10 February 2017
← From the Principal
From the Principal
Over the past two weeks, members of the College Leadership have met with many families from boys across most year levels within the College. I always enjoy these evenings as it not only allows us to put forward our expectations and aspirations for the year but also an opportunity to meet with parents and students afterwards and hear about their own aspirations for the year ahead. I hope that the many families that attended found the sessions to be relevant and useful. The presentations will be placed on the College website for all to review at your leisure. Once again, if you have any feedback for us in regard to the presentations, please pass your comments onto me or Mrs Jacqueline Upton at email@example.com.
We held our opening assembly and senior student induction last Friday morning. It was a wonderful occasion and our first in the Christian Brothers Building. During the assembly I spoke to the boys about what makes our community so strong. I have included a significant part of the address below.
"Recently I was watching the ABC news when I saw a story about a rally in the USA regarding the recent executive order by the President in limiting migration rights for people from certain countries to enter into their country. In the story there were a number of demonstrators in the background waving placards disputing and rallying against the decision made by Mr Trump. One particular placard caught my attention. It was held by a young girl in the crowd in front of the news camera. It simply read…
There can be no human rights without humanity!
We often talk of human rights and the notion of rights in general. The term means as it says: one has a right to a particular action, consideration or something of importance. In essence, a right is often considered to be an entitlement. Human rights include such things as the right to a name, a nationality, shelter, food, education etc. To each of us such things are normal, we all have them and always have. However as we know and some of us may have experienced, there are many people in the world, especially those in third world countries, that do not have all of these things or an opportunity to have access to them. After consideration, the sign started to make more sense to me. The last word in the statement held the key.
If one was to search for the meaning of the word humanity, they would find words or phrases such as … human beings collectively, being benevolent or being humane to others. Humanity (or being humane to one another) is about working together in groups or communities and being helpful and loving towards one another. In the context of the news story, the placard was suggesting that the USA President was not being humane because he was deliberately stopping certain people from having the opportunity of being a part of American communities. In a global context, humanity is about acceptance and inclusiveness of one another and a willingness to show love and respect to others. Support and help others wherever possible or needed.
But let’s today consider this statement in notion of our own College and the community that we form together. We have 1327 students, 106 teacher and 65 support staff who bring their own gifts and own stories to St Patrick’s each day. I have often said that good schools are good because of the people that reside within them not the buildings or facilities. The sum total of people on this property each day comes to nearly 1500 people. One could ask, how do 1500 people gather in a relatively small space each day and not just survive together but thrive together. I believe that the answer is held within the idea of humanity. We are a collection of people who do show care and concern towards one another and this, in turn promotes a loving community. How often do you hear past and present students say that they LOVE this school. I think that it would be fair to say that they do not mean that they love the facilities or the O’Connor Building or other buildings. In essence, they are saying that they love the people around them because they make them feel valued and special and happy to be a part of this gathering of people that we call St Patrick’s College.
Our daily actions in showing compassion, support and care for one another creates our humanity. Our Catholic faith describes this as bringing about the Kingdom of God. Consider that phrase: Kingdom of God. A Kingdom is a community, hence a kingdom of God is a community that has Jesus at its heart. As a Catholic School our Mission is to form community that makes all feel welcome, valued and valuable. A place where all feel loved.
A Catholic community should never develop into a place where some feel that they have special entitlements while others fall around them or where some are comfortable in having much power and a willingness to use this to the detriment of others.
We must always be aware that showing humanity to others is not something that is turned off or on in different situations or circumstances. It has to be a part of our core or soul. To be truly humane means to be always looking for the good in others and working to assist others in whatever way we can. We should not be a community that shuns the most vulnerable or marginalized or one that delights in the failings or mistakes of others. If Jesus is truly at the heart of St Patrick’s, we are called to go out of our way … change if necessary … to show love to everyone around us and bring out their best so that they can be the best person that they can be!
Our light … at St Patrick’s, I believe is our diversity. Despite what we see and read through the news and hear some world leaders say… diversity is not to be feared but embraced. It is good that each of us is different because it allows us to all add to this College in different ways. And if each of us looks to the good in the other and brings out their best, we cannot help but be a good school that reflects what our faith calls the Kingdom.
This morning we gather as community, staff, students, special guests and families to prayer for our school year and proudly acknowledge our senior students who will complete their final year with us this year. This is a special occasion. It is a sacred occasion in that we gather together in communion celebrated by Mass. In our faith, this demonstrates the importance of the occasion. The rest of the student body is looking to each of you gentlemen for example throughout this year.
If our diversity is our light, I ask the senior students to be the torchbearers for this light.Our hope is that as student leaders you will not forget the meaning of being a Man of Action and that such men value faith, learning and humility. You will create our Kingdom through interacting respectfully with others to form right relationships, understanding and respecting diversity and the gifts that this brings to all of us, being involved in good things and to encourage others to be involved in good things and always be respectful of learning for it is through learning that we grow to be the man that we are.
To Tom, Lachlan, Pearson and Jacob … congratulations on being chosen by your peers as their representatives. I know that you will do this with humility and a great sense of service.To all of the other senior students, your role within our College is significant. I know that you will not take this for granted and that you will also serve the student body with humility and love for all.I look forward to working with each of you over this year and I am very confident that our College community will be a better place because of your leadership and example."