute as citizens, to cooperate with others and act reflectively and ethically. Our shared values and an understanding of acceptable behaviours enable the St Edmund’s College community to work together with respect and appreciation for each other.

At St Edmund’s College we recognise our legal obligation to ensure the ongoing health and safety of students, staff, and families within our community. We encourage parents and carers to support our educational environment that exemplifies our Edmund Rice Tradition, encouraging our students to grow into the fullness of their humanity where they feel welcomed, accepted and valued.

St Edmund’s College fulfils its mission in partnership with parents and carers who are the first educators of their children. We recognise that parents and carers are valuable participants in our community and we want to work in partnership with parents and carers to provide and support the safe and positive education and care of students.

The Parent and Carer Code of Conduct sets out the way the College expects parents and carers to conduct themselves in their interaction with all members of the College community including but not limited to all staff, students, other parents and carers and volunteers.

It is a requirement that all St Edmund’s College families adhere to principles and practices as outlined in the College’s Enrolment Policy and Conditions of Enrolment, as signed by parents.  The Parent And Care Code of Conduct can be found by clicking here.

Lent
We held two very special Ash Wednesday liturgies on Wednesday 14 February (in the Chapel for our Junior School and in the Hall for our high school students). Ash Wednesday is a solemn day for Christians, marking the beginning of a period of reflection, repentance, and spiritual preparation for Easter through practices such as fasting, prayer, and acts of charity. On Ash Wednesday, Christians attend church services where they receive ashes on their foreheads in the shape of a cross. These ashes are typically made by burning palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations. The ashes received on this day serve as a visible symbol of mortality, repentance, and the desire for spiritual renewal. As part of the high school liturgy led by our chaplain Fr Chris Eaton, our senior student leaders distributed the ashes to their peers.

The First Sunday of Lent marks the beginning of the Lenten season in the Christian liturgical calendar. This sacred time of reflection and preparation extends for forty days, leading up to Easter. The Lenten journey is a time of personal and spiritual growth. It provides an opportunity for believers to reflect on their lives, examine their hearts, and make meaningful changes. Through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, individuals are encouraged to confront their weaknesses, seek forgiveness, and develop virtues that bring them closer to God.

The Gospel Reading from last Sunday commences with this paragraph, “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness, and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan.  He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.”

What strikes me in this paragraph is that the Spirit “drove” Jesus out into the wilderness – this was not just a mild suggestion or a gentle encouragement. The word “drove” is quite an active word, with connotations of force. It was important for Jesus to go into the desert for his forty days of reflection and preparation of his ministry. He needed to remove himself from the distractions of daily life, in order to approach his ministry with a strong sense of clarity, vision and purpose.

Every Lent, the same Holy Spirit who drove Jesus into the desert wants to drive us into our own desert in order to renew and deepen our relationship with God. While God is not calling us all physically to go to the desert, he is calling us to remove ourselves from the distractions of life, so that in doing so, we can clearly hear and see him.

One of the central themes of Lent is prayer. Through prayer, believers can connect with God, seek His guidance, and find solace and strength during the Lenten journey. It is a time to listen to His voice, reflect on His teachings, and cultivate a deeper intimacy with Him.

Fasting is another important practice during Lent. By abstaining from certain foods or activities, believers exercise self-discipline and sacrifice. It is an opportunity to deny oneself and create space for God’s presence in their lives.  Fasting is not the simple act of giving up chocolate or coffee or alcohol, and then boasting about this so-called sacrifice to your friends or on social media – it is not abstaining from some foods just for the sake of it. Fasting serves as a reminder of Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the wilderness and helps individuals focus their attention on spiritual matters.

Almsgiving, the act of giving to those in need, is a fundamental aspect of Lent. It reflects God’s love and compassion for others and reminds believers of their call to serve and care for their neighbours. By engaging in acts of charity and generosity, believers embody the spirit of Christ, demonstrating their commitment to selflessness and compassion. Here at St Edmund’s, our focus on almsgiving will be within the context of Caritas Australia, the Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency in Australia. Caritas is committed to working alongside the most vulnerable and addressing the imbalance of power by including the people affected in the decisions impacting their lives.

Embracing the Lenten journey entails committing oneself to these themes and practices that define this sacred season. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving provide a framework for believers to deepen their faith, cultivate discipline, and live out the teachings of Jesus. By embracing these practices, individuals can experience personal transformation, drawing closer to God and becoming vessels of His love and grace.

Prayer for the First Sunday of Lent
Loving God,
You who breathed the spirit of life within me,
kindle within me the light and life you created.
Help me to strengthen my path to you.
Help me to use my life to illuminate your glory
and to serve others
as your Son Jesus did.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 1, Week 2, 2024

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

2024 Scriptural Theme: “I have come so may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10)

Here we are at the commencement of another school year – the 70th year in the history of St Edmund’s College.  We are proudly the longest continuing Catholic school in Canberra, and this year sees our total enrolment figures increase yet again.  It is encouraging and exciting to see more and more families wanting their sons to be a part of our vibrant community, and I thank our current and new families for having us as their school of choice.

The school was abuzz with excitement last Wednesday when our new students arrived for their Orientation Day, and again the following day when we had all our students return.  The energy was palpable.  My sincere hope is for each student to find success and fulfillment in the months ahead.

During the Opening Assembly, I delivered a simple yet crucial message to our students: we are a unified community, strengthened by our diversity. Embracing students from various backgrounds, faiths, abilities, and interests enriches our collective experience. These differences are what makes us strong; we acknowledge and celebrate these differences within our student body.  I emphasised with students that we have an expectation that we treat all people well because we all matter. This might take the form of current students acknowledging our new students and making them feel welcome whether it be in their classroom or during a break; it might also take the form of our older boys looking out for our younger boys and making them feel safe and comfortable.

I also explained to students that communities need structures, otherwise they fall apart.  We have some very important features that work to structure our community – in many cases this structure takes the form of our rules, procedures and expectations; we have the Statement of Eddie’s Pride which guides our students towards the goals and expectations of an Eddies boy; we have our classroom structures where students are expected to allow themselves and other students to learn well and allow their teachers to teach well.  We also have firm expectatins around our appearance and grooming.  These structures are important to a community, providing important boundaries.

The final part of my address to students at the Opening Assembly was about the importance of greeting one another in a positive manner. This is an element which unfortunately is becoming less and less important in the wider community, but which we wish to continue reinforcing within the College.  We have expectations around the way that students greet their teachers and other members of staff. In particular, I reinforced with students that I would like them to greet me with a handshake.  This is more than just saying hello – a handshake implies a significant social contact and connection as well as creating an emotion.  A handshake might be “old school”, but it is a custom that speaks volumes about your character.  I am so pleased to say that in the last few days a great number of our young men have taken up this challenge in a positive way.

2023 Year 12 Results
Our Year 12 Tertiary Pathway students finished their academic year in a very strong manner. The group achieved very strong ATAR scores, which is of course a great testament to their diligence and maturity.  Congratulations to our Dux, Lachlan Vearing, for achieving an ATAR of 99.3. Closely following this strong score was Toby Francis with an ATAR of 99.2, with Tristan Borghouts achieving an ATAR of 98.05. 20% of our ATAR cohort achieved an ATAR above 90, and nearly 40% of our students achieved an ATAR above 80.  We congratulate our 2023 Year 12 students for their significant academic achievement and look forward to celebrating with them at our High Achievers Assembly later this term.

Congratulations
Congratulations to Steve Nealon (Year 11, Haydon House) for his outstanding efforts with the Australian Schoolboys 16s Football team UK tour during the holidays. Steve was the team’s top goal scorer of the tour, even though he was originally a shadow player and called into the side at late notice.  The team defeated the national schoolboys’ teams of England, Wales and Ireland and drew with Northern Ireland and Scotland national youth sides.  This is a great achievement for a team that literally gathered together for the first time a couple of days prior to boarding the plane for their UK trip.

This was a wonderful opportunity for Steve both in terms of his sporting skills and as a life learning opportunity, and we wish him the very best for his exciting future with Football.

Parent Code of Conduct
St Edmund’s College comprises a wide variety of individuals who work together to educate our students to become confident, well-educated members of the community who are prepared to contribute as citizens, to cooperate with others and act reflectively and ethically. Our shared values and an understanding of acceptable behaviours enable the St Edmund’s College community to work together with respect and appreciation for each other.

At St Edmund’s College we recognise our legal obligation to ensure the ongoing health and safety of students, staff, and families within our community. We encourage parents and carers to support our educational environment that exemplifies our Edmund Rice Tradition, encouraging our students to grow into the fullness of their humanity where they feel welcomed, accepted and valued.

St Edmund’s College fulfils its mission in partnership with parents and carers who are the first educators of their children. We recognise that parents and carers are valuable participants in our community and we want to work in partnership with parents and carers to provide and support the safe and positive education and care of students.

The Parent and Carer Code of Conduct sets out the way the College expects parents and carers to conduct themselves in their interaction with all members of the College community including but not limited to all staff, students, other parents and carers and volunteers.

It is a requirement that all St Edmund’s College families adhere to principles and practices as outlined in the College’s Enrolment Policy and Conditions of Enrolment, as signed by parents.  The Parent And Care Code of Conduct can be found by clicking here.

New staff
We welcome the following new members of staff to the St Edmund’s community in 2024:

  • Mr Hamish Chapman – Ministry and Performing Arts assistant
  • Mr Brendan Dahl – HASS teacher
  • Ms Alessia Di Antonio – Italian teacher
  • Ms Carla Fahey – HPE teacher and Assistant Head of Rice House
  • Mr Matthew Giddings – Science teacher
  • Mr Yakabi Seeto – Diverse Learning learning support assistant
  • Mr Joseph Sidorko – Junior School teacher

We also welcome current members of staff who have been appointed to leadership positions:

  • Ms Carmela Wilson – Assistant Principal (Mission and Identity)
  • Mr Oliver Burke – Head of English

Prayer for the Beginning of the School Year
Loving God,
As we begin this new school year,
we thank you for the renewal of the past months and our safe return to this place.
We thank you for the promise of the days ahead and for the blessing of your accompaniment.
Be with us this year.
Open our hearts to become people with and for others; people of Edmund Rice.
Help us to be studious, open to growth, loving and committed to doing justice.
Keep us safe in body and spirit.
Let us be gentle with ourselves while striving to serve your greater glory.
And may we always be a source of support, encouragement and love to others.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Mr Zavone’s Christmas Message

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

As we approach this Christmas season of joy and hope, I want to take a moment to extend my warmest wishes to you all. Christmas is a time of reflection, gratitude, and togetherness – a moment where we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the boundless love He brings into our lives.

At this special time of the year, we remember that St Edmund’s College thrives on the support, dedication, and involvement of each parent and carer. Your continuous encouragement and partnership in nurturing our students academically, spiritually, and emotionally are invaluable.

We have journeyed through a year with moments that tested our resolve and celebrated our triumphs. Such ebbs and flows are inherent in the tapestry of any community or family. What distinguishes a resilient community is how we navigate these highs and lows together. Our community’s resilience lies in our ability to come together at these times, extending unwavering support to each other, whether consciously or unconsciously. This support manifests in various forms for different individuals, yet it is the unifying thread that binds us. I have witnessed this collective strength within our community time and again.

Even as recently as this Monday I was deeply moved by an incredible display of generosity and support as we presented our hampers to the Narrabundah chapter of St. Vincent de Paul. This year, we contributed the largest number of hamper donations to Vinnies, despite the challenging cost of living that affects most of our own families. I extend my sincere thanks to all our students and their families for transforming this year into an exceptionally meaningful one for the numerous families supported by our local Vinnies.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our students, our dedicated staff members, and our broader community, whose collective efforts have fostered an environment of positivity and growth.

As we embark upon 2024, buoyed by increased enrolments and waiting lists in certain year groups, we do so with a renewed sense of purpose and a clear vision. Collaborating closely with our parent community, we strive to nurture young men of strong character and vibrant spirit. Our commitment to forging tailored learning opportunities, hand in hand with our passionate teachers, remains unwavering. Additionally, our engagement with the broader College community through our diverse co-curricular program remains a priority.

The anticipation of commemorating our upcoming anniversary – a remarkable milestone of 70 years as Canberra’s oldest continuing Catholic school – fills us with excitement and pride.

Instead of concluding with a prayer, which is customary in Vortex, I would like to share an excerpt from the writings of Joan Chittister, a revered American Benedictine nun known for her prolific contributions as an author and speaker. I have many of Joan’s works and they hold a special place in my bookcase, serving as a perennial source of inspiration whenever I seek rejuvenation. The passage I am sharing with you is from her book, “Aspects of the Heart: The Many Paths to a Good Life” (Garratt Publishing, 2012).

A Wise Heart.

In the Book of Provers, we are instructed to “get wisdom.” Wisdom, in other words, is not a free gift.  We are told to develop it.  We are, then, required to seek meaning in life, to understand that life is not a series of events.  Life is a series of learnings.  Wisdom is what we are meant to cull from every event in life.

Wisdom is the depth of soul that enables us to understand what must remain in our lives when everything else – the job, the health, the security, the excitement – goes, as all those things someday, inevitably will.  Lin Tang says, ‘The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of the nonessentials.’

It is through what we believe spiritually that carries us through life. It is the well of wisdom from which we are meant to draw.  We must be careful as we seek wisdom not to confuse the spiritual with the religious. Religious rigidity and self-righteousness have destroyed a great deal in life.  Only that which nurtures the truly spiritual in us, the search for the presence of God in every small dimension of life, is a real wisdom.

If, by the time we die, beauty has moved the silent centre of us, love has wracked our hearts, and the word of God has seeped into our heart, we will be as wise as any human being can ever hope to be.”

May this Christmas season fill your hearts with peace, love, and happiness. Let us cherish the precious moments spent with loved ones, spreading kindness, and embracing the spirit of giving. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, may His blessings guide us through the coming year, filling our lives with purpose and grace.

Wishing you and your families a Merry Christmas filled with great blessings and a New Year brimming with love and happiness.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

 

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 8, 2023

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

We celebrated our Year 12 Graduation Day last Friday, and it truly marked a momentous occasion for everyone involved. Throughout this emotional day, we followed a series of special traditions, each one representing a pivotal moment in the lives of our graduating students.

Our first tradition was the Eucharistic Mass held at St Christopher’s Cathedral. This held great significance, symbolising the culmination of years of work and effort by our Year 12 students. Linking the Eucharist to this milestone highlights the deep gratitude for the knowledge gained, the support received, and the transformative journey these students undertook during their time at the College. The Mass was a profound acknowledgment of the spiritual dimension intertwined with the remarkable achievements of our young men, offering prayers and blessings for their futures beyond graduation.

Following the Mass, our Graduation Assembly took place in the College Hall, where each student was individually recognised before the entire College community. A poignant tradition unfolded as each student, upon being presented to the community, rang the bell – a symbolic act marking their final day. It’s a moment that honours their school experiences and signifies the pivotal junction they now face.

The Graduation Dinner, hosted at the Hellenic Club, gathered students, parents, and staff. Here, we not only presented awards recognising outstanding achievements but also upheld the tradition of students transitioning from their old school tie to the old boys’ tie. This shift in tie symbolises their transition from current students to old boys. In a touching display of symbolism and significance, the person who initially helped the students put on their school tie also assists in putting on the old boys’ tie – a very touching symbolic gesture.
I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our Year 12 students for not only completing their final weeks with grace, dignity, and a sprinkle of fun but also for fostering positive engagement with their teachers and peers.
Graduation Day for the Class of 2023 was a day filled with reverence, tradition, and heartfelt moments, marking a poignant conclusion to this chapter of their educational journey.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to Deveraux Tapelu, the 2023 College Captain, and Liuaki ae Lotu Percival, the College Vice-Captain, for their proposal for a new initiative starting next year. Deveraux and Liuaki hold the distinction of being the first students of Pasifika descent to assume significant student leadership roles. This milestone holds immense significance for them and their families. In acknowledgment of their achievement, Deveraux and Liuaki will inaugurate an annual award from 2024. This award aims to recognise and acknowledge a student of Pasifika heritage in Years 9 – 12, recognising characteristics of strong leadership and active community engagement. Their commitment to establishing this award resonates with their belief in the College community’s unwavering support throughout their time here, and it reflects their desire to reciprocate this support. Their decision to give back through this award stands as a remarkable and generous gesture, embodying the spirit of gratitude and fostering a culture of empowerment within the College community.

Special Awards – Class of 2023

Blessed Edmund Rice Award

(significant contribution to the vibrant spirit and positive culture of the College)

Kalen Billiards, Paul Oscar Brown, Scott Dolvin, Thomas Hickey, Callum Hicks, Damian Jelfs-Smith, Lorcan Jennings, Jacob MacDonald, Hayden Martinussen, Joseph McBride, Liuaki ae Lotu Percival, Tobias Saunders, Charlie Sneddon, Rhys Spence, Lachlan Vearing.
The College Award for Vocational Studies

(excellence, commitment and application to vocational studies)

Aaron Ciuffetelli
The Adam Darmody Award

(consistency and role model in Performing Arts)

Connor Moloney
The Sportsman of the Year

(outstanding performance in the student’s chosen sports)

Deveraux Tapelu
The Bishop O’Brien Cup

(outstanding Christian leadership)

Connor Moloney
The Denyse Gibbs Award (achievement, integrity, determination, overcoming adversity)Roy Kuchel
The Oldfield Cup

(outstanding commitment to community service)

Hamish Chapman
The Byrne Award (personal integrity and initiative)Deveraux Tapelu
The Blue and White Award

(selected by Year 12 students to a peer who best represents the qualities of an Eddies boy)

Deveraux Tapelu

Presentation of Awards, Tuesday 5 December
Parents will soon receive details regarding the Presentation Ceremonies for both the Junior School and Years 7 – 11. These significant events are scheduled for Tuesday 5 December.
Separate communication has been distributed for Junior School parents.

The Presentation Ceremony for Years 7 – 11 will commence at 11.30 conclude approximately at 12:30 pm. Following this, there will be no further classes for high school students. Those who remain on campus will have the opportunity to assist staff members with various organisational tasks such as moving and cleaning. High school students who intend to leave school after the Presentation Ceremony must ensure their parents have notified Student Services (studentservices@stedmunds.act.edu.au) by Monday afternoon at the latest.

I eagerly anticipate celebrating the diverse array of academic accomplishments during both Presentation Ceremonies on Tuesday. It promises to be a fitting conclusion to our school year, commemorating the achievements and hard work of our students across all levels.

Pre-Loved Uniforms
As we approach the year-end, I kindly urge parents and carers to consider contributing any school uniform items to our second-hand uniform collection. The generosity of our parents in the past has greatly supported this initiative, and we are continually seeking to replenish our supplies. Please feel free to drop off any pre-loved uniforms at the Reception, ensuring they have been washed and pressed.
While I recognise there are alternative methods for disposing of pre-loved uniforms that may offer financial incentives to parents, I am sincerely grateful to those who choose to donate to us. Your contributions enable us to share these uniforms with families in need. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Prayer for the Graduating Class of 2023
Loving God,
We thank you for all our Year 12 students who have graduated from St Edmund’s College.
You have blessed them during their years in school with wisdom, friendships, and skills.
You continue to challenge them to make this world a better place because of their education.
Help them to look forward to their next steps: continuing in their education or entering the work world.
Give them faith and a sense of purpose in their next steps.
Show them how to serve others in effective ways.
In all their endeavours, instil within them the awareness that fulfilment lies in aligning their actions with your will.
May they carry the assurance of your perpetual presence, knowing that the good work you have initiated within them will be brought to completion.
May they be guided by compassion, inspired by wisdom, and empowered by the spirit of service. Bless them abundantly as they navigate the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 6, 2023

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

We were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Colin Dwyer, who served as the Principal of St Edmund’s College from 1995 to 2004. Colin held the distinction of being the first lay principal in the history of the College. Colin was well known for numerous accomplishments during his time as Principal. He was renowned for his building and renovation program as well as his unwavering commitment to fostering a vibrant liturgical life within the College. In the late 1990’s, Bishop Pat Power once commented that “Mr Dwyer had promoted Blessed Edmund Rice, as a witness to the message of Christ, so well that the College community now knew Edmund better than any other time in its history”.
Colin passed away surrounded by his family. As we bid farewell to a remarkable individual, we fervently pray, “Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”
Colin’s funeral was held at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Forrest, on Monday 30 October, at 1:30pm, attended by a contingent of staff as well as our student leadership team who formed a guard of honour on the steps of the Cathedral.

Memorial Service

We held a profoundly meaningful memorial service at the College last week, dedicated to celebrating and cherishing the life and contributions of Ms. Ashleigh Kerin. The gathering proved to be a poignant and emotional tribute, underscoring the indelible mark left by this exceptional member of our staff on the life of the College’s.
In attendance were not only our College community but also Ashleigh’s parents, her sister and brother-in-law, who graciously joined us for this special commemoration of Ashleigh’s legacy. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Ms. Kylie Rose and Hamish Chapman of Year 12, who eloquently shared their memories and reflections on Ashleigh, encapsulating the essence of her impact in their heartfelt words of remembrance.
The funeral for Ashleigh was held on Monday 13 November.

Year 12 Farewell Rites of Passage Week

We entered last week with a great sense of excitement and anticipation, knowing that our Year 12 students were in their final week of classes. A few years ago we commenced an important tradition at St Edmund’s College during this final week for Year 12 – the “Farewell Rites of Passage Week”.  This was initiated to give our leaving students a sense of meaning and purpose in their last week, with a series of structured farewell activities.  The “Farewell Rites of Passage Week” has always commenced with a breakfast organised by the Old Boys and Friends Association, where Year 12 students are inducted into the Association and are presented with an Old Boys cap.  We always have a farewell lunch with Year 12 students from St Clare’s, signalling the end of that particular relationship with the two cohorts. We have a structured affirmation activity towards the end of the week where Year 12 students bring in a school shirt and have it signed by their peers.  Importantly this is conducted in a liturgical context, signifying the importance of affirmation and friendship.  Also during the week Year 12 students experience their final session with Brent Sanders, who they first met when they were in Year 9.  Brent presents his final session with this group, focusing on the many facets of positive relationships. Brent is one of Australia’s most respected communicators in the field of workplace harassment, bullying and discrimination as well as issues to do with personal safety.

Of course the week always culminates in the House Farewells on Friday, where Year 12 students are fare welled in front of their House groups and parents, with their tutor group teacher fare welling them by saying a few words about each student and presenting them with a small gift.  This is always a highlight of the year as each student is fare welled in a significant and personal manner.

We have packaged all of these activities under the banner of “Farewell Rites of Passage” as each activity covers a different aspect of development and maturing.  The term “rite of passage” was first coined by French anthropologist Arnold Van Gennep.  His work explains how cultures and communities once ritualised and guided the transitions in life from infancy to old age. “For every one of these events (rites of passage) there are ceremonies whose essential purpose is to enable the individual to pass from one defined position to another which is equally well defined.”  Initiation is a human need; it helps us to understand and mark transitions, as well as embrace and live our identities within a living community, but the rites of passage which were once a hallmark of ancient cultures have been lost in our contemporary society. We hope that the “Farewell Rites of Passage Week” we have created here at St Edmund’s goes some way in helping our Year 12 students adjust to the new life upon which they are about to embark, and leave the school in a positive, respectful and meaningful way.

We wish our Year 11 & 12 students the very best for their examinations this week and we look forward to Year 12 Graduation Day events on Friday 24 November.

Pre-Loved Uniforms

As we approach the year-end, I kindly urge parents and carers to consider contributing any school uniform items to our second-hand uniform collection. The generosity of our parents in the past has greatly supported this initiative, and we are continually seeking to replenish our supplies. Please feel free to drop off any pre-loved uniforms at the Reception, ensuring they have been washed and pressed.

While I recognise there are alternative methods for disposing of pre-loved uniforms that may offer financial incentives to parents, I am sincerely grateful to those who choose to donate to us. Your contributions enable us to share these uniforms with families in need. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

 

Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 4, 2023

As many of you already know, last week we experienced the loss of a cherished member of our staff, Ms. Ashleigh Kerin. Ashleigh, who served as our Head of English & Languages, had been on maternity leave this year after welcoming a beautiful daughter in February. This is undoubtedly a challenging time for Ashleigh’s family, her colleagues, and the students whose lives she touched.

Ashleigh’s impact on the St Edmund’s community was profound. During her time here, she made invaluable contributions through her work in Diverse Learning, her dedicated teaching of English and French, her role as a liaison for our Indigenous families, and her leadership as Head of English and Languages. Her work was characterised by a genuine passion, boundless enthusiasm, and a deep love for the students she served. Whether she was instructing entire classes, working with small groups, or assisting individual students, she consistently engaged with them in a positive and authentic manner.

Ashleigh’s influence extended beyond her students to her colleagues. Anyone who had the privilege of working alongside her bore witness to the radiant light she brought into our lives, making us feel comfortable and reassured in her presence.

The loss of a life is an immensely emotional and challenging experience. We have been grateful for the unwavering support from the College’s community of families and the broader educational community in Canberra during this trying time. The Mass offered to Ashleigh’s life last Thursday morning was a moving and meaningful experience.

As we navigate the remainder of the term, the void left in our collective hearts by the absence of our dear friend and colleague Ashleigh is palpable. Both students and staff feel the tremendous impact of her absence, and her memory will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We also hold a special place in our hearts and prayers for Ashleigh’s husband Chris and daughter Eleni at this time.

Please note that the day of Ashleigh’s funeral will be designated a student-free day, to ensure our staff members can attend and pay their respects appropriately.  The funeral date has not yet been determined.  We will inform parents and carers as soon as possible once we learn of the funeral date.

Prayer for Ashleigh Kerin

Loving God,
The death of Ashleigh Kerin is very difficult for us. We can no longer follow as Ashleigh shares your eternal life. We know that your love is far greater and more powerful than ours.
We pray that you give our friend Ashleigh your peace and your joy. Let her memory be a light that shines within each of us as we continue our earthy journey.
We put our pain and sorrow before you, Lord, as we know that you are the source of comfort. We ask this through Jesus, your Son.

Eternal rest grant unto Ashleigh, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea