Principal’s Message: Term 2, Week 10, 2024

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

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

Community Praise
Last week I received a lovely email from Toby McNamara, a parent of a female student at Canberra Grammar and an old boy of St Edmund’s (Class of 1987). Toby wrote to both myself and the Principal of Canberra Grammar, affirming and praising the actions of some of our cricketing students in a game played in Term 1. With Toby’s permission I have shared his message with you:

“Dear Dr Garrick and Mr Zavone,

I just wanted to contact you both about a not so recent cricket game between CGS and SEC played on Friday 1 March 2024. I apologise for the delay in sending this email, which I wrote at the time of the game but sadly neglected to send. I still think the essence of the topic is worth sharing with you both.

This particular game was the last of the year for my daughter and her team, the Stage 1 Friday night CGS Renegades. They were playing the SEC Stage 1 Friday White.

This has been my daughter’s, and most of her teammates, first year of cricket. This game typified why sport is such a rewarding microcosm of life. SEC outplayed CGS by a significant margin but the game was played in wonderful spirit. I umpired the game along with two SEC current students and I have to say the sportsmanship of the SEC boys was amazing. My daughter was praised for her bowling my two SEC batters while they were at the crease. To say she got a boost from this is an understatement. There were numerous other examples of the SEC boys displaying great sportsmanship which warmed my heart.

From the CGS perspective half the team were girls, and they were outstanding in everything they did, especially considering it was their first year of cricket and most started the season being only 8 years old. We hope to get a full team of girls for next year’s competition and surely this year has been a great foundation for the years to come.

As a former SEC student and First XI cricketer if you were to tell me 30+ years ago that I would be watching my daughter play for CGS against SEC on Lonergan Oval on an idyllic, balmy Friday afternoon I would have doubted your sanity. That it was a game played in such great spirit made me proud to be associated with both schools.

I hope you can pass on my warm regards to the cricketers and coaches of both these teams for playing sport as it is surely intended to be played.”

How encouraging and heart-warming it was to receive this message, particularly in light of the next article I am sharing with you around the spirituality of sport. The words we use and the actions we take, no matter how small, can have such a significant and lasting impact. I extend my thanks and gratitude to our cricketers for their encouraging behaviour and making such a positive difference to members of the opposing side.

The Spirituality Of Sport
This week I am sharing with you another brief extract from The Australian Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry document entitled “Open the Way to Christ: Fostering a Pastoral Ministry of Sport” (full text found here: https://nce.catholic.au/s/sport)  The document reveals that the sporting field is an opportunity to put Catholic Social Teachings into practice, to consider how we can serve others and work towards building a level playing field for all.  This extract is entitled A Rich Harvest (the conclusion to the document):

“St Irenaeus famously wrote: “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” Sport is a human activity that reflects the beauty, splendour and wonder of God’s creation. It will continue to attract people around the world because there is undoubtedly something inherently good about it. Crowds of people will continue to flock to major sporting events in Australia, from football Grand Finals to the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane, where athletes from around the world compete for the highest sporting prize – an Olympic gold medal. But while athletes and sports enthusiasts look forward to such momentous competitions, people of faith will remain committed to lifelong training in the “spiritual gymnasium,” eagerly striving for the “imperishable crown” of eternal life (1 Corinthians 9:25).

Throughout its long association with sport, the Church has always maintained hope in a renewed focus on sport’s true dignity, value and purpose. With so many involved in sport around the country, there is a wonderful opportunity for people of faith to contribute to this renewal by exemplifying the virtues sport can foster, and in doing so, witnessing to the Gospel and opening the way to Christ. We encourage individuals, families, parishes, and dioceses to prayerfully consider how they can best engage in this vibrant mission field.”

In Loving Memory
We pray for the soul of Janet Lole, the mother of Ms Rachel Rasmussen, Head of Creative Performing Arts, who passed away last week and whose funeral is being celebrated this coming Friday. We keep our prayers with Ms Rasmussen and her family at this time.

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

Co-curricular Review
We are conducting a formal review of our Co-curricular program at St Edmund’s College to ensure it continues to meet the needs of our community. This review will evaluate the range of activities on offer, student participation, financial aspects, staff demands, as well as the benefits to students, staff, and the wider community. We will also examine the effectiveness of the program’s management and structure, and compare it with similar schools. Students and parents will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the program through surveys and forums. Your feedback will play a crucial role in helping us enhance the program’s effectiveness, efficiency, and inclusivity. More information about how you can participate in this review will be sent out at the start next term.

Deputy Principal
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Margaret Maher, our Acting Deputy Principal, for her marvellous work over the past 12 weeks. It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside Ms Maher and being enthused by her energy and insights. We welcome back Mr Ian Garrity from long service leave as he recommences with us at the beginning of Term 3.

Mid-year Academic Reports
By this time parents should have received or will shortly receive mid-year academic reports for students. These reports provide a snapshot of a student academic performance midway through the year, helping students, parents, and teachers understand how well students are progressing toward their 2024 academic goals. Identifying academic or behavioural issues at this time allows for timely intervention, with teachers and parents working together to provide the necessary support. Mid-year reports help students set or adjust their academic goals for the rest of the year. They provide a clear picture of strengths and areas for improvement, motivating students to focus on specific subjects or skills and working to strengthen weaknesses or consolidate strengths.

I encourage parents to engage in a meaningful, robust discussion with their sons about academic progress, challenges, plans for improvement and directions for Semester Two.

Holiday Message
Our students have already commenced their holiday break as this Vortex edition is published. We have had a wonderful Semester One.  I hope all our students have an enjoyable mid-year break and make the most of the time given to them to relax and re-energise.

Prayer for the holidays
Loving God,
At the end of Semester One
we thank you for times of refreshment and opportunities to have a holiday,
so that we may be renewed in body, soul and spirit.
We thank you for the gift of enjoying different and new experiences.
May our time away from school be one that is filled with fun and the joy of friendship.
May our hearts be filled with happiness and peace and may we laugh often.
We praise you for this special gift,

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

Joe Zavone
Christus Lux Mea