Last Sunday, we celebrated All Saints Day. This is a significant celebration for the Catholic Church as it is a time for us to remember and honour all of the saints within our Church over the ages. Whilst it is good to honour the saints who have given so much to our faith, it is also worthwhile to reflect on the meaning of sainthood and why this is so important to the Church. A saint can best be defined as a person having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness to God. The important word for me in this definition is 'person'. The saints in our faith started living ordinary lives and then started doing extraordinary things for their faith. They were people who did things for the greater good of others and lived a life of example through their integrity and absolute faith to their Church. To be absolutely faithful is a difficult thing for many because by its very meaning, faith means an adherence and belief in something that may be difficult to understand or have little explanation or proof. In our daily lives, each of us come across many people who have great integrity in how they live and values that are not negotiable or used for convenience. Most importantly, such people take action with others in mind and always try to do things for the greater good of others around them, particularly those that may have been marginalised or disempowered. Such actions may not make them saints, but this is why the Church has saints, so that their example can lead others like us to practice our faith in everything that we do, not just when it may suit a situation.

Today is the final day of classes for our men in Year 12. I am sure that each of them and their parents would say that this year has passed so quickly. Over the last two weeks, the College Student Leadership Team members have spoken to the gathered assemblies about their time at this great College. They have spoken fondly of teachers, incidents and friends that have had a great influence on them as developing young men. I would like to also comment on how their presence at this College has made us a better place. This year’s senior cohort of students have been a marvellous example to the rest of the student body. Their enthusiasm and energy has been evident in all that they have done.

This year the group developed the theme of standing 'shoulder to shoulder with pride, passion and persistence'. Whilst I have been new to the College this year, I can unequivocally state that these young men have very much supported each other and certainly left a benchmark when it comes to showing pride and passion in their school community. I would like to single out the Student Leadership Team of Jacob Lawrence (College Captain) and Isaak Woods, Carter Bell and Taiftafono Reupena for their great support to the College and extraordinary leadership of the student body. Each of these men has been a great example to all students through their participation in the co-curricular program and persistence and effort in their studies. They have shown that with a sensible, balanced approach anything can be achieved as a student at this College. Today, each House has thanked their senior students with a final House assembly and on Monday, our entire student body has the opportunity to farewell and thank them in our final assembly. I am sure that it will be a very emotional experience for many of us within the community.

On Tuesday we had a special assembly to recognize the outstanding achievements of many of our students in the cultural dimension of the school. It was a great occasion and I would particularly thank the students who were most respectful during the occasion despite the conditions within the Callan Centre. Today we will have another assembly to recognise the achievement of all of our sporting teams in the third trimester.

We are now approaching the final weeks of the school year. One of the dangers during this time is that some students may feel that it is time to “clock off”. My advice is very much contrary to this. Our senior students start their exams on Tuesday of next week. If they are eligible for an OP score, they need to be reminded that their ranking in class is important. Each of them needs to work to the last minute of the last example. Likewise, the other students who will be looking for a ranking or moving straight to the workforce, this report will be a significant one for future employers. It is important to make it the best it can be, as their will be many other students also seeking employment next year. For the rest of the student body, this is also a time to be preparing for exams and assignments through strong study habits and good planning leading into the final drafts.

Yesterday our Year 11 students commenced their QCS journey. We have been fortunate to secure the services of Dr Terri Bourke to work with our young men each Wednesday for the next three weeks to assist in their preparation. She will also work with our staff in this area. The students will complete a Multiple Choice Paper, a Writing Task and a Short Response Paper during this time. This will give base data and diagnostic information to prepare for the QCS practices next year. This is also the culmination of the work that the students have been doing in their classes each Wednesday afternoon during the year. Yesterday afternoon, Prof Judy Smeed, also from the QUT, addressed our Middle Leaders around analysing our current student data and what we can learn from this. She will also continue to work with us on an ongoing basis.

Tomorrow night we will celebrate the academic achievement of many students who have performed admirably across the whole year. This will be done at our annual Celebration of Excellence. All of our families are invited and it promises to be a great night as we will also feature and showcase some of the many other talents of our students with performances spread throughout the presentations. I hope to see many of our young men and their families help us celebrate this great occasion.

I would like to congratulate Mr Paul Corfield who has been selected as a finalist in the Catholic Leader Community Services Awards. Paul has worked tirelessly over several years in our service and immersion programs and I am sure that everyone will agree that he is a very deserving finalist. The awards will be decided next Thursday evening.

God bless,

Mr Chris Mayes - College Principal