Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 9, 2020

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

It was a great pleasure to attend our Presentation Ceremonies today – the Junior School ceremony in the morning followed by the Years 7 to 11 ceremony. Even though we are still restricted by COVID requirements in terms of audience capacity, both events were very well attended and worked well to celebrate the academic successes of our students.  They were a fitting conclusion to a great year.

The end of the year always sees some members of staff move on for various personal and professional reasons.  We thank our temporary staff whose contracts finish at the end of this year: Mr Peter Birrell (Mathematics), Mr Mitchell Moss (English / SOSE) and Mr Jeremy Taylor (TAS).  We also bid farewell to staff who are moving on: Mrs Cay Merritt (Languages) and Mr David Mead (Head of Mathematics).  We also give thanks to our staff members who are retiring this year: Mrs Sue Phelan (Library), Mrs Fiona Farquharson (Finance Manager), Mr Norman Foskett (Science) and Mr Peter Langford (Mathematics / Religious Education). Mrs Alana Beard will be taking maternity leave for 12 months and we give our very best wishes to Mrs Beard and her family.

We give special thanks to Mr Foskett and Mr Langford for their contributions and service to the College.  Mr Foskett has given St Edmund’s 26 years of service, and Mr Langford has given 38 years of service to St Edmund’s. In their retirements we lose two of the College’s story tellers and story keepers.

In his time at St Edmund’s, Mr. Foskett has been an Assistant Year Co-ordinator, Acting Year Co-ordinator, Assistant Director of Studies and Director of Studies.  In the last few years he has been instrumental in facilitating the AST Skills Program with our Year 12 students, contributing to the strengthening of our ATAR results over the past few years.  More importantly though, he has been a highly valued member of our Science department.  Mr Foskett will be greatly missed – we give him our very best wishes on his retirement, and we thank him with deep appreciation for his contributions and great service to the St Edmund’s community.

Mr. Langford has been an Assistant Year 12 Co-ordinator, a Year Co-ordinator, Acting Head of TAS, IT Co-ordinator, VET Co-ordinator and Senior Studies Adviser. He has been a valued member of our Maths and RE departments. Mr. Langford has also attended a number of Rugby tours, has served on several key committees, coordinated and participated in a number of student retreats and camps, and has coached a number of rugby and basketball teams.  Mr. Langford has been part of the fabric of St Edmund’s College in all of this time and we thank him for his wonderful service to our College and give him our very best wishes for his retirement.

Our scriptural theme for 2020 was “Whatever you have learned, received or heard from Christ, put it into practice”.  This was the second year in which we had a scriptural theme.  A theme like this reminds us of who we are, where we belong and where we are going.  It reminds us that we are all members of a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition; that we belong to a College community where we try to live by the example that has been modelled to us by Jesus Christ and that we are travelling in a direction where boys develop into young men of vibrant spirit and strong character, by building a spirit of growth, hope, belonging and service.

The scriptural theme gives us a coat-hanger where we can hang what we do and what we say.  It is a big ask to take what we know of Christ in the Gospels and put it into practice, especially in the times we live in today.  It is a big ask, but it not a difficult ask.  Christ found strength in community and modelled his best actions and values in community, through the people around him.  So for us to be able to put Christ’s words, actions and values into practice, we need to source our strength from the people around us, from the members of our community. St Edmund’s College needs to be a community where we look to each other for strength – where we stand alongside each other and support each other and motivate each other.  Two years ago at an assembly I used the term “We are brothers within these walls”.  This is how we should be – a community of people who, like family, might sometimes disagree and squabble and not see eye to eye on everything, but in the end, like a family, we have each other’s backs.  We are there for each other – the boys here are brothers.  They can put what they learn, receive or hear from Christ into practice by standing alongside each other and raising each other up.

Ironically, what could have weakened us during the COVID lockdown and the many COVID restrictions made us even stronger.  We are a school that is strong in relationships and we became even stronger with our relationships during COVID.  We didn’t let COVID beat us.  We continued with our learning, we continued to talk with each other and see each other albeit in a different manner, and we continued being who we are.  For this I need to publicly, loudly and proudly thank our staff for just getting on with it during remote learning.  Our staff learnt new skills, new programs and a new way of teaching in just a matter of days; not many schools can claim that they did this so quickly and so successfully.  I thank our staff, and I thank our students for allowing our staff to just get on with it, for engaging with remote learning in such a positive manner. We are a school that just rolls up its sleeves and gets on with it, so we came out of remote learning in a strong, confident manner.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our students for another great year – their energy and enthusiasm make a bold statement about who we are.  The spirit of our students is strongly supported and enriched by our parents, and their active involvement in the life of the College.  There was no better way to end the last day of lessons yesterday than to hand over more than 50 hampers to St Vincent de Paul of Narrabundah. This demonstrated the wonderful spirit and energy of our students and their families in wanting to support those families in our community who are in great need this Christmas.  The fact that we ended the year in service to others is a very clear sign of what we stand for.

When we put this year’s scriptural theme “Whatever you have learned, received or heard from Christ, put it into practice”, next to the College motto – Christ Is My Light, then we have a very powerful statement on who we should be and how we should act when we come to this school – every day and everywhere.  Next year we will have a different scriptural theme to use as a guide and direction for the year, which will remind us even further and in a slightly different context of our identity and our direction.

I wish all of our students and their families a very happy and holy Christmas and a relaxing holiday break.  May the love of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, surround you all the times of your life.  Merry Christmas!


End of Year Prayer

At the end of this school year we give thanks to God:
For all the teaching and learning that has taken place in our College, both in and out of the classroom,
for the talents and gifts that have been shared and the challenges that have been faced,=
for the burdens that have been lifted and the hurts that have been healed,
for the respect and care that have been given.
We give thanks for the friendships that have grown and for those that have begun,
for the faith that has been lived in our daily struggles,
for the hope that has lifted our hearts on the dark days,
and for the love that has kept us going.
We give thanks for the community that we are and we ask you Lord:
Bless our students and staff as they commence their break: may your Spirit keep them safe.
Bless our families as they take their holidays, may their time together leave them with memories to cherish.
Pour out your love on all of us that we may return renewed and refreshed next year to continue our  journey together.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.

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

Christus Lux Mea

Joe Zavone