Last Friday our students were invited to wear a bow tie for the day rather than their usual school tie. This gesture was open to all students within EREA schools across Australia. It was an initiative of the ERA for Change advocacy group whereby students were invited to become Stella Fellas to highlight the advocacy work being done for women who are victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. The issue of domestic violence is particularly poignant in Australian society at the moment and has been very much under the media and political spotlight. I also believe...
Last Friday our students were invited to wear a bow tie for the day rather than their usual school tie. This gesture was open to all students within EREA schools across Australia. It was an initiative of the ERA for Change advocacy group whereby students were invited to become Stella Fellas to highlight the advocacy work being done for women who are victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. The issue of domestic violence is particularly poignant in Australian society at the moment and has been very much under the media and political spotlight. I also believe that this issue is of significant importance for boys' schools as current statistics indicate that approximately 93% of victims are women. During Tuesday's Assembly I focused my address to the students on this issue. Research completed by Jane Mulroney (Senior Research Officer) for the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearing House reveals that 23% of women who have ever been married or in a de facto relationship, experienced violence by a partner at some time during the relationship. Furthermore, her research found that younger women (18 – 24 years) were at greater risk.
My point to our student body was that we all have the power to influence other people. This is a good thing in that our lives are shaped by not only our experiences by the influence that other people have had on us. However, our challenge is the way in which we use power to influence others. The unfortunate reality of the statistics around domestic violence is that physical power in the form of violence or sexual abuse has occurred. In our Catholic community, power should always be about relationships. If we are to influence others in a positive way, it needs to be done through right relationships and a respect for the dignity of the other. This is not the case in domestic violence. Many of our young men are reaching an age where they will be developing relationships with young women. Our role as significant adults to these young men is to model to them what should be expected in a relationship that is considered to be a 'right relationship'. It is not a case of them looking for the right person for them but rather for them to be the right person. Consequently, their behaviour and expectations in their relationships need to be about equality and respect. My final word to the young men was that if they can develop a self-awareness about how they react to situations in moments of pressure or fear, this can be significant to them in the future. If they currently react through physical or verbal abuse, there is a clear message for them to learn. As significant adults, it is the role for all of us to challenge them on this behaviour and assist them to look at alternative ways to deal with these situations. Good strong messages around condemnation of domestic violence and violent behaviour need to be constantly reinforced to our young men and the Stella Fella day was a great way to start a dialogue, not matter what age of our students.
We will be soon asking for interested families to assist us in our Indigenous Homestay program by offering to host an Indigenous student/s for next year so that they can attend the College. At this point we are unsure how many students will be attending. However, we will be holding an information night for parents on the evening of Wednesday 6 October. I would encourage any family who might be interested to attend this meeting.
Last Friday evening, we received the news that Mrs Susan Harris gave birth to a baby boy. Rory Harris is safe and sound and Susan is resting and well. Also, Mrs Stevie-Jae Hepburn finished at the College to commence a period of maternity leave. Stevie-Jae will be on leave until the end of the first semester next year. Mrs Annette Holmes has replaced her for this period of leave.
On Monday evening I had the opportunity to attend the Year 12 QTAC evening and the Year 11 Drama performance. The QTAC evening was well attended by families and students and I would like to thank Mr Chris Campbell and Mrs Emily Rotta for their organisation of the evening. We were also fortunate to have many of the Brisbane based universities have a booth in the Callan Centre on the evening to meet before the main presentation. I was most impressed with the Year 11 Drama presentation. The students worked with Year 11 students from St John Fisher College over a period of just six weeks. What they produced on the night was very good. The Year 12 students perform tonight and tomorrow night, also with students from St John Fisher College. The performance will be at St John Fisher on both nights.
Last night I attended the UHL Cup Football final. This is a competition of teams from schools spread across the South East corner of Queensland. Our First XI football team competed against Brisbane State High School for the trophy last night. This game was the culmination of many knock-out games that were played from the beginning of the second term. On the final whistle BSHS defeated our team 2-0. However, as Principal of the College, I was extremely proud of the way that our team performed, not only last night but throughout the entire season. I would also make special mention of Harry Smith, not only because of his skills and abilities as a footballer, but his leadership throughout the campaign was outstanding. I was also very proud of our supporters. The game was played at 7:45pm at Annerley football ground and we filled two 54 seat buses and also had to use the College bus. Many of these young men remained at school after classes finished and studied and worked in the library until 6:00pm. They very much outnumbered the BSHS supporters and their support for our team was exceptional. The College Principal and coach of the opposition as well as the opposition captain all commented to me about the number of our students who attended to support our team and the great atmosphere that they created.
I ask the community to keep Mr Nick Scully and his children in your prayers. Nick is the College Principal of St Brendan's Yeppoon, another of our EREA network schools. Nick's wife recently passed away after a battle with cancer and her funeral was held on Friday.
Next Tuesday and Wednesday many of our Year 12 students will undertake the Queensland Core Skills (QCS) Test. The students have been practising for the tests since the beginning of the year and their results from the practice tests have been steadily improving. I am sure that the whole community would join with me in wishing the students the very best for these tests.