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This week marks an important week in our Lenten season. Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. The Mass was different from our usual Sunday rituals. Firstly, there was a ritual with the reading of the Gospel before the usual sequence of the Mass and then there was the blessing of the palms and procession into the church carrying the palms. Secondly, the Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ was read where the Gospel would have ordinarily have been read. These readings explain the final days for Jesus Christ before his death on Good Friday. It is an extraordinary story of the fickle nature of people and how mobs can so easily be manipulated by those who have self-serving agendas. On Palm Sunday, Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem with open arms with crowds lining the street dropping palms and cloaks onto the road in front of him as his rode into the city. In less than a week, he was prosecuted, persecuted and killed by many of the same people. The treachery was done by the chief priests who saw Jesus as a threat to their faith and power. The most despairing betrayal was that of Judas, one of his disciples. This Friday and Sunday are two very significant days in our faith. On Good Friday we participate in a very solemn ceremony commemorating the death of Jesus through crucifixion on the cross. It is a ritual that allows us to reflect upon the life of Jesus and the meaning that his life brings to us. This meaning is usually reflected in our own actions and beliefs. In our Catholic faith, Jesus “died so that we could live”. It is through the example of how he lived his life that we were truly shown how to “live life to the full”. On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We are shown that there is new life after death and that following the life of Jesus we also will find new life. Our young men come to a Catholic community each school day where Jesus is placed into the centre of what we do. They learn how to live the life of Jesus through the religious education that they receive in the classroom and by participating in the religious life of the school. This is done through the simple things such as how we treat each other through to participation in retreats and the many service programs and opportunities made available to the students.

We recently forwarded a communication to all families regarding the new student reporting processes. Now that we have moved to continuous “live” reporting, there will not be an end of term report as has been the case in past years. This has been explained in the communication. The Parent/Teacher Interviews will occur as usual in the second term. Parents and students will also be notified (through REALM) of any exam results as they have been marked by the teachers.

Yesterday, the College staff and students started our final day with a Liturgy and farewell Assembly. Our Liturgy was a reminder to the students about the significance of the next few days in our Catholic faith. After the Liturgy, I thanked our staff for the wonderful work that they have done in the first term and farewelled Mrs Di McRoberts, Ms Rhiannon Hibberd and Mr Chris Campbell. Each of these staff members are leaving us. Di McRoberts has been with us for a short time and has worked in the area of Learning Support for three days a week. Di has a vast amount of expertise in this area and we have been very fortunate to have her with us during the past year. One of her legacies will be the knowledge that she has imparted onto the staff in this area. Di will be travelling to Scotland to spend some time with her son. Rhiannon has been with us for over three years. She has done an outstanding job teaching from Year 5 Science and Maths through to Year 12 Biology. Rhiannon is well-known within our community for her planning, preparation and teaching skills. Her movement to Ormiston College will certainly be our loss and their gain. On behalf of this community, I wish them the very best in their future endeavours.

Mr Chris Campbell leaves us to take the role of Head of Campus – Southern Cross College. He has been a past student (and school captain), former teacher of English and Religion and currently Dean of Teaching and Learning. Because of this, Chris has spent 22 years of his life associated with the College, which is also about a third of the life of the College. His impact on this school over those years has been very significant. He has guided the College through some quite significant educational changes from both within our own community and the external authorities and legislative changes and requirements. He has undertaken each of the roles mentioned above with great knowledge, expertise and humility. I have included a part of my farewell speech to Chris from this morning.

At St Patrick’s, we talk about forming Men of Action. We do this by developing men of faith, learning and humility. If Mr Campbell’s teachers from St Patrick’s in the 1970s could see the person that he has turned into since leaving this College, they would certainly believe that they had formed such a man and they would be very proud of their achievement.Personally, I would like to thank you for sharing your loyalty, friendship and professional expertise – I know that I have grown personally and professionally as a result of our acquaintance.

Great things are achieved by ordinary people doing extraordinary things – Mr Campbell is a clear testament to this.
I know that his decision to leave St Patrick’s was a difficult one and I am sure that you will all agree that our loss is Southern Cross College’s gain. Mr. Campbell, you will always be remembered fondly by the SPC community – as a man of action and role model to the many young man who you have taught, and for your significant contribution to the fabric of this school for almost one third of its existence. Thank you for all that you have done for us and continue to fight the good fight in Scarborough.

There are several co-curricular tours, camps and clinics taking place over the holiday break. I would like to thank the many staff members who are running these activities for the students. I am sure that their generosity of time to allow for these activities to happen is very much appreciated by the young men and their families.

The holiday break is an excellent time for each of our young men to relax and refresh so that they have renewed energy for the second term. It is also my hope that all families also can share some quality time with their children over the holiday period.

I wish everyone a Holy Easter break and look forward to gathering together again next term.

Live Jesus in our Hearts!

Mr Chris Mayes – College Principal