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 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.

Joe Zavone
Christus Lux Mea