Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 6, 2023

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

We were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Colin Dwyer, who served as the Principal of St Edmund’s College from 1995 to 2004. Colin held the distinction of being the first lay principal in the history of the College. Colin was well known for numerous accomplishments during his time as Principal. He was renowned for his building and renovation program as well as his unwavering commitment to fostering a vibrant liturgical life within the College. In the late 1990’s, Bishop Pat Power once commented that “Mr Dwyer had promoted Blessed Edmund Rice, as a witness to the message of Christ, so well that the College community now knew Edmund better than any other time in its history”.
Colin passed away surrounded by his family. As we bid farewell to a remarkable individual, we fervently pray, “Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”
Colin’s funeral was held at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Forrest, on Monday 30 October, at 1:30pm, attended by a contingent of staff as well as our student leadership team who formed a guard of honour on the steps of the Cathedral.

Memorial Service

We held a profoundly meaningful memorial service at the College last week, dedicated to celebrating and cherishing the life and contributions of Ms. Ashleigh Kerin. The gathering proved to be a poignant and emotional tribute, underscoring the indelible mark left by this exceptional member of our staff on the life of the College’s.
In attendance were not only our College community but also Ashleigh’s parents, her sister and brother-in-law, who graciously joined us for this special commemoration of Ashleigh’s legacy. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Ms. Kylie Rose and Hamish Chapman of Year 12, who eloquently shared their memories and reflections on Ashleigh, encapsulating the essence of her impact in their heartfelt words of remembrance.
The funeral for Ashleigh was held on Monday 13 November.

Year 12 Farewell Rites of Passage Week

We entered last week with a great sense of excitement and anticipation, knowing that our Year 12 students were in their final week of classes. A few years ago we commenced an important tradition at St Edmund’s College during this final week for Year 12 – the “Farewell Rites of Passage Week”.  This was initiated to give our leaving students a sense of meaning and purpose in their last week, with a series of structured farewell activities.  The “Farewell Rites of Passage Week” has always commenced with a breakfast organised by the Old Boys and Friends Association, where Year 12 students are inducted into the Association and are presented with an Old Boys cap.  We always have a farewell lunch with Year 12 students from St Clare’s, signalling the end of that particular relationship with the two cohorts. We have a structured affirmation activity towards the end of the week where Year 12 students bring in a school shirt and have it signed by their peers.  Importantly this is conducted in a liturgical context, signifying the importance of affirmation and friendship.  Also during the week Year 12 students experience their final session with Brent Sanders, who they first met when they were in Year 9.  Brent presents his final session with this group, focusing on the many facets of positive relationships. Brent is one of Australia’s most respected communicators in the field of workplace harassment, bullying and discrimination as well as issues to do with personal safety.

Of course the week always culminates in the House Farewells on Friday, where Year 12 students are fare welled in front of their House groups and parents, with their tutor group teacher fare welling them by saying a few words about each student and presenting them with a small gift.  This is always a highlight of the year as each student is fare welled in a significant and personal manner.

We have packaged all of these activities under the banner of “Farewell Rites of Passage” as each activity covers a different aspect of development and maturing.  The term “rite of passage” was first coined by French anthropologist Arnold Van Gennep.  His work explains how cultures and communities once ritualised and guided the transitions in life from infancy to old age. “For every one of these events (rites of passage) there are ceremonies whose essential purpose is to enable the individual to pass from one defined position to another which is equally well defined.”  Initiation is a human need; it helps us to understand and mark transitions, as well as embrace and live our identities within a living community, but the rites of passage which were once a hallmark of ancient cultures have been lost in our contemporary society. We hope that the “Farewell Rites of Passage Week” we have created here at St Edmund’s goes some way in helping our Year 12 students adjust to the new life upon which they are about to embark, and leave the school in a positive, respectful and meaningful way.

We wish our Year 11 & 12 students the very best for their examinations this week and we look forward to Year 12 Graduation Day events on Friday 24 November.

Pre-Loved Uniforms

As we approach the year-end, I kindly urge parents and carers to consider contributing any school uniform items to our second-hand uniform collection. The generosity of our parents in the past has greatly supported this initiative, and we are continually seeking to replenish our supplies. Please feel free to drop off any pre-loved uniforms at the Reception, ensuring they have been washed and pressed.

While I recognise there are alternative methods for disposing of pre-loved uniforms that may offer financial incentives to parents, I am sincerely grateful to those who choose to donate to us. Your contributions enable us to share these uniforms with families in need. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Joe Zavone
Christus Lux Mea