Principal’s Message: Week 2, Term 3, 2019

Principal’s Message: Week 2, Term 3, 2019

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

Vibrant Spirit.  Strong Character.  Tailored Learning.

We held our annual NAIDOC Week Assembly last Wednesday (24 July). The Assembly acknowledged and celebrated this year’s NIADOC theme, Voice Treaty Truth. Our guest speaker was Zuzette Fahey, Indigenous Education Officer for ACT Education.  Zuzette demonstrated the significance of storytelling by reading a picture book to the whole school, highlighting the NAIDOC theme. The book was “Say Yes” by Jennifer Castles, with illustrations by Paul Seden. It is a story about how the events surrounding the historic 1967 Referendum played out in the everyday lives of two young girls. In celebration of the NAIDOC Assembly, our Music teacher Mrs Margaret Thomas, Year 6 Music and the Didge Crew created a musical piece inspired by this year’s theme and the varying backgrounds and countries of our indigenous boys.  Throughout the song we heard the various names of countries from where the boys’ ancestors came. From Anewan to Yuin, from Waradjuri to Goreng Goreng and many more, we paid tribute to country and ancestors. A sincere thank you to Mrs Thomas for adding to our assembly in such a special way.  A significant thank you to the organiser of the NAIDOC Week assembly, Ms Ashleigh Kerin for organising another memorable assembly and for her motivation of our students in such an important area.  Thanks to Mrs Elizabeth Mitchell for her organisational assistance and support and to Mrs Holly Ellem for working with our junior students in the original performance.  Also many thanks to our very confident and articulate assemble hosts, Max Page (Year 10, Treacy), Charlie Rigney (Year 7, O’Brien), Will Ervin (Year 7, Haydon).

As stated above, the NAIDOC theme this year is Voice. Treaty. Truth.
Voice: Giving our First Nations people a voice, and recognising the important of their voice.
Treaty:  In the European settlement of Australia, there were no treaties or no formal settlements. Land was just taken. This needs to be rectified by means of an agreement with our First Nations people and respecting their well-deserved needs here. Australia is one of the few liberal democracies around the world which still does not have a treaty or treaties or some other kind of formal acknowledgement or arrangement with its Indigenous minorities.
Truth:  Recognising the truth of the history of this country – telling the truth of the experiences of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and sharing this truth.

At the assembly I reminded our students that we are Edmund Rice people – we are people who, like Edmund Rice, stand for others in a strong and practical manner.  Our Touchstones, our College prayer and even our College song talks about who we are and how we are – so let us be the best Edmund Rice people we can be by supporting the goals of Voice, Treaty and Truth with the ultimate goal of everyone in this country being in right relationship with our First Nations people.

Last Friday Year 11 experienced their retreat day at Haydon Hall at St Christopher’s Cathedral in Manuka.  The theme of the retreat was “Ego Sum”, Latin for “I Am” and “Servus Ducis” (Servant Leadership).  It is so important that we allow our boys valuable time to reflect on who they are and where they are going, and place themselves in many important contexts in their lives – their self-context, the context of their friends and families, the context of their community and of course the context of God. The boys were joined on retreat by our College chaplains, Fr Dan Benedetti and Fr Rem Fernando, and we thank them for giving up their time to be with our boys for such an important experience.  Many thanks also to Mr Michael Monagle, our Assistant Principal, Mission and Identity for facilitating the retreat and for the teachers who joined our Year 11 students on the day.

On behalf of the College community, I extend our congratulations and best wishes to:

  • Thomas Farrell (Year 8, Rice) who is representing Australia in the Auroras team at the World Dragon Boat Championships in Pattaya, Thailand in August.
  • Spencer Bassett (Year 9, O’Brien) who is representing the ACT in in the School Sport U15 AFL team in Launceston this week.

This coming Saturday (3 August) is our very important Heritage Round against Marist College. The day kicks off at 10:00am in our Chapel with the Olds Boys Mass, celebrated by old boy and retired Bishop Pat Power.  This is followed by a series of reunions with old boys touring the College and catching up with each other.   We have the opening of new electronic scoreboard at around 2:50pm.  The scoreboard will be blessed by Bishop Pat Power and officially opened by old boy John Barilaro, Deputy Premier of NSW and NSW Member for Monaro. (The scoreboard was organised and generously donated by the Old Boys and Friends Association).  We will also have a special presentation for the Ricky Stuart Foundation at this time.  We then have the main games of the day at around 3:00pm.  Both the First XV Rugby team and the First XI Football (Soccer) team will be playing on College fields at around the same time.  We had outstanding attendance last year, and I encourage as many members of our community as possible to be there on the day and celebrate a day of old boys’ spirit, community spirit and of sporting talent and sportsmanship. Students who are attending as spectators must be in complete school uniform (no variations at all) and be on their very best behaviour and demonstrate the best of good sportsmanship.  Students who have played either rugby or football at the College during the day may remain in their team outfit if they wish to choose so. We are very much looking forward to a great day on Saturday.

Almighty and loving God,
You who created all people in your image,
lead us to seek your compassion as we listen to the truth of our past.
You gave your only Son, Jesus,
who died and rose again so that sins will be forgiven.
We place before you the pain and anguish of dispossession of land, language, lore,
culture and family kinship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced.
We live in faith that all people will rise from the depths of despair and hopelessness.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have endured the pain and loss of loved ones, through the separation of children from their families.
We are sorry and ask Your forgiveness.
Touch the hearts of the broken, homeless and inflicted, heal their spirits and strengthen their voice.
In your mercy and compassion walk with us as we continue our journey of healing
to create a future that is just and equitable.
Lord, you are our hope.

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

 Christus Lux Mea
Joe Zavone (College Principal)