28 May 2015
← From The Principal
From The Principal
Last Sunday was Pentecost marking the end of the Easter period for the Church. Pentecost Sunday is often referred to as the birthday of the Church. It was on this day that the disciples received the Holy Spirit. In essence, they were relieved of their anxieties about themselves and sent forth to preach the good news. The visitation of the Spirit assured them that Jesus was still with them and loved them and they were set free to love others and tell them to rejoice in being loved by God. This is considered to be the birthday of the Church because the disciples moved out into the community and preached and the teachings of Jesus were spread far and wide. As a contemporary Catholic community, this celebration of the Church is most important to us because it reminds us that our faith and beliefs are not something that should be stored away and only used when it is convenient. Rather, our faith compels us to not only love one another but also to go one step further be seen by others as communities that demonstrate this love to each other. As a Catholic School, we are therefore called to mould a community that is inclusive of all and models a respect and love for each other in the way that we treat each other and the expectations and tolerance that we place on each other. In short, we aim to be communities that bring joy to each other and to those around us. If we are a loving community at St. Patrick's, what we do for each other and the way that we support one another should be focussed on bringing joy to others. This is not to say that on occasions some hard decisions have to be made that may not necessarily be welcomed by some, but certainly these decisions should always be based on an integrity that centres on the common good for the community.
On Tuesday night I had the great pleasure of attending the Steve Biddulph parent information evening. I found him to be an extraordinary presenter. Steve has had over thirty years of experience in researching, writing and presenting about boys and masculinity. His easy (story telling) style of presenting certainly appealed to my learning style. I am sure that everyone who attended took away their own messages. One that clearly resonated with me was around the great need of young men for good role models. Steve spoke very directly and succinctly about the roles that both mums and dads play in the lives of young men. More importantly, he also spoke about how and why these roles change as our young men grow. He was very clear about how important it was for parents to work together as a team to mentor these young men in their formative years particularly around the age of 14 years. He also mentioned that around these years, young men look to other males particularly to be their "mentors". These mentors could be and usually were others apart from their fathers and he encouraged the notion of looking to other important males in their lives to role model what a good man should look like. Steve was particularly clear here about the role of fathers and the importance of good role modelling in behaviours and expectations of these young adolescent men. He believes that this is a time when dads should be very present to the young men.
The notion of working in partnership is obviously something that we very much value as a school. Students at the age of 14 years are in the middle of their schooling experience at St. Patrick's. Therefore, it is important for them to receive consistent messages about what are the expected behaviours of a young man and what it means to be a good man. As mentioned last night their attitude to women is central to this. Furthermore, given that the young men spend a significant amount of their time around the College it is highly possible that their role models will be male staff such as teachers or coaches. This responsibility means that our messages and behaviours as a College and men will be more closely scrutinized by our students than some may have considered. Furthermore, it also means that the way that our young men relate to their female teachers and learn from these experiences is also a significant part of their formation. I believe that our House system is the foundation of an excellent pastoral and formation program for the students and I urge all parents to work with the staff and House Deans as much as possible to ensure that we are all sending very consistent messages to the young men about what is expected of them and how they can grow into Men of Action (good young men). I would also like to highlight the great work done by Mr Brian Polich and his "Rite Journey" team who work so well with our Year Nine students. In some cases, the students do not see the purpose of this program, but Steve Biddulph's presentation simply reinforced to me that at their stage of development this may be the case with some, but the integrity and focus of the program is very clearly aligned to his research and experiences with adolescent males. I would like to think that all Year Nine parents who attended on Tuesday evening would agree with this.
The combined musical (St. Patrick's and St John Fisher) performed its last show last Saturday night. This was the culmination of many hours of preparation and practice by both staff members and students. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and was delighted to see so many young men and women participate and clearly enjoy themselves. It was also very encouraging to see many students from this College singing and dancing on the stage, as well as being involved in many other sporting, cultural and academic pursuits.
This weekend we will host St Laurence's College in our annual "Back to Shorncliffe" day. For those families that are new to the College, this event is one of the highlights of the calendar. It is a great opportunity for each of us to attend Curlew Park as a community and support so many of our young men who will either be playing or supporting our Football and Rugby teams. It is also a significant and, perhaps emotional day, for all of our Year 12 students as this will be their last chance to play or support teams at Curlew Park. This weekend the First XV and First XI players will be wearing black armbands in memory of Mr Peter King. Peter was a great supporter of this College and a wonderful man and he will be fondly remembered by many Paddies' Old Boys who will also be in attendance on Saturday.