Last Sunday’s Gospel reading was taken from Mark. The reading was about two disciples of Jesus, James and his brother John, going to Jesus with a request. The request was for them to be given top places beside Jesus in his Kingdom. Jesus tried to explain to the disciples that leadership in his kingdom was not about personal gain or glory but service and suffering.

As a Catholic School, our leadership models, be they related to the students or College Leadership Team, are based on this notion of servant leadership. Jesus’ example was very clear around servant leadership, all people were equal in his eyes and the leader’s role was to know and understand his followers and bring out the best in each of them through his actions for them. At St. Patrick’s, we constantly endeavour to remind our student body of this expectation. Servant leadership requires a sense of humility whereby actions are done for the good of others and not for the benefit of the leader or their reputation. Servant leaders are also required to have a great sense of integrity. I believe that this is what Jesus meant when he referred to suffering. Leaders with integrity are very much aware of their own personal and community values and place these at the forefront when taking action or making decisions. In this way, their service is very much around meeting the needs of the community.

On the 19 November, in four short weeks, our Year 12 cohort will celebrate their graduation from the College. These final weeks are a time for them to reflect upon their own leadership of the College over the past twelve months in particular. I believe that they have much to celebrate. Their efforts for the whole student body of the College this year has been outstanding. The St Patrick’s College student pledge states that ‘the St. Patrick’s student is a young man of integrity who will make a difference to the community’. I have no doubt that this cohort of young men will leave this College and serve their future communities with humility and distinction.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I had the very good fortune to visit Normanton with Mr Luke Royes (Head of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education) and Terrence Casey (Year 12 student). Terrence was born in Normanton and attended school there until Year 10 when school finished. He applied to attend St. Patrick’s as a part of our Indigenous Homestay Program and will complete his final senior studies in four weeks. Terrence is a wonderful young man who took a great risk in leaving his own family and moving in with a family from this College whom he had never met before. He also had to make some big adjustments in entering a school that was more than five times bigger than his last school and one that placed greater demands upon him.

On Monday night, Terrence, Luke and I met with five young men and their families in regard to joining our community into the future. During the meeting, Terrence was asked about how he coped with the change. Terrence’s response was very powerful. He was very proud of his achievements. He said that he was blessed with a wonderful host family and he also had to change many of his past ways in regard to living in a new environment and adjusting to the new demands of a bigger school, be that for classroom work, homework or sport training and competitions. But the opportunities that he has been offered and accepted have also allowed him to become the young man he is now. Those in the community who know Terrence know what a quality person he is.

On Tuesday morning we attended the Normanton State School assembly and Terrence arrived (in 33 heat) in his full College uniform, including blazer. He was asked to present the students with prizes for the week and speak to the students. The comments that he received from the Principal and other teachers was testimony to how much he had grown over the past two years.

Next year, there will be two other students who wish to join our College. At this point, we are still looking for families who are prepared to host the students. If you are interested, please contact Mr Luke Royes through the Main Office.

Last Friday afternoon and night, many of our Year 9 students and their mentors completed the Rite Journey Challenge. This included a 19.52km walk (1952 was the foundation year of the College). I would like to particularly thank Mr Finlay Lester for facilitating the event and the many staff who were present and assisted with the program. I would also like to thank the many mentors who gave their time to spend many hours of walking and talking with the young men as a part of their journey. I am sure that it was most beneficial for these Year 9 students. Your time, efforts and wisdom was very much appreciated by all.

It is a busy week next week with the AIC Athletics carnival on Monday and Wednesday and Showcase on Thursday. The Year 6, 11 and 12 students will attend the AIC carnival on Wednesday. The Year 6 students will return back to the College around lunchtime. I would like to thank Mr Steve Tilyard, Mr Ryan Schultz, Mr Doug Locke and the many other coaches for their work in preparing the team and I wish all of the athletes the very best for the championship. I would also like to congratulate Jack Kelly who has been named as Captain of the Athletics team for 1025. I have no doubt that Jack will do a great job in leading the team.

Showcase on Thursday night promises to be the usual gala event. I have wandered the grounds listening to each House in their practice and look forward to seeing each on stage. Above all else, I look forward to seeing the smiles on everyone’s face both within the choirs and the audience. It will be a great night.

I look forward to seeing everyone at Showcase.

God bless,

Mr Chris Mayes - College Principal