Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 3, 2020

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

Our current Strategic Vision is summarised in the short phrase of “Vibrant Spirit.  Strong Character. Tailored Learning.”  We certainly had some tangible evidence of this statement last week with many of our activities and events, showcasing individual student talents as well as the talents of the student body as a whole.

College Musical

I was thrilled to be in the audience for last Friday evening’s performance of our College musical, Beauty and the Beast. After many years of seeing various school musicals and even being involved in the directing of many myself, I can honestly say without any form of bias that this was the best school musical I have ever seen, with some of the best performances in any school musical I have ever seen.  I sat in the audience in awe and wonder at all the performances, but especially the performances of Leo Marris (Year 12) who played the beast and Lachlan Brayshaw (Year 12) who played Lumiere. Their performances were truly without fault and they captured the entirety of their characters.  It was an absolute joy to watch these two students on stage. Of course the strong performances were followed through with the great team of Gaston and Le Fou played so well by William Owens, Year 11 and Joshua Nicholls, Year 11, along with Brendan O’Sullivan, Year 12 (Maurice) and Adam Murray, Year 12 (Monseiur D’Arque).  We had quite a number of students in the chorus and in the stage crew, and I thank all of our students for the great way in which they entered the spirit of this year’s musical, especially given the fact that for a long while we were not sure if it would proceed. The performing arts have a significant and vital role in any school, but particularly in a boys’ school.  The collaborative process involved in creating art for performance is a powerful experience, and develops emotional and social maturity as well as wide friendships, empathy and tolerance. This process is not dissimilar to that of any team sport, the relationships and sense of achievement and pride which comes from overcoming a challenge is built into every performing arts endeavour.  This can positively affect both personal and academic endeavours.  St Edmund’s College is committed to continuing to deliver a performing arts program for our boys.

My great thanks to the talented Mr Nigel Palfeman (Director, Set Design) and Mrs Margaret Thomas (Musical Director) for their countless hours, inspiration and perspiration.  They were ably supported by a staff team including Mr Adam Buck, Ms Kylie Rose, Mr Jason Moore, Mr Jeremy Taylor, Ms Linda James, Ms Julie Dachs, Ms Danielle Ridgway, Mr James Olney, Mr Jacob Knowles and ex-student Matthew Brown, as well as a number of staff in many other jobs. Thank you also to Mrs Anna Owens, Principal of Canberra Girls Grammar and Mr Brad Cooney, Principal of St Clare’s Catholic College for their co-operation in allowing their talented students to participate in the musical.

Market Day

Last Friday gave us an absolutely beautiful day weather-wise, and our students also gave us a wonderful day with Market Day followed by the Activities Afternoon.  The Market Day is an initiative by our Head of SOSE, Ms Kylie Rose, as a real-life exercise for the students in her Year 9 & 10 World of Money classes. The students were certainly well-engaged in their particular business ventures and managed to give the rest of the school a great lunch break as well. The Activities Afternoon, organised by our Head of PHPE, Mr Joel Richardson, saw all students actively involved in various activities such as a grange of sports, cooking, chess, archery, an art competition, an academic completion and so on. The day was capped off by our great annual tug o’war competition, with the winning house this year being Clancy.  The annual staff vs students competition this year saw our students walk away with the victory at the end of the rope. Our boys were in great spirits all day, demonstrating exemplary behaviour and positive engagement.

Book Week

Thursday of last week saw our Junior students make a wonderful effort in dressing up for their annual Book Week parade.  This year’s theme, “Curious Creatures, Wild Minds” was demonstrated superbly by our Junior School staff who dressed as slightly wild versions of Albert Einstein.  On the same day we announced the winners of the inaugural Principal’s Reading Challenge, organised by Mr Oliver Burke.  Congratulations to the following Principal’s Reading Challenge winners:

  1. Hunter Small (5 Blue, Treacy), an incredible 96 books!!
  2. Ian Scott (6 Blue, Rice), 47 books
  3. Rafael Guarin (5 Blue, O’Brien), 47 books
  4. Abner Khatri (6 White, Mulrooney), 36 books
  5. Mateo Waisman Posadilla (4 Blue, Treacy), 27 books
  6. Edmund O’Donohue (4 White, Treacy), 16 books

Congratulations also to the Principal’s Reading Challenge Participation Award winners:  Ezra Taiatini (5 White), Alexander Paras (5 White), Max Riva (4 Blue), Harry Locker-Lloyd (4 Blue), Matthew Bool (5 White), Oliver Neave (4 Blue), Byron Wright (4 White), Roman Spano (4 White).  We will announce the high school winners of the Principal’s Reading Challenge in a later edition of Vortex.

Schools Obstacle Course Challenge

Whilst the rest of the school was enjoying the delights of Market Day and the Activities Afternoon, we had a small group of our senior students participate in the first ever Schools Obstacle Course Challenge run by B.Firm Fitness.  Our students were required to complete a qualifying run on Thursday in which they came second.  Leading into the final round the boys were in first place and held onto their lead to be crowned ACT Champions for 2020 by 13 seconds!  Congratulations to the following students for representing the College so well in this event:  Joshua Cregan (Year 11, O’Brien), Lachlan Davis (Year 12, Mulrooney), Joshua Everett (Year 12, O’Brien), Thomas Lachlan (Year 12, Mulrooney), Brynn Loadsman (Year 12, Treacy) and Thomas McCarthy, (Year 11, Haydon).

Suncorp ESSI Money Challenge

A few weeks ago we had students in the World of Money classes participate in the Suncorp ESSI Money Challenge – they competed against more than 7,950 students nationally.  Congratulations to Dylan Bathgate (Year 9, O’Brien), Cody Bryce (Year 9, Treacy) and William Bate (Year 9, Mulrooney) who took out the top 3 places in the ACT in the 12-15 age category.  Hunter Harlor (Year 10, Treacy) came second in the ACT in the 16-18 age group.  This is an outstanding effort from these budding young commerce students!

Message of Love

This week’s Gospel, Matthew 22:34-40, focuses on one of the last in a series of tests thrown at Jesus throughout his ministry by the Sadducees, lawyers, chief priests, elders, scribes, Pharisees, and their followers. On this occasion, a legal expert from among the Pharisees asks Jesus one last question in order to test him, “Which commandment in the law is greatest?” Jesus’ answer is brief put powerful. Loving God is the first thing, the most important thing. But with this comes a significant consequence: to love God means that you also love God’s people.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Jesus states clearly that this is the greatest and first commandment, and it supersedes all the other commandments the Jews had known.  “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” How powerful that the greatest and first commandant is the commandment of love and that everything else hangs off this commandment. In Jesus’ view, the two commandments are inseparable. We cannot love God and then refuse to love our neighbour. Jesus extends the meaning of ‘neighbour’ to include every single person and not just the people of one’s own race, religion or family.  This inclusivity is the foundation for all of us, and certainly a foundation for which we all work to strive, achieve and live out every day in all facets of College life.


God, you display your almighty power
in loving us without regret.

In the human heart of Jesus your Son
you have shown us how far love can go.

Give us a love that is forgiving,
generous and gentle like his,
that we may recognise and welcome him
in our brothers and sisters.

And may our hearts reach out first
to the poorest and the least lovable,
with the gratuitous love you have given us
in Jesus Christ our Lord.


Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us
Live Jesus in Our Hearts, forever

Mr Joe Zavone
College Principal
Christus Lux Mea

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