Welcome back to the third term of the year. It promises to be an exciting and energising ten weeks. We have started with initial movement into the classrooms on the bottom floor of the Christian Brothers Building. The top floor will be launched with the students at next Tuesday’s Academic Assembly. Whilst the Parent Teacher interviews will take place on Tuesday afternoon in the Callan Centre, the Christian Brothers Building will also be open for all parents and students to walk through and view. The official opening of the building will not take place until a date to be fixed later this year. Over the holidays, we also started the project of demolishing the old Br Rodgers Building. This has meant that the Twamley Street entrance to the College has been closed whilst the work is being completed. Please drop students at other entrances to the College during this time.

We are introducing new bucket hats to replace the current formal school hat. The new hats are green on the outside and have the St Patrick’s College crest on them and can be turned inside out and will have the student’s House colours and House crest on the inside. The hats are protective of the student’s neck and ears and can be worn whilst running around and participating in Physical Education classes. They are also very light and comfortable and “can breathe”. The hats are being sold for $25 from the Uniform Shop. I am mindful of the students in Year 10 and therefore the hats will be phased in over the next three years.

Last Sunday’s Gospel reading was the parable of the Good Samaritan. This reading is one that is close to the Mission of St Patrick’s and Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA). One of our touchstones for authenticity is Inclusive Community. This calls us to celebrate diversity and be a welcoming and inclusive community based on right relationships. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, those that should have helped the desperate and dying man on the side of the road chose to ignore him because association with such a person was below their station or need at the time. In essence, the priest and Levite asked themselves …” If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? Whilst the Samaritan who did stop thought … “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him? The true measure of the Samaritan was not that he just stopped to assist the man and take him to be treated and find shelter, but he returned later to see if there was other things that he could do to help. He formed a relationship based on the respect for the dignity of that person.

In a General Audience on 27 April this year, Pope Francis commented …

“True worship does not exist if it is not translated into service to one’s neighbour.Let us never forget it: in the face of suffering of so many people destroyed by hunger, by violence and injustices,we cannot remain spectators.What does it mean to ignore man’s suffering?It means to ignore God!

Right relationships and respect for the dignity of all is the foundation of inclusive Catholic communities. As a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice Tradition, we are called not only to teach these values to our students but also model them in our practices as a Catholic community. This can, at times, be counter-cultural and cause tensions with wider community expectations.

Next Tuesday, our teaching staff will host all of our parents and students at the Semester One Parent Teacher Interviews. It is important that students also attend this evening with their parents as they need to hear the teacher feedback. This allows for better discussions with parents and students both before and after the interviews. It is also important that our young men take responsibility for their own actions in improving their learning and results. This process is a very good way to assist them to develop a form of reflective practice whereby they can talk to parents before the interviews, be a part of discussions with their teachers and parents and work with parents and teachers to set goals and actions to reach these goals. I would encourage all parents, based on my 30+ years of teaching, to ensure that their son(s) take responsibility for their own actions with their results and not allow them to fall into the habit of continually blaming other factors.

We have recently appointed Mrs Jacqueline Upton into the new role of Marketing and Communications Manager. Jacqueline has a strong background in marketing and communications both within various industry groups and more recently as the Director – Marketing and Public Relations at Clayfield College. Her role takes over much of the work done by Zoe Morgan in terms of the College website and social media platforms as well as the College publications and marketing. Jacqueline will commence working with us from Monday 8 August.

Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to attend some of the Confraternity Rugby League carnival in Rockhampton. The carnival runs over a week and the squad of 22 boys play 6 games during this time. Our team competed in the first division of the shield. I was most impressed with the standard of play and the level of sportsmanship shown by all teams within the competition. I know that each of the young men who attended enjoyed a great experience both on and off the field. I would particularly like to mention Mr John Tucker for his organisation with accommodation, travel and events throughout the week. The team was very well coached and managed by Mr Chris Essex, Mr Brian Polich and Mr Steve Lawrence. Mr Robert Yeo also assisted with the training and organisation during the games. Jacob Lawrence, last year’s College Captain, assisted with player preparation, injury, first aid and rehabilitation during the week. Overall, it was a great week of sport and fun. There were also a number of games, clinics, camps and competitions for our students in Basketball, Tennis and Cross-Country. Again, these opportunities would not have been possible if not for the generous support of some our staff members. Over the holidays I also accepted the resignation of Mr Corey Meehan. I did this with mixed feelings as Corey has been a wonderful role model for the students and respected coach, strength and conditioning coordinator as well as sport coordinator for some of our AIC sports. Corey has moved to a new area of employment within the security systems with Queensland hospitals. We will have a chance to formally farewell Corey at our Trimester Sports Awards Assembly on Tuesday 26 July.

Next Tuesday afternoon, Mr Chris Campbell, Mrs Elizabeth Gaber and I will attend a seminar at the Brisbane Convention Centre. The seminar will be hosted by the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) and will focus on the formulation of ATAR scores under the new Senior Assessment and Tertiary entry requirements that will be in place for our current Year 9 students. Unfortunately, this will mean that I will not be able to attend the Parent/Teacher Interviews until later in the evening.

Over the holidays, I also had the opportunity to attend the Catholic Secondary Principals of Australia (CaSPA) conference in Melbourne. It was a very interesting and enjoyable three days where College Principals from Catholic schools across the country gather to meet and share ideas and interact with some excellent keynote speakers of National and International acclaim.

I look forward to another enjoyable term.

God Bless!

Mr Chris Mayes - College Principal