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Welcome back to a longer second term. I hope that all of our young men had some form of opportunity to relax and refresh over the break. Likewise, I hope that many of our parents were also able to enjoy some refreshing time with your families over the Easter holiday period. I am certainly looking forward to working with the students again this term.

I am very happy to announce the appointment of Mr John Zappala as the additional Guidance Counsellor for the College. John has spent the last 15 years working as a Guidance Counsellor within Brisbane Catholic Education schools and has had experience both in primary and secondary school settings. John will commence at the College on 9 May.

Last Sunday’s Gospel (John) recounted the events of Jesus after his Easter resurrection. In this week’s reading, Jesus appeared to Peter and other disciples as they were fishing from their boat. The important part of the reading for me was when Jesus pulled Peter aside and asked him if he loved him. He asked this question on three occasions. Peter obviously answered ‘yes’ each time and no doubt became quite frustrated when asked the third time. Upon each reply, Jesus, said to him “look after my flock”. This was the beginning of the disciples moving around and preaching and spreading the good news. However, to me the real question was why Peter was asked three times, particularly when he responded positively the first time. An interpretation of this is that Jesus did not feel that John really understood the question. How often do we use words with other people that simply responds in a superficial way or gives an answer that they expect to receive? In the case of a husband and wife, when one asks the other if they love them, a positive response is received, but often, the question might be suggesting that the other’s actions do not demonstrate this love. As partners, parents and friends our reactions and conversations with others (including our young men) that we love can sometimes fall into the trap of superficial talk. We assume that they feel loved simply because we say the words, but our own actions may not support what we say. In essence, we don’t “walk the talk”. Certainly, the Gospel was food for thought for myself and a little time for reflection in whether my own actions back my words on all occasions.

The teaching staff are currently putting their finishing touches on the marking from assessments in the latter weeks of the first term. The reports will be available to parents online from next Tuesday. I have mentioned that we are starting practices at the College where our teachers will discuss target results with each of the students for each term. I would really encourage such conversations at home after the reports have been distributed. It would also be useful for the teacher to talk to you about these targets during the Parent/Teacher meetings. The important part of these targets is the conversation. Discussion needs to be had around what is a realistic target and then a set of actions put into place to assist and support the attainment of the targets. During each reporting period, further discussion can be had around whether the target was met, and if not, what went wrong and start the process of re-setting the goal and action again. If the target was reached or surpassed, a discussion can be had as to what will the new target and actions be for the new term.

Over the holiday period, our Under 15 Rugby team toured New Zealand and our Cross Country runners trained in Cairns. Our Rugby and Football squads also participated in camps or clinics and trials. All of this was possible because of the dedication of some of our staff members. We are very grateful to have so many of the staff at the College who are prepared to offer these opportunities to our young men during their holiday breaks. I received some very positive feedback from the Principal of Tumuaki Cheviot Area School. In her email, she made the following comment about one of our students and the team… “He had no idea I am also a principal of a school, he spoke to me as a mother, but I hope all my students are as well-mannered and capable when speaking to adults as he was. Your team of boys and the adults with them are a credit to your school and I thought you should know that.” As College Principal, I was very proud to receive such an email about some of our young men.

The second term is always a very busy term for sports as it includes Football and Rugby, which traditionally attracts the most participants. Once again we are fortunate to have a number of staff, parents, past students and other coaches who train our teams. This year, we are also trying to organise that at some of the home games at Curlew Park we host morning teas for parents from different year levels. They will be hosted by the College Leadership Team. We appreciate that many parents are working and often “time poor” through other family and social activities to always attend events at the College. A Saturday sport meeting might be an ideal time to catch up over a cup of coffee or tea. We will advertise these events prior to each of the home games.

This Saturday we play trial matches against Villanova College in both sports. The trials assist with team selections and student preparation for the season ahead.

Tomorrow we will hold our College Cross Country Carnival. Please note that there will be normal classes for the first three periods of the day before the students move to Curlew Park for the races. They will be walked down with teachers and the afternoon buses will collect the students from Curlew Park on their normal afternoon runs.

Please note that we have also made some changes to the parking and pick up areas around the College. As of the beginning of the term, we have split the bus drop off and pick up points. Previously, all of the buses (9) came into Pier Avenue. This caused the situation where all of the students who caught buses poured out of the one gate in Pier Avenue and lined a good part of the footpath. With so many buses, there was often double parking or queueing of buses. Pier Avenue is also a street where many parents collect their sons as well as many staff and students crossing the road. As of last Monday, four of the buses (911, 933, SPC 01 and SPC 02) have been collecting students from Yundah Street whilst the other buses continue their pick-ups from Pier Avenue. We have noticed a far safer and ordered situation for the staff and students since this change. We are also negotiating with the Brisbane City Council to place some crossings on the busier roads for further student safety. I ask all parents to be mindful of these changes and the new signage in these areas.

A number of our Year 12 students and staff head off on their Kairos retreats on Sunday. They will return to the College on Tuesday evening. The retreats have been planned by Mr Matthew Hawkins, Mr Tim Kenny and Mrs Helen Righetti. Based on past experiences, I am very sure that the young men and staff will enjoy a great experience.

I look forward to meeting with many of you over the term and very excited about working with our great young me again this term.

God bless,

Mr Chris Mayes - College Principal