Sunday’s Gospel reading was from John’s Gospel was about what we often refer to as the “doubting Thomas” story. In the reading, Jesus tells Thomas to follow him and God will have a place for them. Thomas and Philip asked Jesus to show them where they were going and proof of what God had in store for them.

In our contemporary world, at face value, such a request would be considered quite normal. We are in a world where trust of others appears to be at a lower point than previous decades and we often want instant proof and solutions to our problems or concerns. Such matters were not available in the times when the Gospel was written. Therefore, trusting the words of others was far more accepted in those times. However, as we know, Jesus was not asking the disciples to follow him to a physical earthly place to be with God. His words were about what actions do we take on earth and to have faith in the reward for such actions after life on earth. In a modern world where so much reliance is placed on solutions, proof or evidence, it is easy to understand why the concept of “having faith” could be lost. Jesus was telling Thomas and Philip that they had lived with him and followed him and listened to him, they knew who he was so why did they question where he was leading them. It might be an interesting experience for each of us to look at ourselves and see where we place our own faith and trust and how solid that this might be. Certainly, in our Catholic Church, faith is the foundation to our beliefs.

It is my hope that our many mothers enjoyed a very special Mother’s Day last Sunday. I would like to thank all the mothers who found time to join us for a special morning tea at Curlew Park on Saturday and all the Year 5 students who performed for their mothers during the morning tea. It is so important for young men to have strong positive relationships with important women in their lives, particularly their mothers.

Over the past three days we have hosted colleagues from Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) to implement a school renewal process on the College. The process has included several interviews from teachers, support staff, parents, students, committee members, past students and College Board members. The School Renewal Identity Team has consisted of Mr Ray Paxton (National Director Identity Liberating Education), Mr Peter Chapman (Regional Manager Northern – EREA) and peer College Principal, Mr Daniel Lawlor (St Edmund’s College, Canberra). In the coming weeks, we will receive a report from the review which will outline commendations of what is being done well at the College and some recommendations for us to implement into the future. I would like to publicly thank the panel for spending three very busy days within our community and for their insights and suggestions for our ongoing growth as a College community.

Over the past weeks, the College Leadership Team and Middle Leaders have started to increase our dialogue and planning for the new Senior Assessment and Tertiary Entrance procedures to begin with the 2019 Year 11 cohort. The first Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) score will be given to Year 12 students in 2020 replacing the current Overall Position (OP) score. Our planning is focussed on what we do know will happen, however there are still a number of facts and information that we still do not have. I would like our community to know that we will be ready for the new system and will start to inform parents, particularly those of Year 10 students, as soon as we believe that we have enough definite information. The changes will require a lot more planning and consideration than just simply a new mode of calculation for a tertiary entrance score. It is our hope that we will be able to hold a parent information night regarding this sometime in the third term.

The combined College Musical performances start next week. Over the past months, there have been well over one hundred young men and women auditioning and practicing for these performances. The High School Musical promises to be great entertainment and I have been reliably informed that the shows are selling out very quickly. I would encourage all families to attend one of the shows to support the large number of young men and women who have given up so much of their time to be in the show. I hope to see many of our families there.

Last Friday evening, our Chessmen hosted St Laurence’s College and performed admirably and were victorious overall. The team is currently undefeated. On Saturday, our rugby and football players also performed strongly against a bigger school. Once again our First XV and First XI teams are also undefeated to date. Our students were outstanding in the way that they competed and hosted our fellow EREA school throughout the day. Having home games is more than playing on our own fields, it is also about making our opponents and their supporters feel welcome.

However, if I am being totally honest I was disappointed with some of the words and actions of a few of the adults from the sidelines. I would particularly refer to the First XI Football game. As both teams were undefeated it was always going to be a hard fought and very competitive game as one would expect. The College Leadership Team has constantly encouraged our young men to concentrate on competing to the best of their abilities and respecting their opponents and the match officials in every game. In last week’s article, I explained our stance with our young men regarding our standards for player behaviour on the field and supporter behaviour off the field. We do not want our players blaming the opposition or match officials as an excuse for the cause of their own behaviour.

I ask the adults on the sideline to please consider these expectations and support us in demonstrating and modelling good sportsmanship and respect for opponents to the young men who are playing and supporting. Sideline comments can have a significant impact upon what happens on a field. Negative comments about opponents or referees more often than not only fuel poor behaviour on the field. Conversely, positive comments and support often leads to not only better behaviour on the field but also better team performances.

It is important for all of us to remember that we are not competing in club or professional sport, we are competing in a schoolboy sporting competition that aims to promote good sportsmanship and strong healthy competition. I urge our (adult) supporters to join with our student body in setting our own high standards for supporting our teams so that each game is not only an enjoyable experience for everyone on the sideline but also the players and coaches and match officials as well, who give their time to assist us and our young men each week.

Live Jesus in our Hearts.

Mr Chris Mayes - College Principal