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Principal’s Message: Term 2, Week 4, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

I find it difficult to believe that we find ourselves nearly at the halfway point of this term. We have had a very strong commencement to the term, and hopefully our boys are able to continue their positive spirits into the second half of the term.

Over the past few weeks we have had a number of events where year groups have come together for purposes of formation.  A number of year groups have already had their retreat days, with Year 12 students having their three day retreat next week in Jindabyne. The retreat experience has a significant place at St Edmund’s College, whether it is a one day experience or three days. Retreats give our students the opportunity to take a step back from their busy lives at school and at home, and reflect on who they are, what they do and where they are going. Most of us probably don’t have the time to sit down every day and meditate on who we’ve been in the past, but retreats give us this opportunity. By reflecting on who we’ve been, we can better understand who God desires us to become.  More importantly, retreats provide the opportunity to put this understanding of who we are and who we aim to be in the context of others.  Retreats are perfect opportunities to build community with people, to connect further with people we know well and to connect with people we may not know well. The relationship with ourselves, with others and with the diversity of our faith is the cornerstone of our retreat program.

Relationships are at the core of last week’s Gospel reading (John 13:31-33A, 34-35). “When Judas had left them, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.’”

On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus used the expression “little children” to lovingly refer to His disciples as he prepared them for his imminent departure.  Jesus’ affection for the disciples is clear in the passage, as he wants to leave the disciples with an invaluable life lesson, hence the new commandment. Jesus’ love for his disciples here is akin to the love that a parent has for their child.

The new commandment is not really new as there are many passages in the Old and New Testament that refer to the love of others. The Old Testament used similar words in the commandment to “love your neighbour as yourself” and Leviticus 19:18 tells us, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord”.  So why does Jesus refer to his words as a new commandment?

In Jesus’ new commandment, the significant words are “as I have loved you.” Christ’s command to love “as I have loved you” is the new commandment.  This depth of love takes us to a whole new way of expressing love for others. The love that Jesus Christ had and continues to have for His followers is infinitely more profound than the love expressed in “you shall love your neighbour as yourself.” When we express love toward others, it should not be just as we love ourselves, but as Christ loves us.  Jesus presents himself as the model and source of love. His is a love without limits, universal, with the power to transform even suffering and negative circumstances into opportunities to love. This is indeed a very powerful concept and can seem almost too overwhelmingly impossible to achieve that some of us would not even try.  But with thought and prayer, followed by appropriate action, it is achievable as Pope Francis reminds us,

“We must ask the Lord to make us correctly understand this law of love. How beautiful it is to love one another as true brothers and sisters. How beautiful! Let’s do something today. We may all have likes and dislikes; many of us are perhaps a little angry with someone; then let us say to the Lord: Lord, I am angry with this or that person; I am praying to you for him or her. To pray for those with whom we are angry is a beautiful step towards that law of love. Shall we take it? Let’s take it today!” (from the Pope’s General Audience, 12 June 2013).

As I was writing this article, I looked up from my desk and immediately saw two things in my office that reflected so clearly the concept of Jesus’ new commandment.  First was a poster of our 2022 Scriptural Theme, “Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works” which gives a wonderfully uplifting message of not only the love that we as individuals need to have for others, but how we can stir each other to that same love.  The second was the framed version of the Statement of Eddies Pride that sits in my office.  It struck me that four of the five statements have to do with relationships with others (with the first statement focusing on the relationship we have with ourselves).  The final four statements in the Statement of Eddies Pride asks the boys to always keep their relationship with others at the forefront of their thoughts and action:

  • “investing in respectful, positive relationships with everyone in my College and wider community.
  • contributing to a constructive learning environment and meeting College expectations
  • honouring our College name, reputation and faculties.
  • reflecting the College motto, Christus Lux Mea, in all that I say and do”.

This is a big ask of our students, but like Jesus’ new commandment, it is not insurmountable.  Our boys can achieve the aspirations in the Statement of Eddies Pride by thinking before they act, by learning from their poor decisions and by always seeing themselves as part of a much wider and important community. It is not impossible.  It may be easy to achieve these on some days and very difficult on other days, but we do not give up and waste the opportunities given to us to love others as Jesus loves others.

Congratulations
On the weekend of 23‑24 April 2022, Henry Martin (Year 8, Haydon) competed in the Australian Little Athletics Championships held at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne. Henry was selected to represent the ACT and competed individually in the 100m and 200m Sprints, 200m Hurdles, Shot Put, and Discus, and was a member of the 4x100m Relay team. Henry achieved a personal best in Shot Put throwing a distance of 9.96m, just missing out on the final round of throws.

Leading up to being selected in the ACT Team, Henry needed to compete in a number of selection events including the Under 14-18s Athletics ACT Championships where he won three silver and one bronze medal. He also competed in the Under 13s Little Athletics ACT Championships where he won three gold and one silver medal, and at that time achieved personal bests in the 200m Sprint, 200m Hurdles, Shot Put and Discus. He currently now ‘dually’ holds the Corroboree Little Athletics Club record for Discus.

Henry commenced competing in athletics with Corroboree Little Athletics Club in 2019 to increase his fitness. He says he never expected to like athletics so much but he truly enjoys it, particularly because he has formed some great friendships outside of school, gets to compete against his friends and challenges him to achieve personal bests in each event over the year.  Henry also enjoys competing as part of the St Edmund’s Athletics Team for the same reasons.

Henry hopes to continue to improve in all events and continue to compete as part of Athletics ACT at national champions. He hopes to one day compete in decathlons with his Athletics Club and also represent St Edmund’s College in future athletics events.

Prayer: Bless us with Love
Bless us with Love, O Merciful God;
that we may Love as you Love!
That we may show patience, tolerance,
kindness, caring and love to all!
Give me knowledge; O giver of Knowledge,
that I may be one with my Universe and Mother Earth!
O Compassionate One, grant compassion unto us;
that we may help all fellow souls in need!
Bless us with your Love O God.
Bless us with your Love.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 2, Week 3, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.”

Hebrews 10:24-25

 

Dear families and friends of the St Edmund’s community,

The events of last week proved to be quite a highlight. We celebrated Founder’s Day last Thursday; an acknowledgement of the life and times of Blessed Edmund Rice.  The day gave us an absolutely glorious weather.  We commenced with Mass at St Christopher’s Cathedral, where our boys were exemplary in the way in which they conducted themselves in such a special sacred space. We were blessed by having the Darmody family involved in the offertory.  The Darmody family has had a long term connection to the College, giving the Mass a strong sense of occasion and history. I give very special thanks to Mr Michael Monagle, Ms Bridget Cusack and Mrs Margaret Thomas for organising such a beautiful liturgy, and to Fr Chris Eaton for celebrating Mass for us.

Our Founder’s Day Mass also provides us with the opportunity to recognise some very special individuals in our community.

Br Matt McKeon is a Christian Brother who was an integral part of our St Edmund’s College community for 20 years. He was the spiritual heart of our Edmund Rice tradition. The Br Matt McKean Faith and Service Awards are named in his honour and are awarded to those staff, students and old boys who have made a significant contribution to St Edmund’s College and the wider community in service to others.  This year we acknowledged the work of the following individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the various communities to which they belong and we celebrated their sense of service.  The profiles of each of these individuals are featured elsewhere in Vortex and can be found on our Facebook page.  We congratulate:

Student Award: Daniel De Bruin, Year 12
Staff Award: Colin Rogers (TAS Assistant)
Old Boy Award: Jim Rice

We also acknowledged the members of staff who have made a strong commitment of time to the Eddies community, with special recognition given to Carlo Sorrentino for 40 years of service.  Congratulations to:

20 years: John Doyle, Leanne Gair
15 years: Linda James, Pam Knight, Margaret Thomas
10 years: Broderick Bellew, Tim MacArthur, Elizabeth Mitchell, Alex Hausen

The rest of the day was spent back at school with the boys engaged in a range of activities, many of which were organised by Year 11 Business students.  I just don’t know how I was talked into having wet sponges thrown at me for money; but it was all in the fun of the day and for a good cause. The day concluded with our senior students participating in the annual tug-o-war competition – always a highlight.  My thanks to Ms Monica Day, Ms Kylie Rose, Ms Rebecca Jarman and Mr Joel Richardson for their hard work in organising a great afternoon. Again I need to thank our boys for engaging in these activities with a strong positive spirit and old fashioned fun!

This was followed by a beautiful Mother’s Day Mass the following day, again celebrated by Fr. Chris Eaton and organised by Ms Bridget Cusack and Mr Michael Monagle.  The theme to this year’s Mother’s Day Mass was “Because of her, I can.” A very touching addition to this year’s event was the poem read by Tadgh Loadsman of Year 12 in recognition of his mother and other mothers who have passed away.  Thank you Tadgh for demonstrating a great sense of emotional courage and creativity. Tadgh’s presentation can be found on our Facebook page.

The events continued throughout the week with a very successful Open Day on Saturday and Experience Eddies Day last Monday.  Both of these events gave us the chance to showcase the school and the many opportunities we provide to our students. I thank Mr Ian Garrity and Mr David Kelly for organising these events and also thanks to our staff who always give so much of their time to make sure these events run smoothly and that we are able to clearly show who we are and what we do.  A very special thanks to three members of our support staff who worked tirelessly to ensure that Open Day was a success – Mrs Marinda Venter, Miss Rhiannon Gardiner and Mrs Mikhala Anderson. I must also acknowledge the exemplary work of our students who always step up when they are needed to conduct tours and give assistance when needed. A great number of our students display a natural sense of leadership and this quality was commented on many times by our guests on Saturday.

The events of the last week again showed what a strong community we are. The Latin definition of community has to do with “public spirit”, and we certainly have a tremendous sense of public spirit here at St Edmund’s. It is heart-warming to know that we have staff and students who value and treasure who we are as a community, and work hard to ensure that this ideal is held high at all times; that our public spirit is always positive, shared and demonstrated clearly.

Congratulations

Last Friday, six students represented the College at the ACT Schools Swimming Championships. Hunter Harlor (Year 12 Treacy), Liam Guthrie (Year 12 Mulrooney), Ethan Guthrie (Year 10 Mulrooney), Lachlan Cheney (Year 8 Mulrooney), Thomas Keilor (Year 8 Rice) and Kyler Peisley (Year 7 Mulrooney) each competed and represented the College admirably.

A huge congratulations to Ethan Guthrie of Year 10, who set 2 new ACT records in the 16 years 50m and 100m Freestyle.

From the event, a number of students qualified for the Australian School Sports Championships. Ethan Guthrie of year 10 qualified for the 50m Freestyle and Breaststroke and the 100m Freestyle, Liam Guthrie and Hunter Harlor of year 12 both qualified for the 50m and 100m Breaststroke and Lachlan Cheney of year 8 qualified in the 200m Backstroke.

Congratulations to all of the students on their achievements and good luck to Ethan, Liam, Hunter and Lachlan at the Australian School Sports Championships.

 Edmund Rice Prayer
O 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.
May we follow his example of faith and generosity.
Grant us the courage and compassion of Blessed 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 2, Week 2, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

The College community celebrates the Feast Day of Blessed Edmund Rice – Founder’s Day on Thursday of this week.  St Edmund’s College Canberra is one of many schools in the family of Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) schools offering a Catholic education in the tradition of Blessed Edmund Rice. EREA schools strive to offer a liberating education, based on a gospel spirituality, within an inclusive community committed to justice and solidarity.  I will share details about our specific celebration of Founder’s Day next week.

It is important at this time to reflect on Edmund Rice and his powerful story.  The Edmund Rice story is one of faith and commitment. Edmund Rice was born at Westcourt, the family tenant farm in Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland, on 1 June 1762. As a young man, he was lucky in that he was educated and then apprenticed to his uncle in Waterford City. When his uncle died he inherited a thriving business in provisioning ships that birthed in Waterford. Edmund married, but was left a widower with a daughter after his wife died in childbirth when he was twenty-five. In Edmund’s grief and the turmoil of these circumstances, his commitment to God developed to the stage where he considered entering religious life.

Having decided that education was the greatest gift he could provide for the great many of those who were under-privileged, Edmund sold his business and began instructing boys of the poor living on the streets of Waterford. In 1802, the project commenced in a stable in the town while a new school was built on the edge of the city closer to where many of the poor reside. He was determined that school will be conducted according to his improvements on the best standards of the day.

The free school, known as Mount Sion, opened in 1803. Edmund and his first couple of helpers were soon caring for two to three hundred students, providing food and clothing as well as an education that would help them in the work places of business and commerce and that would build their prayer life and knowledge of the Bible. Edmund was following the call of the Spirit into a religious life that would impact both Church and society. He and his helpers lived at Mount Sion and this was the beginning of the Christian Brothers.

The Congregation spread as other bishops sent men to join the work and begin schools in other towns. Edmund continued to be involved in Irish nationalism, helping new orders of sisters with finances and investments, works of charity involving orphans and children of alcoholic parents as well as helping slaves to escape and hide. His life was more and more about liberation which begins with ‘welcoming strangers’.

By the time of Edmund’s death in 1844, his work had begun to spread through the English-speaking world.  The message of Edmund for each of us is the reminder to use our gifts for those who are poor and without means, whether that is spiritually, emotionally or financially.

Pope John Paul II beatified Edmund Rice at a ceremony in St. Peter’s Square, Rome, on 6 October 1996. He became known as Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice.   (This brief biography of Blessed Edmund Rice is an adaptation of the original by Br Richard Walsh, http://www.ercrs.com.au/edmund_rice_story.php.)

I feel a strong bond with the charism of Edmund Rice, having now worked in two Edmund Rice schools.  In 2014 I was quite privileged to be part of a pilgrimage to Ireland and visited many sites important to the Edmund Rice story, especially his birthplace in Callan, the first school in Waterford and Edmund’s final resting place in the Chapel at Mount Sion School.

Inspired by the spirit of Edmund so alive in this College today, we as members of the wider Edmund Rice family dedicate ourselves to work together in our continuing mission, to tell the story of Edmund, to share his vision, and to nurture the response in those who are moved by his example.

 MOTHER’S DAY
Our annual Mother’s Day Mass is being held this Friday in the College Hall.  I hope all mothers, grandmothers and significant women in the lives of our boys have a lovely day on Sunday.  I would like to share with you a beautiful reflection I came across last year on the importance of Mother’s Day by Fr Andrew Hamilton as found in Madonna Magazine, “It is easy to be cynical about Mother’s Day. Many older people grew up seeing it as a foreign import, introduced by big businesses to fill their own pockets. That view might gain support from the way in which Mother’s Day is marketed. But it is an important day because it offers an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the lives of people who are often forgotten.

Underlying this neglect is the human reality of self-centredness. We all stand at the centre of our relationships to people and our world. It takes effort and training to see other people as their own centres rather than by reference to ourselves. We see waiters and doctors as just waiters and doctors, not as persons with their own wives or husbands, their own children, their own enthusiasms. In the same way it is also easy to see our mothers only as mothers and not as persons with their personal lives and other connections.

Mother’s Day reminds us of the many and varied shapes of relationships that make up women’s lives. It honours their work in business, in music and other creative fields, their contribution to public life through committees and political allegiances, their sporting interests and all the trying, achieving, relaxing, enjoying and grieving that make each person’s life distinctive.

By definition, of course, the day focuses on women as persons who are mothers. In doing so it also honours all the relationships which through their motherhood shape their lives. These include the relationships to their children as babies, children, adolescents as adults, moving from relationships of dependence to mentoring and to equal friendship, and perhaps towards the end of their lives to accepting care and mentoring from their children.

Associated with these relationships, too, are those made through their children with other mothers in schools and so with their families, and the relationships they form through their workplaces and care of the household budget, and in the local campaigns to demand a more just society. Mother’s Day celebrates the ways in which women grow as persons through their relationships as mothers.

As with all relationships, those of motherhood make their own demands and these demands are primarily of love, moving from the protective and all-embracing love of very young children, to the mentoring love of older children and the freeing love of adolescents. Each stage of love involves sacrifice. The personal sacrifice of the gradual separation of the child into an independent adult, and the sacrifice of other possibilities that they might relinquish when taking on commitments in the home. The maternal love celebrated on Mother’s Day is not automatic or cost-free.

Ultimately, however, the significance of Mother’s Day is not confined to women’s lives as mothers but extends to the persons who are mothers and to the gift they are in themselves and with all their other gifts. It reminds us and pays tribute to the commitments that women make in their professional life, their interests and in their commitments to public life. It invites us to see our mothers’ lives not just in their relationship to ourselves as their children, but in all the wider relationships in which they are the centre.

Mother’s Day is worth celebrating. It may be best celebrated by spending time in exploring the larger world of our mothers from their own perspective” (reproduced with permission from Madonna Magazine, a publication of Jesuit Communications Australia).

In Catholic tradition, the month of May is dedicated to Mary. Chosen by God above all other women, Mary’s example teaches us faith, obedience, humility and most of all, how to love.

“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things.
From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone.
From Mary we learn to love Christ her Son and the Son of God.”
St Pope John Paul II

At the foot of the cross, her heart broke for Jesus, yet she accepted God’s will not only for her Son, but for herself in her new role as mother to us all (John 19:25–27). As we honour our earthly mothers and mother figures, let us honour our heavenly mother as well. Those devoted to Mary are always led to her Son. For her wise counsel tells us, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).

UPCOMING EVENTS
Below is a list of some of the upcoming events at the College.  I would ask that you have a close look at these and respond accordingly. You may like to pass on some of this information to your friends and family who may be considering enrolling their son at the College next year.  You might like to get together with friends for some of the other events, especially the Blue and White Ball.

On Wednesday 1 June we will be holding a special social event for the families who are new to the College this year.  We normally hold this event in about Week 3 of Term 1, but Covid restrictions prevented us from having such an event at the time.  Even though we are well and truly into the year, it is still important for us to welcome our new parents and carers and have them get to know some of our staff in a more informal relaxed setting with food and drink.  This is also a great opportunity for new parents and carers to get to know each other and perhaps start some good friendships. Specific information regarding this event will be released very shortly.

The Blue and White Ball is being held on Friday July 29.  The Ball has always been a highlight of the year, but unfortunately has been postponed for two years in a row due to Covid restrictions.  I am looking forward to this year’s Ball being bigger and better than ever.  Please click on the link below for booking details.  The Blue and White Ball is proudly co-hosted by the Old Boys and Friends Association and the College.

  • Experience Eddies Day (for students in Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 in other schools to experience typical day at St Edmund’s) Monday 9 May click here
  • New Parents Function, Wednesday 1 June (to be advertised shortly) – this is for families new to the College in 2022 (delayed from early Term 1)
  • Blue and White Ball, Friday 29 July click here

PRAYER FOR MOTHER’S DAY
Lord Jesus Christ,
You chose to put yourself, tiny, needy and helpless,
into the nurturing and watchful hands of a human mother.
Since then, every act of mothering,
both physical and spiritual,
in every time and every corner of the world, recollects Mary’s.
Inspired by this example,
we, too, honour our mothers and mother figures today.
Bless these women,
that they may be strengthened as mothers and nurturers.
Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.
Grant that we, their sons and daughters,
honour them always with a spirit of profound respect.
We ask this in your holy name. Amen.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 2, Week 1, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

WELCOME TO TERM 2

I hope that all of our students and families enjoyed a lovely Easter and a safe, happy break.

You may be aware that the Public Health (Mandatory Face Masks) Emergency Direction 2022 (the Public Health Direction) has been amended to remove the requirement for face masks to be worn in indoor spaces at schools. The changes come as the ACT Government continues to review COVID-19 requirements to ensure that restrictions remain proportionate to the risk being managed.

Different school sectors have responded to this change in different ways. Whilst arrangements in ACT public schools will stay the same as they were in Term 1 for at least the first two weeks of Term 2, the changes will come into effect immediately at St Edmund’s College (as is the case with most other Catholic schools), i.e. from Tuesday 26 April.  This only affects students in Years 7 – 12, as Junior School students have not had to wear face masks.

We have made this decision in light of the frustrations and limitations encountered with teaching and learning by the wearing of face masks in the classroom, and with the confidence we have in continuing our strategies to reduce the risk of transmission at the College.

Of course, staff and students are encouraged to continue wearing masks if they choose to do so, particularly if it helps them to feel more protected and if their personal circumstances require the wearing of face masks.

It is important that all members of the College community continue to work hard in implementing strategies to reduce the risk of transmission at the College:

  • Staff and students are not permitted to attend the College if they have COVID symptoms (even if they receive a negative result on a rapid antigen test).
  • Parents are asked to continue reporting student covid cases by informing the College on principal@stedmunds.act.edu.au
  • Physical distancing will continue where possible and appropriate. We will continue to reduce mixing of cohorts by sitting students in year groups when in activities such as Tutor Group and House/College assemblies.
  • Ensuring high standards of personal hygiene (hand washing/sanitising, coughing and sneezing into elbows; appropriate classroom ventilation, etc.)
  • Staff organising events will continue to include COVID-safe strategies in their risk assessments and planning

We will continue to assess the risks involved at the College and may reinstate masks if the need arises, such as having a significant spike in case in our community.

Uniform: A reminder that winter uniform is to be worn during Terms 2 and 3.  For students in Years 7 to 12, this includes wearing the blazer to and from school, as well as during school time up until tutor group and for formal events such as assemblies.  Students who have purchased the College puffer jackets must still wear the blazer under the puffer jacket.

ANZAC DAY
ANZAC Day is a time for all Australians to recognise and acknowledge the more than 1.5 million service men and women who have served our country in all conflicts, wars and peacekeeping operations. It is also a time to remember the more than 102,000 Australians who sacrificed their lives in our country’s name.  ANZAC Day holds a very important part in the history and tradition of St Edmund’s College, being the War Memorial school for all Edmund Rice schools across Australia.

Last Monday we had a group of fine young men represent the College at the Queanbeyan RSL ANZAC Day Ceremony, with Rhys Spence (Year 11, Rice) and Max Riva (Year 6, Rice) laying the wreath on behalf of the College community.  I thank this group of students for being such outstanding ambassadors of the College and such an important event, and I thank Mrs Brenda Galvin (Defence Transition Mentor) and Mr David Kelly (Assistant Principal, Junior School) for supporting our students at this very important occasion.

Today we held our own ANZAC Day commemoration here at the College for the whole school. I will have details about this ceremony in the next edition of Vortex.

UPCOMING EVENTS
Below is a list of some of the upcoming events at the College.  I would ask that you have a close look at these and respond accordingly. You may like to pass on some of this information to your friends and family who may be considering enrolling their son at the College next year.  You might like to get together with friends for some of the other events, especially the Mother’s Day Mass and the Blue and White Ball.

On Wednesday 1 June we will be holding a special social event for the families who are new to the College this year.  We normally hold this event in about Week 3 of Term 1, but covid restrictions prevented us from having such an event at the time.  Even though we are well and truly into the year, it is still important for us to welcome our new parents and carers and have them get to know some of our staff in a more informal relaxed setting with food and drink.  This is also a great opportunity for new parents and carers to get to know each other and perhaps start some good friendships. Specific information regarding this event will be released very shortly.

The Blue and White Ball is being held on Friday July 29.  The Ball has always been a highlight of the year, but unfortunately has been postponed for two years in a row due to covid restrictions.  I am looking forward to this year’s Ball being bigger and better than ever.  Please click on the link below for booking details.  The Blue and White Ball is proudly co-hosted by the Old Boys and Friends Association and the College.

  • Parent Information Evening (for 2023 enrolments), Thursday 3 May click here
  • Open Day, Saturday 7 May click here
  • Founder’s Day, Thursday 5 May (for students and staff only)
  • Mother’s Day Mass, Friday 6 May click here
  • Experience Eddies Day (for students in Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 in other schools to experience typical day at St Edmund’s) Monday 9 May click here
  • New Parents Function, Wednesday 1 June (to be advertised shortly) – this is for families new to the College in 2022 (delayed from early Term 1)
  • Blue and White Ball, Friday 29 July click here

ANZAC Prayer
Gracious and loving God,
the cross of Christ is the sign of your desire for justice and peace for all.
Open our minds to your vision as we remember all who suffered
through Australia and New Zealand’s involvement
in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
Grant all servicepersons who sacrificed health and life for the good of all,
the gift of your deep peace.
May we, who inherit the freedom for which they fought,
become instruments of your peace in our homes, workplaces and world.
We ask this prayer 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, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

We have held a few special events this week as we move towards the end of Term 1.  Students in Years 11 and 12 had a great House Day at the Canberra Olympic Pool in Civic on Wednesday, participating in a day of games and fun events.  The weather was on our side and the boys engaged themselves in a positive manner, building their house spirit and College spirit. Year 7 students had a similar day a few weeks ago.

Thursday saw students come together for Cultural Clothes Day.  Our students were asked to dress in a way that best represents their culture of origin.  We witnessed a vast array of different types of cultural clothing and celebrated the great diversity of backgrounds we have here at St Edmund’s College.  Cultural Clothes Day was part of our fundraising program during Lent for Caritas Australia. You will be able to see how our boys celebrated Cultural Clothes Day on our social media pages.

Congratulations to Ethan Guthrie (Year 10, Mulrooney) who will be attending the 2022 Australian Para and Age Swimming Championships in Adelaide next week.  Ethan has qualified for 50m Free and 100m Freestyle races. On behalf of the College community, I wish Ethan luck at this event and congratulate him for his achievement of being selected for these championships.

Term 2 Uniform
A reminder that all students in Years 7 to 12 must be wearing their blazer throughout our winter season of Terms 2 and 3. The blazer is a compulsory uniform item, not an optional item.  Students in Years 7 – 12 are expected to wear their blazer to and from school.

2023 Enrolment Events
The 2023 Information Evening is being held on Tuesday 3 May 2022, 6pm for prospective enrolments.  This will be hosted by myself and the Assistant Principal of Junior School, Mr. David Kelly. The Information Evening accompanies our Experience Eddies Program and our Open Day by providing important background about the College as well as explaining the structures available to support new parents and students. The evening will include presentations from myself and Mr. David Kelly, other members of the College Leadership Team as well as current parents and students.

We expect that parents and carers who are considering enrolling their son at St Edmund’s will attend this Information Evening.

Prospective parents can register here or by accessing our Facebook or Instagram pages.

Our annual Open Day will be held on Saturday 7 May 2022.   There will be regular tours of the College, allowing guests an opportunity to tour the College accompanied by our students and staff.  If you aware of members of the wider Canberra community who may be thinking about Eddies as an option for their son, I would ask that you direct them to the College website, Facebook page or Instagram page for further information.

Experience Eddies Day will be held on Tuesday 9 May 2022, from 8.45 to 2pm. This is an opportunity for boys in Year 3 and Year 6 to experience Eddies, especially if they are considering enrolling at the College. Students can select from activities designed to provide a taste of courses and experiences at the College.  RSVP closes Friday 29 April 2022.  Registrations for this event can be made here.

Easter Season
This Thursday we came together as a community for our special Easter liturgy.  In these days of the Easter season, it is important to focus on the very core of Easter – the significance of sacrifice.  In his 2021 Easter address, Pope Francis focused on the great sense of joy and positivity that came with the resurrection, following the ultimate sacrifice on Christ dying on the cross.  Pope Francis said that it is the cross that gives us hope and urged the faithful to enter into the mystery of Christ’s death by contemplating the joy that comes from sacrifice.  The Pope explains that the resurrection does not eliminate or wipe out the suffering of Jesus.  After the resurrection Christ still bears the scars of his wounds; the signs of His suffering are still present, “These wounds are the everlasting seal of his love for us. All those who experience a painful trial in body or spirit can find refuge in these wounds and, through them, receive the grace of the hope that does not disappoint… Amid the many hardships we are enduring, let us never forget that we have been healed by the wounds of Christ.  In the light of the Risen Lord, our sufferings are now transfigured. Where there was death, now there is life. Where there was mourning, now there is consolation. In embracing the cross, Jesus bestowed meaning on our sufferings and now we pray that the benefits of that healing will spread throughout the world.”  Pope Francis believes that love and hope come together on the cross of Christ and that that this is a cross everyone must carry at different points in their lives. At this time, we particularly pray for those in Ukraine; those feeling from war and extreme poverty; and those still suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

We have many symbols of sacrifice here at St Edmund’s College.  This of course is of no surprise given the origins of our school in the heritage of the Christian Brothers and their mission.  Our College crest provides us with a rich symbol of sacrifice. Rev. William Saunders, an American priest, author and academic, reminds us that the symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her baby pelicans is rooted in an ancient legend which preceded Christianity. The legend was that in time of famine, the mother pelican would wound herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. Another version of the legend was that the mother fed her dying young with her blood to revive them from death, but in turn lost her own life.  William Saunders writes that given this tradition, one can easily see why the early Christians adapted it to symbolise our Lord, Jesus Christ. “The pelican symbolises Jesus who gave His life for our redemption and the atonement He made through His passion and death. We were dead to sin and have found new life through the sacrifice of Jesus. Moreover, Jesus continues to feed us with His body and blood in the Holy Eucharist.”

The image of the pelican as a symbol of sacrifice can be found in several literary texts.  Dante (1321) in his Divine Comedy refers to Christ as “our Pelican.” John Lyly in his Euphues (1606) wrote, “Pelican who strikes blood out of its own body to do others good.” Shakespeare (1616) in Hamlet wrote, “To his good friend thus wide, I’ll open my arms / And, like the kind, life-rendering pelican / Repast them with my blood.” John Skelton (1529) in his Armorie of Birds, wrote, “Then said the Pelican: When my Birds be slain / With my blood I them revive. Scripture doth record / The same did our Lord / And rose from death to life.” The hymn “Adoro te devote,” written by St. Thomas Aquinas, reads

Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran —
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin

Saunders writes that the image of the pelican is a strong reminder of our Lord, who suffered and died for us to give us eternal life and who nourishes us on our pilgrim way with the Holy Eucharist. May that image move us to show the same charity and self-giving love toward all.

Our College motto, Christus Lux Mea (Christ is My Light) also acknowledges a sense of sacrifice.  It connects to the inspiration that the Christian Brothers originally founded through their devotion to Christ. It is this devotion that originally set Edmund Rice to consider the plight of the young people and to start a school in Ireland to help them face the economic challenges of the day. This original action can now be traced to St Edmund’s College Canberra where our young men and broader community are using Jesus as their example to attempt to live life to the full.

We are a College immersed in and surrounded by Christian symbols of sacrifice. Almost every classroom and office space has a crucifix on the wall, the most essential symbol of sacrifice in Christianity.   It is Jesus’ example that we constantly reflect on and share with our young men as we create an environment for all members our community to celebrate the rich Catholic tradition and to look forward with faith, optimism, compassion and hope for the future.

As this is the last Vortex prior to the holidays, I thank all members of the St Edmund’s community for a wonderful start to the year and wish all our students and their families a safe and happy holiday period.  A blessed and holy Easter to all of you.

Loving God,
the resurrection of Your Son
has given us new life and renewed hope.
Help us to live as new people
in pursuit of the Christian ideal.
Grant us wisdom to know what we must do,
the will to want to do it,
the courage to undertake it,
the perseverance to continue to do it,
and the strength to complete it.
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 9, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

It is with great joy and relief that we are now able to remove some of our Covid restrictions and reinstate some very important routines and events at the College. We are now able to have our cohorts (year groups) together for College assemblies, the first of which we held today.  It was absolutely wonderful to have all of our students back together again as one group, and feel a greater sense of brotherhood and community spirit. We have not had a whole College assembly since mid-last year, and we celebrated this first one with a formal procession of our student leaders and an acknowledgement of our Junior School academic award winners.

We are also able to welcome visitors back to the College.  We are now able to organise a function to welcome our new families to the College, as well as a Mother’s Day event,  Parent / Teacher Meetings (details of all of these will be announced soon), as well as organise a formal ceremony for Founder’s Day early in Term 2 at St Christopher’s Cathedral.  Whilst the rest of our Canberra community has been able to return to relative normality in the last few months, schools have been quite tightly restricted, so we are quite excited by these changes and look forward to more changes to come, bringing life, energy and spirit back to the College. I know we all have our own firm opinions about masks, but on a personal level, I very much look forward to the day where we can remove masks at school and interact with each other in a personal, warm and relational manner.

It was with a great sense of unease that I watched the news reports of the on-stage altercation between two actors at this year’s Academy Awards.  I was hoping that none of our boys had seen these reports, but with the way news is reported nowadays through a myriad of sources, this was very unlikely.  I watched with unease because one of our priorities here at St Edmund’s is to instil in our young men that aggression and violence should never be a reaction to what happens to them.  They have many other choices to ease themselves out of a situation without resorting to anger and aggression.  Yet we have one of the world’s most popular actors and a significant role model to young men deal with his emotions in a violent and aggressive manner, on stage in front of the whole world.  There can never be a justification for this.  I am fully aware that there was a joke made about the appearance of the actor’s wife and that his wife’s appearance is actually due to a medical condition.  This would have been very difficult to hear as a husband.  It is still no excuse for the verbal and physical aggression demonstrated at the awards ceremony.  I would encourage parents to have a serious discussion with their son should they have seen the clip.  It is absolutely vital for us not to condone any form of aggression and explain to our young men the important reasons behind this.

Student Congratulations
We congratulate Henry Martin (Year 8, Haydon) on his major achievement of being selected for the Australian Little Athletics Championships (ALAC) Team.  Henry will be representing the ACT in Melbourne in the second week of the school holidays. Henry will be competing in 100m, 200m, 200m hurdles, shot put and discus. Henry has been competing in Little Athletics every weekend this year. He recently achieved three gold medals and a silver medal, achieving three personal bests at the ACT Championships.  Henry now holds the Corroboree Little Athletics Club record for U13 Discus.

We also congratulate Alex Green (Year 12, Treacy) and Monty Green (Year 9 Treacy) who have been selected for the National Hockey Championships for ACT. Alex will travel to Cairns for U18s, and Monty will travel to Newcastle for U15s. Both boys have been selected as Captains of their respective teams, demonstrating not only their physical skills, but their leadership and maturity as well.  The hockey championships run from April 5 to April 14.

On behalf of the College, we wish Henry, Alex and Monty the very best for their respective endeavours, and we are very proud of their achievements.  They have demonstrated not just physical prowess, but a sense of maturity in developing their skills and talents.

Enrolments
Our enrolment period has now commenced for 2023 enrolments. If you aware of any families who are considering St Edmund’s College for their son, please let them know that our enrolment process has opened.  Enrolment enquiries can be directed to enrolments@stedmunds.act.edu.au  Hopefully we can consolidate and continue the exciting growth that we have experienced over the last three years.

Uniform
Uniform Shop details about winter uniform purchases and fittings have been attached to this edition of Vortex. If you have not done so already, please make sure you have ordered the new optional puffer jacket for the winter season.  I have heard these have been very popular and would not want students to miss out.  The new redesigned beanie is also available to order online.

A reminder that students in Years 7 – 12 must have a blazer during Terms 2 & 3.  This is not optional.  The first level of warmth in winter is the College jumper, then the blazer.  As I stated above, students may have the new puffer jacket as another level of warmth (this is worn over the blazer).  No other jumpers, hoodies, jackets, etc. may be worn to school or at school.

As we move into the winter season for uniforms, I would encourage parents to consider donating any summer uniform items to our second-hand uniform collection.  This second-hand uniform collection is invaluable for our families in need. We do not make any profit from these second-hand uniforms – they are given to our families in need, not sold. Any donations of summer uniform items can be left at Reception.  Thank you so much in anticipation of your kind consideration of helping us out with pre-loved uniforms.

Gospel Reflection
In the Gospel passage last Sunday, we heard the famous parable of the prodigal son.  In the parable, the son wants to live life his way and demands that his father pay him his inheritance.  He soon comes back to his father after squandering his money and living a life in stark opposition to his Jewish religious beliefs.  The father welcomes his son back with open arms.  On the surface, this story is about forgiveness and unconditional love.  There is no argument about that.  But we need to carefully consider the words of the son to his father upon his return, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son”.  The son is repentant – he expresses genuine regret and remorse for his actions.  This is more than just admitting he made a mistake; being repentant brings with it an understanding of one’s wrongdoings and a willingness to change one’s behaviour for the better, to turn away from sin and to turn to God. So whilst we can certainly celebrate the father’s unconditional love, we cannot ignore the focus Jesus puts on repentance.  There is a reciprocal understanding here – the son repents and the father accepts. “Human life is in some way a constant returning to our Father’s house. We return through contrition, through the conversion of heart that means a desire to change, a firm decision to improve our life and which, therefore, is expressed in sacrifice and self‑giving. We return to our Father’s house by means of that sacrament of pardon in which, by confessing our sins, we put on Jesus Christ again and become his brothers and sisters, members of God’s family.” (St Josemaria Escriva)

Prayer for the Fourth Sunday of Lent
Loving God,
in Your unfailing love and goodness,
hear us as we pray to You for the world and for all people.
In this period of Lent,
we come to you aware of our unreadiness for the enormity of the Easter message,
that Christ suffered and died for us and was yet raised in glorious victory.
Grant us healing in our souls Lord,
and in the souls of all who search for meaning in their lives.
In Your blessed name we pray.
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 8, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

Whilst many people celebrated St Patrick’s Day last Thursday (especially of course in Ireland, Australia and USA), another important feast day around this time went relatively unnoticed.  March 19 marks the Feast Day of St Joseph, hence its significance in my life.  Being of Italian background, this day was very important to me as a child, with my family celebrating the feast day with special meals and gifts.  Even to this day, my elderly mother still has a little gift for me on St Joseph’s Day.

I would like to share with you a beautiful reflection on St Joseph from Archbishop Peter Comensoli, the Archbishop of Melbourne.  I came me to know Archbishop Comensoli quite well when he was a Bishop in Sydney, with my wife and I sharing a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with him in 2014, and then remaining friends. Here is his reflection on St Joseph:

“Friends, today we mark the Solemnity of St Joseph – guardian, friend, spouse and father. There are so many words we might place before Joseph, who said nothing – at least nothing recorded in the Scriptures – but we know him to be a steward of God’s gifts, a guardian to God’s family, a husband and father, and in a particularly lovely way, a dreamer, who listened to the dreams that the Lord planted within him and followed them in faith and hope. His trust and acceptance in the face of unlooked-for turns and troubles in life; his deep respect, care and honour for his beloved wife; his love and guardianship of his mysterious son; his faithfulness to the paths of grace and his unpretentious dignity – all these characteristics of St Joseph present to us a man among men and women.

In a most striking way, St Joseph lived a very unassuming life, away from the limelight, and our admiration for him comes to us via the light that his life and actions shone on the lives of those he had taken on. He accepted a wife who had been chosen by Another; he accepted a son not of his own flesh. He chose to live the way of faith, hope and love, all the while remaining in the background to allow the light of others to shine.

As Pope St Paul VI once said of Joseph: ‘St Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies … he is the proof that in order to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of great things – it is enough to have the common, simple and human virtues, but they need to be true and authentic.’

St Joseph, the Great Protector, pray for us and our families!”

2021 Yearbook
Our 2021 Yearbook has been printed and distributed to students and staff.  I must congratulate our Yearbook team of Jodee Marques, Rhiannon Gardiner and Rachel Mynott-Smith on their tremendous work, effort, insight and creativity in chronicling the events of 2021 in such a lively and entertaining manner.  The 2021 Yearbook really works to encapsulate everything we value here at St Edmund’s, especially the great sense of vibrant spirit, strong character and tailored learning. If you aware of any Year 12 students from the class of 2021, please let them know that the Yearbook is now available for collection from Reception.

Enrolments
Our enrolment period has now commenced for 2023 enrolments. If you aware of any families who are considering St Edmund’s College for their son, please let them know that our enrolment process has opened. Enrolment enquiries can be directed to enrolments@stedmunds.act.edu.au.  Hopefully we can consolidate and continue the exciting growth that we have experienced over the last three years.

Uniform
Uniform Shop details about winter uniform purchases and fittings have been attached to this edition of Vortex. If you have not done so already, please make sure you have ordered the new optional puffer jacket for the winter season.  I have heard these have been very popular and would not want students to miss out.  The new redesigned beanie is also available to order online.

A reminder that students in Years 7 – 12 must have a blazer during Terms 2 & 3.  The first level of warmth in winter is the College jumper, then the blazer.  As I stated above, students may have the new puffer jacket as another level of warmth (this is worn over the blazer).  No other jumpers, hoodies, jackets, etc. may be worn to school or at school.

As we move into the winter season for uniforms, I would encourage parents to consider donating any summer uniform items to our second-hand uniform collection.  This second-hand uniform collection is invaluable for our families in need. We do not make any profit from these second-hand uniforms – they are given to our families in need, not sold. Any donations of summer uniform items can be left at Reception.  Thank you so much in anticipation of your kind consideration of helping us out with pre-loved uniforms.

Term 1 Fundraising
Our Term 1 fundraising focus is Caritas Australia, the international aid and development agency of the Australian Catholic Church. Caritas Australia is driven by social justice and the dignity of every person. It works with local communities in Australia and overseas, listening to concerns, assessing needs and working with partners on locally-led development programs. With hope, support and compassion at the core of what Caritas does, it works towards a world where all people may thrive.

Please see Mr. Monagle’s article in this edition of Vortex regarding the creative nature of our fundraising efforts for Caritas this year.  Of course, donations from parents are always gratefully accepted at Reception to add to the pool of funds raised by students. Our work for Caritas Australia during Term 1 ties in beautifully with our scriptural theme for 2022, “Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24-25). It is incumbent on all of us to support each other and motivate each other in continuing to do “good works”, as it is through good works that we actively and tangibly demonstrate our love for others.  As a Catholic community, this is the very core of who we are and how we should be.

Prayer for the Third Week of Lent
Lord, in your thirst for relationship with us,
You reveal a love and longing greater than anything we can ask for or imagine.
Teach us to thirst in the depths of our souls for you, O Lord, and through You,
to thirst for more loving and just relationships with others.
Above all, help us to be advocates for justice and peace in our workplaces
and in the families and communities in which You have planted us.
In Your blessed name we pray.
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 7, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

Last week I underwent my summative review with Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) as my first five-year contract as Principal of St Edmund’s College expires at the end of this year. The review was conducted by the EREA Director of Schools (Eastern Region), a colleague principal from an interstate EREA school and a colleague principal from another local Catholic school.  The panel conducted interviews with a selection of students, parents, staff, old boys and key members of the College community. A survey was also conducted leading up to the interviews with all College staff members. I am pleased to say that the review was very successful and that my contract has been renewed for another five years (up to 2027).  This has been a significant time of personal and professional reflection and perception, focusing on what has been achieved for the good of the College and its members, and what needs to be reinforced and strengthened.  I look forward to continuing to serve the St Edmund’s community and working with all members of our community in the positive growth and development of the College.

Student Expectations
I wrote to you last week about our expectations of students in terms of behaviour and attitude.  As all parents have agreed to these expectations in signing the enrolment form, then these expectations are viewed as shared expectations. We cannot be in a position where College rules, procedures and expectations are treated like a buffet or smorgasbord, with parents and students picking and choosing which rules and expectations they wish to follow and which ones they wish to ignore.  All of our expectations and procedures are relevant to all of our students all of the time.

St Edmund’s College aims to provide effective learning and teaching in partnership with parents and the wider community.  We require all students and parents to support the College with high expectations including:

Demonstrating excellence by attending all classes and being in class at all times. Students are expected to arrive before 8:50am, attend each day, and be on time to each lesson. Irregular attendance, whether it be whole day absence, partial absences, truancy or late arrival to class can all have a significant impact on a student’s learning and achievement.

Demonstrating responsibility by wearing the correct school uniform. Students are expected to wear the correct school uniform including black, leather school shoes.  Students are expected to wear the College PE uniform and supportive sports shoes for PE practical lessons. When out of uniform, at the very least students are expected to bring a signed note from their parent/carer and show this to their Head of House or Junior School teacher at the commencement of the day. Visit our website for details of correct school uniform and visit the uniform shop onsite on Mondays 8.00 am – 12.00 pm; Wednesdays 2.00 pm – 6.00 pm and Fridays 8.00 am – 12.00 pm.

Demonstrating responsibility by keeping mobile phones off / silent and away. Students are expected to turn their phone off or keep it on silent and keep it away all day when in class, in meetings, in informal and formal gatherings and assemblies and when in the building. Students failing to cooperate with this expectation will be asked to hand over their phone and parents notified of the consequences.

Demonstrating responsibility by being organised and prepared for lessons. Students are expected to have their homework diary (Junior School and Years 7 & 8), workbooks, devices and other essential equipment for each and every lesson of learning. Completing homework and assessment tasks is also the responsibility of every student.

Demonstrating respect by maintaining personal space. Students are expected to be mindful of personal space when in class, moving between classes and in the yard. Students must keep their ‘hands-off’ at all times, and games or play fighting that breaks this expectation is not accepted. This unsafe behaviour can cause accidents or lead to more aggressive interactions, which will not be tolerated.

Demonstrating respect by treating each other with dignity and courtesy. Students are expected to be mindful of respecting the dignity of other members of the College community (students, staff and visitors) as well as members of the broader community in how they speak and what they say, whether this is in person or online.

Demonstrating respect by cooperating with staff, school expectations and procedures. Students are expected to know and always demonstrate our core values, speak courteously and with appropriate manners, and be an up-stander by telling peers to stop or walking away when they may not be cooperating.

Demonstrating respect by treating looking after the College facilities. Students are expected to be mindful of respecting the facilities – classrooms, ovals, toilets and change rooms, specialist areas, gardens, etc.  Students also have a responsibility to let College staff know when there is a problem with College facilities.

Added to this is the Statement of Eddies Pride, a series of aspirational statements and goals developed by a group of students two years ago.  This Statement sets the standard of spirit and expectations at the College for which all students should aim and maintain.

Eddies Pride is …

  • Striving to achieve my personal best, showing resilience and engagement.
  • Investing in respectful, positive relationships with everyone in the College and the wider community.
  • Contributing to a constructive learning environment and meeting College expectations.
  • Honouring the College name, reputation and facilities.
  • Reflecting the College motto in all that I do and say.

Students in Years 7 to 10 were clearly reminded of these expectations at assemblies last week.

We value our partnership with you in your son’s education and are supportive of regular communication. For this to be successful, please ensure that Student Services has your current mobile phone number and email address. As we move towards the end of Term One, we are looking forward to a year full of exciting programs and opportunities for our students.

Canberra Avenue School Zone
As you are aware I have been lobbying for the safety of our students in having Canberra Avenue made a 40 km school zone.  This lobbying started in February 2020 (two years ago!) with an email to Chris Steel MLA, Minister for Roads and Active Travel.  At that time the Minister replied that the school has limited frontage on Canberra Avenue and tat Canberra Avenue is an arterial road already zoned at 60 kph.  Unfortunately this reply was made without the Minister seeing the number of students we have crossing the road of a morning and afternoon and the number of cars we have trying to leave our driveway and car park of a morning and afternoon.  The Minister asked me to contact the Director of the School Safety Program, ironically a program advocating that students should consider walking to school.  The last correspondence I received from the Director, School Safety Program was in March 2021 (a year ago), advising me that “We have engaged a consultant to look at Canberra Avenue and consider what improvements can be made to improve safety for pedestrians. The consultant has commenced this piece of work, including an initial site assessment. We are scheduled to catch up with the consultant in the next few weeks to discuss their findings and recommendations for each school”.

I note that the ACT Government did not hesitate to transform Civic into a 40 km zone – an area that already has traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and safety measures in place.  We do not have any traffic control facility along Canberra Avenue.  The closest traffic controls are the traffic lights near Manuka Oval and the traffic lights at Nyrang Street near the 7-Eleven service station. Our students (and the students of St Clare’s) who have decided to do the right thing and walk to school have absolutely nowhere safe to cross Canberra Avenue. I will continue to lobby the ACT Government for some safety measure along Canberra Avenue to ensure safe passage for our students.  In all honesty I cannot believe that this is something I need to fight for, when in NSW any road that is adjacent to a school is zoned a 40 km school zone, whether it be a six-lane highway or small back lane.

Staff Car Park
Parent and carers are asked not to use the staff car park off Canberra Avenue for dropping off or picking up as it poses a risk to students. Parents and carers are asked to use the drive-through at the front of the school or one of the roads surrounding the school (not Canberra Avenue). Thank you for your support with this.

Prayer for the Second Week of Lent
God of Love, God of Peace,
This fractured word cries out in pain
and burns deep into my soul.
It challenges me to make a difference
God of Love, God of Peace,
God of this world,
scarred by grief and tears,
ignorance and fear,
soften hearts of stone and begin with mine
God of Love, God of Peace,
Create within me
a heart for people,
a desire for change and for new beginnings
to start this day.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

Principal’s Message: Term 1, Week 6, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

I have had a number of challenging and difficult conversations with a small number of parents and students over the past few weeks. These conversations are a result of the repeated and continued poor choices made by some students. As a Catholic boys school in the Edmund Rice tradition, our first choice is to focus on the individual student, providing him with an opportunity to redeem his behaviour, perceive the nature of his decisions and for him to demonstrate that he can be a positive member of the St Edmund’s student community. More often than not we provide students with a number of these opportunities. It is when these opportunities are not taken up, and when students repeatedly demonstrate behaviour and attitudes that are not in keeping with the expectations of the College and not displaying the understanding of right and respectful relationships, that we have the difficult conversations which may lead a student to be asked to continue their education at another school where they have the chance to form new relationships in a new environment.

Whilst we work with individual students to assist them in a better understanding of right and respectful relationships with their peers and their teachers, we also need to closely consider the needs of our wider student body. All students at St Edmund’s should feel safe at all times; all of our students and teachers should be in learning environments where their learning is not interrupted or impeded by other students. At times myself and our pastoral team need to make decisions about individual students that take into account the good of our wider student body.

All parents have signed our Enrolment Form with the following terms:
• I/We accept that the College reserves the right to suspend or expel a student for serious or continued breaches of College rules, regulations and / or policies, including conduct which brings into disrepute the good name and reputation of the College.
• I/ We accept the standard the College sets regarding grooming, uniform and personal presentation, whilst at school, travelling to and from school; and whilst wearing the College uniform.
I must stress clearly that just as parents agreed to these terms prior to accepting the offer of enrolment at the College, we will continue to explicitly and actively act on these terms to make sure that we maintain a positive and safe environment for all members of our College community.

Year 7 Social Day
Last Friday our Year 7 students enjoyed a day at Canberra Olympic Pool. We have not been able to hold our annual Year 7 Camp, so a day out at the pool was a great way for Year 7 students to get to know each other in a social and fun context. Mr Joel Richardson organised the activities for the day and he was overwhelmed by the positive attitude and cooperation of our Year 7 students. He was also impressed with our senior school leaders who assisted on the day. I would like to sincerely thank Joel Richardson and his team for their great work on the day, and for providing Year 7 students an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company in the all-important context of forming relationships and friendships. The boys had a wonderful time swimming and playing games and it was such a great opportunity to get to know other boys in their Year Group. It seems that the boys are settling in well to their classes and to the demands of high school learning.

Open Day and 2023 Enrolments
Our enrolments for Year 7 have been growing steadily for the past few years and we look forward to continuing this growth in coming years.

Due to the current covid restrictions placed on schools, we have had to reorganise our 2023 enrolment program. If you know of any families who have an interest in having their son at St Edmund’s next year, please pass on the following dates:
Information Night for prospective enrolments: Tuesday 3 May
Open Day: Saturday 7 May
Further enquiries regarding enrolments for can be made via enrolments@stedmunds.act.edu.au

Strategic Direction and Annual Improvement Plan
The Strategic Direction and Annual Improvement Plan can be found on the College website, https://sec.act.edu.au/about/vision-mission/. The Strategic Direction was originally planned for three years, from 2019 – 2021. As we have not been able to meet physically to work on the next phase of the Strategic Direction, we have decided to extend the current plan for another year. Members of the College Leadership Team, College Advisory Council and representatives from other key groups in the school will meet as soon as possible once restrictions have been lifted to work on the next stage of the Strategic Direction. The Annual Improvement Plan is reviewed regularly, and demonstrates how the Strategic Direction is enabled and developed in a practical manner.

Optional Winter Uniform
A reminder that the new optional winter uniform items (puffer jacket and new style beanie) are now able to be ordered online through our uniform suppliers, Ranier Schoolwear. Images of these were included in last week’s Vortex. Our students had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the items when they were shown some samples last year, so I anticipate that the items will be very popular. I encourage you to go online early and order these items ready for our winter uniform season (beginning Term 2). https://www.ranier.com.au/

Flood Crisis & Prayer
Our hearts go out to the many people affected by the recent flood crisis in NSW and Queensland, and are still being affected by the continuing rain and the clean-up in many areas. Many people have no homes to go back to and children have no schools to attend for a long while. The images and stories from these areas are absolutely heartbreaking, but the way in which people have come together to assist and support each other is a marvel lows example of human resilience and compassion.

Compassionate God, source of all comfort,
We pray for the people whose lives have been devastated by rain and flood.
Bring them comfort, we pray.
Protect the vulnerable.
Strengthen the weak.
Keep at bay the spread of disease.
Have mercy on all those working to rescue the stranded and to feed the hungry.
And may our response to their suffering be generous and bring you praise.
For we ask it in Jesus name,
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 5, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

It is so sad to watch the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine, with so many unsuspecting and innocent people being caught in the middle of another power’s assertion of authority and status. We pray for all Ukrainians that they remain safe during this time and that a sense of logic, understanding and compassion finally overcomes the violent and power hungry “bullies” who would rather have a world of aggression and destruction over peace and understanding.

Late last week I attended the first of the EREA Eastern Region Principals’ gatherings for the year, held at St Pius X College Chatswood in Sydney. It was with a pang of jealousy that I heard my colleagues from schools in NSW celebrate the fact that from last Monday, face masks are no longer to be worn in school and visitors are allowed back on school sites. As you are aware, the ACT Government has lifted many of the mask restrictions but masks remain in place in ACT schools for the time being along with restrictions on visitors.

I must be very honest and admit that I absolutely detest the wearing of masks in the classroom.  The engagement with students is stifled and limited.  As a teacher, I have trouble gauging the level of interest and engagement in the lesson, and I have trouble hearing questions and answers when offered by students.  I find that my own energy levels are quite quickly sapped in having to talk through a mask and I cannot really express my passion and interest for what I am teaching (there is only so much eye wrinkling one can do to express emotion when wearing a mask).  So as I said above, it was with much jealousy that I heard my colleagues express their delight in NSW schools going back to “normal” as of this week. Hopefully, it will be our turn very soon.

I would like to sincerely thank our parents in supporting the College through the latest covid restrictions and expectations. Your focus on testing using the RATs supplied by the ACT Government and adhering closely to the expectations for the follow up procedures when a student has tested positive has been of great assistance in allowing us to communicate clearly with our community and to monitor our numbers.

There is a phrase we sometimes use to indicate how quickly a situation can change.  The phrase is “and just like that”.  I have used that phrase often in the last few weeks.  Unfortunately my sister was given a very concerning health diagnosis a few weeks ago, resulting in many hospital visits in the coming months as well as a regime of medication and treatments. My sister is also my mother’s main carer.  As soon as I heard of my sister’s condition, I made sure that she only had herself to worry about and drove to Sydney to collect mother and bring her back to Canberra.  And just like that, things change.  I now have my 91 year old mother living with me and my wife.  The transition of being the cared for to doing the caring is an odd one indeed, but I know it is one that many of you have also experienced. Caring for an elderly parent comes with much joy, but it is also accompanied by much concern.  Whilst I am not sure what the long term situation looks like, it is lovely having my mother with us. One of my funniest experiences though is buying her first mobile phone (as we do not have a landline at home) and trying to teach her how to use her first mobile phone at 91.  That was a great test of my teaching skills and patience, and I’m still not sure whether it was a successful experience!

Open Day and 2023 Enrolments
Our enrolments for Year 7 have been growing steadily for the past few years and we look forward to continuing this growth in coming years.

Due to the covid restrictions placed on schools, we have had to reorganise our 2023 enrolment program. If you know of any families who have an interest in having their son at St Edmund’s next year, please pass on the following dates:

  • Information Night for prospective enrolments: Tuesday 3 May
  • Open Day: Saturday 7 May
  • Further enquiries regarding enrolments for next year can be made via enrolments@stedmunds.act.edu.au

College Advisory Council News
On behalf of all of our community, I congratulate our Advisory Council Chair, Nichole Overall, on her successful candidacy in the recent Monaro by-election.  Nichole now joins the NSW Parliament and we wish her well in her new and significant position. Council member John Owens has accepted the position of Acting Advisory Council Chair with Lara Kirk as Acting Deputy Chair.  We will formalise the appointment of a substantive Advisory Council Chair once all member positions on the Council have been filled.

Next week we will advertise for two new members of the College Advisory Council.  One of these new members must have a strong financial background or understanding of budgets and must be willing to sit on the College Finance Committee (a subcommittee of the Advisory Council).  The other new member must have either a financial or legal or project management (building) background. These positions will be advertised very shortly by email amongst our College community, but the positions do not need to come from the College community.  If you are aware of anyone who meets the criteria and would like to be serve the College by being on the Advisory Council, please feel free to forward the email to them. A formal selection process will then take place.

Ash Wednesday and Lent
Today is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent. Ashes were distributed today during various student gatherings.   Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice, a spirit that allows us to enter the Lenten season with an appropriate state of mind and state of heart. Often we talk about giving something up for Lent, but this can be quite a superficial thing to do, as it often does not accompany a change in our behaviour and thinking.  Many of us use Lent as a kick-starter for a diet or new exercise regimen – almost like a new year’s resolution.  Using Lent in this way is not appropriate and quite empty.  Lent is much more than this.  Lent is a preparation for Easter leading to the Passion of Christ, so a simple focus on giving up coffee or chocolate or whatever it may be does not prepare us appropriately for this.

Lent is a time to make real sacrifices. We need perhaps to look at giving up our biases and prejudices, or giving up our obsessions and addictions.  Or perhaps we should look at giving up our quick roads to anger or resentment, or giving up our quick judgements.  Whatever we are giving up for Lent, we do it with the aim of becoming more neighbourly, more inclusive and more embracing of those around us, and in doing this, we strengthen our relationship with God and attempt to walk the path of Jesus, in stirring one another to love and good works, as highlighted in our 2022 scriptural theme.

 Gospel Reflection – Luke 6:39-45
“Jesus told his disciples a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye. “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thorn bushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”

It occurred to me how last Sunday’s Gospel passage relates to the many problems we have today with social media.  It is as if Luke had a window to our contemporary life and saw how we are struggling with the many pitfalls and hurtful consequences of social media.  Many people today are so quick to jump on their social media sites and judge others, very often without knowing or understanding the full picture of the situation, very rarely thinking about what they would do if they were in a similar situation and how they would feel to have hurtful and damaging things said about them. Social media seems to attract adults who place themselves on the high moral ground, and try to suggest that they know best, but as Luke asks, have they removed the wooden beam in their own eye before they attempt to remove the splinter from their neighbour’s eye? The hurtful judgement given on social media is often disguised as advice or guidance, but we cannot advise or guide, and we can certainly not judge, until we have looked clearly in the mirror and judged ourselves.  If that judgement comes back perfect, then there is definitely something wrong with the mirror! I would ask our parents to continue to have serious and considered conversations with your sons about the harm that can be done with social media and to work with your sons in dealing with social media in a responsible and mature manner.

Prayer for Peace and Justice in Ukraine
God of peace and justice,
who change the hardened heart
and break the power of violence,
we entrust the people of Ukraine to You.
Protect them in this time of peril;
let them know not death but life,
not slavery but freedom.
You are Father of all,
We are sisters and brothers.
Give us the strength
to live that truth in love,
Choosing peace not war.
Through Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

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

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea