Principal’s Message: Week 6, Term 1, 2019

Principal’s Message: Week 6, Term 1, 2019

Year 12 High Achievers

Last Wednesday we congratulated and acknowledged our 2018 Year 12 high achievers.  It was an absolute pleasure to have most of these students return to the school and have their achievements acknowledged by the entire student body.  Congratulations to our top ten ATAR students: Christian Fietz, William Fernance, Joel Goodyer, Benjamin Johnson,  Ryan O’Neill, Harry Smith, Giuseppe Trimboli, Andrew Vickery and Noah Wright.  We must also congratulate our Dux for 2018, Alexander Salmond.  Alex addressed the students at this assembly in a very strong and touching manner.  It makes me proud that St Edmund’s College has such young men of virtue and character.  I share Alex’s address with you today:

“My short time amidst the Eddies ranks provided me with such a variety of teachings that reflecting upon it all at once seems to me like herding cats. Along with the obvious literal teachings the school provided through classes, there were more figurative lessons provided every day on the kind of character it takes to achieve success beyond the gates of St Edmund’s. Throughout my senior years at the school there were many lessons I tried to take on board to get the best out of myself, and upon some serious rumination, there are two that stand out to me.

The first is one which I am sure you have heard before, but hearing and understanding are worlds apart. It was Muhamad Ali who said that “the only limitations one has, are the ones they place on themselves”, a quote I am sure you are not done hearing so long as you are at Eddies. Upon first hearing, without thinking too deeply about it, the sentiment seems a little too vague to be that helpful in daily life. However, I want you boys to consider the limitations you place on yourselves every day without even realising it. Think about it in terms of schoolwork. For most of you, I am sure that with every test and assignment you get you give yourself a goal grade, whether you need a C to pass the subject or an A to bring your average up. No matter where you aim within the terms of gradings, even were you to aim for 100%, you are setting a roof for your achievements. You are placing a limitation upon yourself. I urge you boys to broaden the scope for what you can achieve with your schoolwork. Don’t pinpoint a target grade, but instead aim to create something you are proud of. Strive for achievement, whatever form it may take and work hard for improvement. When I began to expand my goals from what I could achieve within the bounds of the school to what I could achieve in much broader sense, not only did my grades jump, but I began seeing returns from institutions outside the College. For a piece of work I produced as a major assignment not for a grade but something I could feel pride in, I was afforded entry into the exclusive National Summer Arts Scholarship, became a finalist for the Moran National Photographic Prize and displayed for the first time in a Sydney gallery. Whether it be a physics report, an English essay, or a project in TAS, tasks individual to your own talents, when done truly and properly, can open so many doors. If you stop targeting a number but instead aim to do something special to you, that you aspire to and value, the number, along with much more will come.

The second is something which cannot be underemphasised, not only in your years as a student but beyond as well is the importance of the quality of relationships you build. Despite the admirable sense of vitality which Eddies places on respect, it can often seem an abstract concept. There are thousands of potential moments everyday in which showing someone some sense of respect can foster a better relationship and be a benefit down the track. Whether it be showing an appreciation for someone’s talents, taking time out of your day to help someone in need or something as basic as saying g’day, little moments of respect can go a long way.  The simple fact is that small, easy gestures like this will see returns. The people around you will feel inclined to return the respect you show them, and when the hard times come, the same people will be ready and waiting to pick you up and set you back on your way.  This is a universal rule, there is no one place it applies and everyone, especially those who may be outside your personal walks of life deserve this sense of respect. Garnering positive and productive relationships with anyone at Eddies, students and staff alike, will only see your time here run smoother.

Every one of you boys will experience Eddie’s very differently from each other, so I implore you to take as much out of your individual journey as possible. In the overall context of your lives, each one of you has only a fleeting moment as an Eddie’s boy, so please take some time to smell the roses. Your experiences here will shape the person you grow into, but only if you take them in. Once your time here is in the rear-view mirror whatever has not been taken with you will be left in the dust. So live your Eddies life well while it lasts, so that when it’s done you aren’t left with what could have been, but have only triumphs to reflect on”.  (Alex Salmond, Class of 2018)

Swimming Carnivals

Last Friday’s perfect weather saw us hold two very successful swimming carnivals.  My thanks to Mr Denzil Fox and Mr Joel Richardson for organising the junior school and high school carnivals respectively.  There was a great deal of student participation at both events and the atmosphere at both events was extremely positive and highly spirited.  There was a great sense of community and school spirit at both events.  My thanks to all of our teachers and students who contributed to the great success of the carnivals, and also to the many parents who volunteered for the junior school carnival.

World’s Greatest Shave

Jay Madden (Year 10, O’Brien) has shaved his head for the World’s Greatest Shave.  Funds raised for the World’s Greatest Shave help give families facing blood cancer the emotional and practical support they need, and fund vital research to help more people survive blood cancer.  The link to donate for Jay is:   http://my.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/jaymadden .  Please head to the College Facebook page to see some before and after shots of Jay’s shave.  We wish Jay the very best of luck in this venture.  (Donations close on or around 20 March).

First Sunday of Lent

Last week I write how important it is for all of us to come to a deeper understanding of Lent.  As Archbishop Christopher Prowse said in his homily this week at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Lent must be more than kick-starting our latest diet.  As a preparation for Easter, Lent should be about kick-starting a change of heart, an opening of mind and a deepening of soul.  We take the words of Pope Francis from 2017 as a reminder of how to do make this change:

“Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from anger and be filled with patience.

Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

Fast from worries and trust in God.

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.

Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.

Fast from grudges and be reconciled.

Fast from words and be silent so you can listen”.

Last Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 4:1-13) finds Jesus in the desert, fasting and praying.  The devil presents three temptations to Jesus. The devil tempts Jesus to use his power to appease his hunger (“If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread”); he offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus will worship him (“if you worship me, it will all be yours”); and he tempts Jesus to put God’s promise of protection to the test (“if you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here.”).  In each case, Jesus resists, citing words from Scripture to rebuke the devil’s temptation.

Each temptation faced by Jesus sheds light onto the spirituality we hope to develop as we keep the forty days of the Season of Lent. We can trust God to provide for our material needs. We worship God because power over the human communities of the Earth is not “of God” and that worship belongs to God alone. Jesus’ rejection of the devil’s temptations shows that he will not put God to the test. Grounding himself on the Word and authority of Scripture, Jesus rebukes the devil by his confidence in God’s protection and faithfulness. This reflects very clearly on our theme for 2019, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

This Gospel highlights for us one of the central themes of the Season of Lent. Sr Veronica Lawson rsm (an Australian Sister of Mercy) reminds us that Lent is a time for reflection, a time for us to enter into the “wilderness” or “desert place” and grapple with the mysteries of life. Human retreat to the wilderness can be an opportunity to encounter God in the unfamiliar and to understand oneself in relation to the other-than-human. It can reveal to us our capacities for right relationship with God and with each other. Right relationship resides in “power-with” rather than “power-over”.

New College Prayer

Dear Lord,

Grant that we may live each day to the full, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Let us cast away all worries and concerns into your divine care.

Christus Lux Mea

Give us strength to confront all challenges that we face with hope and faith.

Let our community seek truth in all that we search for.

Christus Lux Mea

Let us stand for others always giving generously without counting the cost.

Amen

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever

 

Christus Lux Mea

Mr Joe Zavone (College Principal)