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Last Monday evening, we had the great pleasure of welcoming the new students and their families who will be attending our College in 2016. As a part of the process, the new students joined their respective Houses and met with their “big brothers” and House Deans. It was a joy to see the excitement on each of their faces and watch them excitedly leave the room to join the Year 11 leaders. The challenge for us over the coming years is to keep that sense of excitement and enthusiasm amongst the young men as they continue through to their senior years.

During the evening, I also stressed to the new families that good school communities value partnership and right relationships. There is ample educational research that identifies quality teaching and parents that are interested in their children’s education as key ingredients to students reaching their potential outcomes. Consequently, the partnership between students, their parents/caregivers and the teaching staff is paramount to the student’s ability to reach his potential at St. Patrick’s. This can be done in a number of practical ways. The more obvious is for parents to make the most of opportunities to become involved in activities at the College as well as attending various parent/teacher interviews or parent information evenings. Parents will usually have a better idea of how their son is coping with school or whether he is working to his potential. If there are any concerns regarding this, I would urge you to make contact with your son’s teacher or other appropriate staff member as soon as the concern surfaces. Sometimes the partnership also includes some “tough love” for students. As a boys' school, we are aware of the significance of clear boundaries, transparency and consistency of actions when dealing with young men. Sometimes this may cause some conflict with the student if they find it difficult to take responsibility for their own actions or they are not used to having to deal with consequences for their bad choices. Once again, I would invite all parents/caregivers to work with us when this may occur. If there are any concerns, please contact the teacher or House Dean directly to discuss the matter. The most important outcome of our partnership together is that each student feels that they belong at St. Patrick’s and that they are a valued member of our community.

Last Sunday morning, I attended Mass at the Sacred Heart Church in Sandgate as a part of their parish celebrations. The Mass was presided by Bishop Finnigan and I was joined by this year’s student leaders and our future student leaders in 2016. The parish had invited the Sacred Heart primary school, St Kieran’s School at Brighton and ourselves as we are all Catholic schools within the parish. It was a most enjoyable morning and I would particularly like to thank the Parish Council for including us in their planning and celebrations.

During July and August, our Year 10 students undertook a series of activities to assist them in making informed decisions around their subject choices for next year. One of the different approaches that we took this year included our engagement with Business Improvement Australia (BIA). This program included BIA gathering data pertaining to the students through some on-line activities followed by 90 minutes of one to one counselling. The program was very much endorsed by staff, parents and students and we are willingly committed to this program once again in 2016. The company also does this service for all students (not just those in Year 10) through their own business. They are a local business located in Sandgate and can be contacted on (07) 3269 8010 or www.bia.com.au. This service may be useful, particularly to some senior students who are still unsure of what they may wish to do next year.

Tomorrow afternoon we will welcome many of our young men and their mentors in the Rite Journey program. They will undertake the Rite Journey Challenge by walking 19.52kms along Shorncliffe and Sandgate. I wish them well, especially the mentors and also thank them for their participation in such a worthwhile program.

Currently, the builders are starting to prepare to place the roof onto the new building. This process requires them to lift some of the roof in the Callan Centre. However, all of the usual end of year celebrations and events will still be held in the Callan Centre including our Showcase evening, Celebration of Excellence and Senior Graduation.

On Monday and Tuesday, I have the pleasure of flying to Normanton in Far North Queensland with Mr Luke Royes and Terrance Casey. It will be a homecoming for Terrance. The purpose of our journey is to meet with any families that may be interested in having their son join our College community and being a part of our Indigenous Homestay program. If there are any families from within our community that may be interested in assisting by hosting a student, please contact Mr Luke Royes (lroyes@stpatricks.qld.edu.au) for further information.

God bless,

Mr Chris Mayes - College Principal