Principal’s Message: Week 7, Term 3, 2019

Principal’s Message: Week 7, Term 3, 2019

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

Vibrant Spirit.  Strong Character.  Tailored Learning.

We had a wonderful Father’s Day Mass and Morning Tea last Friday. This was the first time we have celebrated Father’s Day for the whole College community (Years 4 – 12) and as a result our Blessed Sacrament Chapel was packed to the rafters.  It was great to see so many students share the experience of the Eucharist with their fathers, grandfathers and other carers.  A highlight of the Mass was the invitation for our young men to give their fathers a special gift of a cross.  My special thanks to Ms Bridget Cusack and Mr Michael Monagle for their organisation of the Mass, Mrs Margaret Thomas for the music along with our senior vocalists and of course to Fr Rem Fernando for celebrating the Mass for us. Of course our Hospitality team shone as usual with their catering of the morning tea.

I was extraordinarily proud of our Hospitality team last Wednesday afternoon when we hosted the Board meeting of the ACT Association of Independent Schools (AISACT).  This was attended by principals and business managers of all independent schools across Canberra.  All of our guests were commenting on the quality of food being served and the impeccable style of service, courtesy and attention.  I am very proud of the way in which our students took on their responsibilities and duties.  My thanks to Brad Sliwinski, (Year 8, Haydon House), Jacob MacDonald (Year 8, Treacy House), Symon Refuerzo (Year 12, Haydon House), Mason Evans-Billington (Year 12, O’Brien House), Alister Hobson (Year 12, Clancy House) and thanks to Mrs Paula Moeller and Mrs Rebecca Jarman.

Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly, Joy Burch was a special guest at our College assembly last Wednesday to present the Speaker’s Civics and Citizenship Award to Patrick McFarlane (Year 11, Clancy House). Patrick was presented with this award because of his contribution to the school and the community. He has a strong sense of community and social justice which is demonstrated by his volunteer work with local organisations. Congratulations to Patrick for this very well deserved award.

Last Monday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending our Art Exhibition, held in our Art and Gallery spaces.  The rationales accompanying the art works of our senior student were interesting, challenging and thought-provoking.  Congratulations to our senior Art students for their depth of talent and creativity and my thanks to Mr Adam Buck for leading this group of young men in their creative pursuits.

By the time this Vortex article is distributed, our Year 12 students would have completed two days of sitting the ACT Scaling Test (AST).  The AST is a test attempted by all ACT Year 12 students wishing to gain an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). The test is designed to measure a range of general skills considered to be relevant to success in a variety of courses and to studies at university. The AST scores of those students who complete a Tertiary package provide the basis for scaling course scores awarded to students by the colleges they attend. A student’s scaled course scores are used in the calculation of that student’s ATAR.  We wish our Year 12 students well in their AST scores and hope that they have all achieved to the very best of their ability.  My thanks to Mr Norman Foskett who has worked so well this year in preparing our students for the AST.

Congratulations to Blair Stewart (Year 11, Haydon House) who has been successful in being selected to participate in national and international athletics competitions (in gymnastics) over the next few months.  Blair will be participating in the National Clubs Carnival on the Gold Coast later this month as well as in the Austria Cup in November and then the Houston Cup in USA in January of next year. Blair has the support of the St Edmund’s community and we wish him every success in his competitions.

Congratulations also to Angus Jones (Year 11, O’Brien House) and Thomas Farrell (Year 8, Mulrooney House) who have just returned from the World Dragon Boating Championships held in Thailand. Angus and Tom accumulated a total of 6 silver and 5 bronze medals. A truly outstanding effort.

As we approach the final four weeks of Term 3, parents may be starting to think about donating winter uniform items to the College for our second hand uniform collection.  Our new uniform supplier Ranier will soon take over the second hand uniform collection.  Parents will now have two options in dealing with used uniforms:

(1) DONATION You may wish to donate your used uniform items (without any form of reimbursement).  If you are interested in donating used uniform items, please ensure the used uniform items are washed and ironed.  You can leave these items either at Reception or hand them over to the uniform shop at the times prescribed below.

(2) CONSIGNMENT  You may wish to sell your used uniform items on consignment (i.e. turning your used uniforms into cash).  To assist the St Edmund’s community in the lead up to the uniform stock arriving, Ranier will sell your pre-loved items in store. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Wash and iron your pre-loved uniform.
  2. Determine your sale price.
  3. Deliver the items to the uniform shop with your banking details (at the times prescribed below).
  4. Ranier will sell your items and deposit 70% of the sale price into your account (30% fee to cover administration costs).

Please note that the second hand uniform items that have been already donated to the College will remain as donations.  They cannot be retrospectively sold on consignment.  Families in need are still encouraged to communicate directly with the College regarding second hand uniform item arrangements.

Last week of Term 3 2019:
Monday 23 September: 8.00 am – 11.00 am
Wednesday 25 September: 2.00 pm – 6.00 pm
Hours for Term 4 2019:
Mondays   8.00 am – 12.00 pm
Wednesdays    2.00 pm – 6.00 pm
Fridays     8.00 am – 12.00 pm

We have our Rugby Union teams participating in the Grand Finals this coming weekend.  We have 7 of our 15 Rugby Union teams in a grand final game. Best wishes to U10 Blue, U13 White, U13 Blue, U14 Blue, Third XV, Second XV and First XV.  (Our First XI Football team has its semi-final this weekend and we wish them all the best).  Congratulations to the players of these grand final teams – they have obviously trained and played to a level where they are at the very best of their field.  Congratulations and thanks also to their coaches, their parents and their supporters for being with them along this victorious path.  I wish the teams the very best of luck and can only ask that they play a good game.  Whilst winning a grand final is an impressive victory, it is a hollow victory if the game has not been played with good sportsmanship.

I subscribe to a theory I call the stewardship of sport.  Stewardship, in the Catholic sense, refers to the way of living in which we recognise that everything belongs to God. All we have is used for God’s glory and the common good. “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).  As we often do not hear the terms stewardship and sport in the same context, what does the stewardship of sport look like?

In a 2018 Vatican document called Give the Best of Yourself, Pope Francis writes, “Those who are part of the sports world exemplify virtues such as generosity, humility, sacrifice, constancy and cheerfulness.  Sport is a very rich source of values and virtues that help us to become better people … Sport can offer us the chance to take part in beautiful moments, or to see these take place.  Sport has the potential to remind us that beauty is one of the ways we can encounter God.”

The stewardship of sport means:

  • Giving the very best of yourself with the understanding that the gift you have is a gift from God, so giving the best is honouring the gift and honouring God with your special talent. So when we ‘glorify God in our bodies’ we also glorify God in our spirit. Sport is an opportunity to celebrate ourselves as a marvel of divine creation – as unified beings, rejoicing in the opportunity to come closer to God (from 2015 Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement on Sport).
  • An appreciation of teamwork and togetherness – having a real understanding that you and your gift are part of a team, and it is each individual’s responsibility to nurture the gifts of others in that team. Of this Pope Francis writes, “To belong to a (team) means to reject every form of selfishness and isolation, it is an opportunity to encounter and be with others, to help one another, to compete in mutual esteem and to grow in brotherhood.”
  • Winning is important, but not winning at all costs. We value a victory when it has been won well, when there has been active and healthy interaction and competition with the other team and their talent and strength has been acknowledged in the struggle to victory. Other teams may be our opponents, but they are not our enemies. We do not raise ourselves up by putting others down, whether this be in the rituals of acknowledgements between teams at the end of a game or by the cheering and chanting of the supporters in the stands. Sport is for building communities – not destroying them, and this is inclusive of our opposing teams. We respect our opposing teams for experiencing the same journey as our teams in reaching the grand final round and being just as good as our teams in arriving at this point of the competition.
  • The community environment of sport is covered by Pope Francis in his introductory letter to the document. The Pope highlights the fact that sport is more than the individual and even more than the team – it involves a whole network of significant people and important associations: “The need for others includes not only teammates but also managers, coaches, supporters, the family; in short, all those people who, with commitment and dedication, make it possible to ‘give the best of oneself.’ All this makes sports a catalyst for experiences of community, of the human family…. We reach great results, in sports as in life, together, as a team.”
  • Celebrations should occur in an appropriate and acceptable context. Celebrating a win or commiserating a loss does not automatically lead to the right to “write yourself off”, especially for our older students. If there are after-game celebrations, I would expect that all parents know where their sons are and exactly what the celebratory event involves.  The stewardship of sport means that we continue to respect our God-given gifts after the game and we do not abuse or exploit these gifts in the excess of inappropriate after-game celebrations.
  • For inspiration we turn to our College motto, “Christus Lux Mea” – Christ Is My Light. Christ is our model in sport, as in everything else. Participation in sport calls for a spirit of generosity, of service, of sacrifice and of humility. These are the very qualities of Christ. This is the stewardship of sport.

My very best wishes to all of our grand final players and teams.  Whilst I sincerely hope that we walk away from the fields with victories, my deeper hope is that we walk away knowing that we have demonstrated the best possible form of good sportsmanship, and that we have been good stewards of our sporting gifts and talents.

A Special Blessing for our Grand Final Participants

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May God’s courage fill your hearts,
And God’s strength be in your legs.

May God’s right arm be upon you,
And God’s shoulder be at your back.

May God’s passion inflame your spirit,
And the dignity of God’s presence guide your play
And stem your temper;

This day, may God’s enduring fortitude
Raise you up to be young men
Who are strong, noble and wise?
May the blessing of Almighty God descend upon you,
In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

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

Christus Lux Mea
Joe Zavone (College Principal)