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Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 5, 2020

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

Wednesday 11 November is Remembrance Day, a day we recognise and honour here at St Edmund’s College in our proud status as a war memorial school.  The College is the war memorial school for all Edmund Rice schools across Australia. I would encourage you to visit our Facebook page and view our Remembrance Day tribute, put together by Ms. Danielle Ridgway (Defence Transition mentor) and James Olney.  I thank Danielle and James for putting together such a touching tribute to acknowledge this special day, and I especially thank some of our parents for contributing significantly to the tribute – Colonel Laura Sinclair and son Shannon; Lieutenant Commander Kyra Maher, Brent Maher and son Thomas; Wing Commander Tim Anderson and son Sebastian as well as Eden Mordike (Year 11), James Dunn (Year 7) and Henry Martin (Year 6).  We are blessed as a community to be so closely connected to many women and men who serve us so well in our Defence forces.

Our Vision and Mission Statements are summarised by the short but powerful phrase “Vibrant Spirit, Strong Character, Tailored Learning”.  We demonstrated this phrase in a very genuine and real manner last week with the many diverse achievements which were acknowledged and celebrated at our College assembly last Friday.

We had a number of special guests at this assembly.  We were privileged to be visited by old boy, former Wallaby and Australia’s highest ever internationally capped player George Gregan.  George visited the College to personally present the George Gregan Cup to our victorious First XV Rugby team, on their winning the Rugby Grand Final against Marist College earlier in the year.  We thank George for flying from Sydney and making the time to pay us a very special visit.

Our other guests were former Headmaster, Br Bob Wallace, who until recently was President of Rugby Schools Australia, and Mr. Tim Cleary, who was a former Deputy Principal and is now the current President of Rugby Schools Australia.  They were with us to make a very special acknowledgement – the presenting of a Rugby Schools Australia Life Membership to Mr. Pat Langtry, our Assistant Principal, Student Wellbeing.  Mr Langtry has made an invaluable contribution to schoolboys Rugby Union over many years, and it was wonderful to see this being celebrated in such a significant manner in front of the whole College community.

We also acknowledged a number of other students at the assembly across a diverse range of achievements and activities. Students were recognised both formally and informally in the following areas:

  • Members of the U16 Football Team of the Year
  • Junior School and high school participants in the Principal’s Reading Challenge
  • Significant achievements in the Australian Mathematics Competition
  • Students who participated in this year’s College musical “Beauty and the Beast”
  • Hospitality students who have contributed significantly to recent events
  • Junior School Book Week
  • Students involved in the organisation of the recent successful Market Day
  • The two winning teams of the NRL based Alan Tongue Cup
  • Our winning high school students of the Suncorp ESSI Money Challenge (top three categories across two divisions)
  • Students who participated in the Duke of Edinburgh three day hike in the last school holidays
  • Our winning team in the inaugural ACT Schools Obstacle Challenge

These achievements and participation across a diverse range of curricular and non-curricular areas clearly demonstrates the depth and breadth of what we offer here at the College and the lively, energetic and robust participation in which our students engage in the range of activities offered. The vibrant spirit, strong character and tailored learning were definitely on show last Friday.

Also at the assembly our College Captain, Sam Gibson, gave his final Captain’s Address to the whole College.  As we are restricted in the way we celebrate the end of Year 12 in the coming weeks, Sam gave his final address last Friday.  I must commend Sam on the way he has led the College this year.  Sam is an extremely relational leader and has led the student body superbly in what has been a fragmented and challenging year.  He is highly respected by all students and staff and always goes about his dealings in a very mature and sensitive manner.  Sam is very conscious of the fact that the way we celebrate and acknowledge the end of Year 12 this year is very different to previous years because of the current COVID-19 restrictions, and he has worked hard in keeping up the spirits of his peers, ensuring that their last few weeks are positive and memorable.  It was very touching to have Sam’s family at the assembly to witness his final words to the whole College community.

It is truly unbelievable to think that we are in the last week of lessons for Year 12 and Year 11 before their examinations next week.  It is a cliché but the year has flown by so quickly.  This week we mark the beginning of the Year 12 Farewell Rites of Passage, with a significant event each day to mark their transition out of school, culminating in the House Farewells this coming Friday 13 November and Graduation events next Friday 20 November.  At the time of writing this article, Year 12 have already enjoyed their Old Boys barbeque breakfast where they were presented with an Old Boys cap by the Old Boys and Friends Association, as well as enjoying a farewell lunch with Year 12 students from St Clare’s College.   I hope that our Year 12 students enjoy their Farewell Rites of Passage Week and engage in the process with an open mind and heart.

Last Sunday’s Gospel had a very important message of our readiness and openness to the grace of Christ, with the Holy Spirit being front and centre in our daily lives, not something which is done later or thought of when we have time.  I pray that our Year 12 students open themselves to the Holy Spirit and allow their final week of lessons to be meaningful, memorable and respectful. Pope Francis, in a Sunday Angelus in 2017 asked: “What does Jesus wish to teach us? It is a matter of not waiting until the last minute of our lives to cooperate with the grace of God, but rather to do so as of now. It would be good to consider for a moment: one day will be the last. If it were today, how prepared am I? But I must do this and that…. Be ready as if it were the last day: this does us good”. (Angelus, 12 November, 2017).  This message of Pope Francis is reflected very clearly in our scriptural theme of 2020, “Whatever you have learned, received or heard from Christ – put it into practice” (Philippians 4:9).

Prayer

God of wonder and might,
look kindly upon us, your faithful people,
as we move and grow through this daily life that we are given.
We know that we are not alone on this journey
as your Spirit empowers us in each new day.
We must, however, take time to listen and reflect on the words of scripture,
which can renew and refresh us each day.
We are powerfully moved by you,
if we just stop and give you the attention that you so want from us.
Help us to walk and to not be in such a hurry as we journey in this life.
Help us to appreciate the beauty and freshness
that give us the passion to live each moment to the fullest.
We ask for the Spirit to continue to shape us and help us to remain open
to the presence and power of our loving God.

Amen.

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

Joe Zavone
College Principal
Christus Lux Mea

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