St. Patrick's College, Shorncliffe is a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice Tradition. I have often been asked why we are no longer called Christian Brothers' schools. Whilst the full answer can become quite complicated the shorter, less complicated version is that the Christian Brothers are diminishing in numbers. The consequence of this, for us, is that by canonical law, there can no longer be a Christian Brothers' school if there are no longer any Christian Brothers. Whilst this is not presently the case, the Brothers set about addressing the circumstance when their diminishing numbers in Australia...
St. Patrick's College, Shorncliffe is a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice Tradition. I have often been asked why we are no longer called Christian Brothers' schools. Whilst the full answer can become quite complicated the shorter, less complicated version is that the Christian Brothers are diminishing in numbers. The consequence of this, for us, is that by canonical law, there can no longer be a Christian Brothers' school if there are no longer any Christian Brothers. Whilst this is not presently the case, the Brothers set about addressing the circumstance when their diminishing numbers in Australia started to become very apparent in the 1990s. The choice that was faced was to give their schools over to the local diocesan systemic authorities, such as the Brisbane Catholic Education Office or try to start their own Catholic Church recognised entity. After much discussion and listening to staff within Brothers' schools across the state and country, it was decided to do the latter. Consequently, the emergence of Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA). We are very fortunate in that we are a part of a network of schools across the country that now number over 50 schools (including flexible-learning centres). These numbers (and financial and administrative) assets have allowed our schools to remain a separate entity and continue to be schools enriched by the charism of Edmund Rice and run by EREA as Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition. Currently, and into the future you may see other Religious Institute schools owned by varying orders of priests, nuns and brothers also having to make similar decisions.
Further to my explanation above, it is also most important to understand the reason for the name of Catholic School in the Edmund Rice Tradition. Quite clearly, the name suggests that first and foremost we are a Catholic school. Secondly, our school has its traditions founded within the charism of Edmund Rice. The best way to describe ''charism'is as a lens or a point of view. Each Catholic school that has been founded by an order of priests, brothers or nuns will have a particular view of their faith based on the experiences and teachings of their founder. In the case of Edmund Rice, the Gospel values from the Church's teachings that most encompass us include justice, peace and compassion. To ensure that we are true and authentic to these values, EREA has produced a Charter for our schools. This Charter includes four integral touchstones:
- Liberating Education
- Gospel Spirituality
- Inclusive Community
- Justice and Solidarity
Every five years, each EREA school undertakes a Renewal Process through EREA. The purpose of this process is to ensure that all of our schools are true to the Charter within the context of their own communities.
Besides being schools within the EREA network, we are also a school within the network of Catholic schools across the state and nation. Within Queensland we are one of 298 schools that cater for just under 20% of the student population. As a part of this great network, we celebrated Catholic Education Week last week. The theme for the week was Engaging Minds. Igniting Hearts. Serving Others. This week was also a great opportunity for the school community to thank the many adults who work within our schools for the invaluable role that they play in the formation of our students into men of faith and learning.
This is also an important week for our young men in Years 9 and 10 as they will be required to start their process of subject selections for next year. The Year 9 students will consider undertaking another elective to replace The Rite Journey program. In the case of the Year 10 students, we have trialled a new process this year. All of the students have already undertaken an on-line program and one on one counselling with counsellors from Business Improvement Australia (BIA). The purpose of this program is to allow the students to gather information on what options are available to them for opportunities after school. This information may then have some impact upon their subject choices for their senior schooling. The students and their parents will follow-up with these ideas when they complete their SET Plan and meet with their staff mentor to make their final subject decisions.
I had the great pleasure of attending the AIC Cross-country championships yesterday morning. This was the first time that the championships have been run during the week and also the first time that they have been inclusive of students from Year Five right through to Year Twelve. Our team was very well prepared by the coaching staff and led by team captain Jacob Caruana. I would particularly like to thank Mr Doug Locke and Mr Paul Toohey for their efforts with all of the planning and organization throughout the season. I was delighted to see the efforts of each of our students, they certainly gave the best that they could on the day. The individual results will be listed within the sports section but I would like to particularly mention Jacob Caruana's effort in leading the team and winning the Open age group in his last year at the College. The coaches also rated Matthew Beard's (Year 12) effort as the "run of the day". Once again this was Matthew's last run for the College and a true testimony of his efforts throughout the year. I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of our College Captain, Jacob Lawrence during the day. Jacob has been training with the team from the beginning of the year. Unfortunately he broke his arm playing Rugby League for the College in the recent confraternity carnival, but he showed up today and assisted in whatever way that he could and cheered each student through to their finish. The efforts of both Jacobs and Matthew epitomize the great Paddies' spirit that is being flourished by our current senior cohort. Well done men!
As many of you may be aware, there has been quite a deal said through the social media and general media outlets regarding the Sea View building of late. Unfortunately some of this information is based on supposition and urban myth. I have always endeavoured to keep our College community abreast of what is happening with the site. I have recently written to Lord Mayor Quirk and Cr Cooper and Cr Newton with regard to my disappointment regarding the views and conclusions that appear to have been reached by the Brisbane City Council without any contact or request for meetings with myself or any other representative of EREA. Probably the most concerning of these is the suggestion that it is our intention to demolish the building.
I would like to once again publically state that the College has no intention to demolish the building or the mango tree that is on the car park area. However, we have submitted some plans for some internal works to allow us to move the Uniform Shop into the building as I have mentioned in past correspondence with the College community. It would appear that a group within the Shorncliffe and Sandgate communities believe that our purchase of the property was the cause of the hotel's closure and that the property should be resold so that it can once again become a hotel. Again, whilst I understand the disappointment of the loss of the hotel to some residents in the area, I have clearly articulated to them that it is not our intention to place the building up for resale. Furthermore, we acquired the building as an unlicensed premises. I have been offered the opportunity to meet with Cr Amanda Cooper (Bracken Ridge) and Cr Victoria Newton (our local Councillor) later this month to put forward our plans for the building. I am most grateful to both Councillors for taking the time from their busy schedules to meet with me and I hope that the meeting will prove fruitful to all parties and the local community.