Last Friday morning we celebrated our opening College Mass and senior student leadership induction for 2015. Whilst the celebration had to be moved off-campus due to the building restrictions placed on the Callan Centre, the feedback that I have received was very encouraging. I was particularly proud of the comments that I received back from many of the special guests regarding the student body's participation, patience and respect for the occasion. I hope that each of the students, particularly the young men of Year 12, have fond memories of the ceremony. From a personal perspective, I certainly have such memories of...
Last Friday morning we celebrated our opening College Mass and senior student leadership induction for 2015. Whilst the celebration had to be moved off-campus due to the building restrictions placed on the Callan Centre, the feedback that I have received was very encouraging. I was particularly proud of the comments that I received back from many of the special guests regarding the student body's participation, patience and respect for the occasion. I hope that each of the students, particularly the young men of Year 12, have fond memories of the ceremony. From a personal perspective, I certainly have such memories of my induction into the principalship of this great College.
As a part of my induction, Dr Wayne Tinsey (Executive Director of Edmund Rice Education Australia) made many pertinent points in his address to the community. The two that have very much resonated with me are set around his point of what a commissioning means and the fact that I cannot (and should not) try to lead this community on my own. Dr Tinsey broke the word commission into two parts: these being co… and mission. In this sense he pointed out that to be commissioned into a leadership role, the meaning of the word requires the College Principal (and community) to share the Mission of EREA. This Mission is very clearly stated through the touchstones within the EREA Charter. It is interesting to note that EREA chose to use the notion of "touchstones" to deliver their mission to school communities across Australia. A touchstone by definition is a test or criterion for the qualities and authenticity of things. Clearly, the same concept applies to the EREA Mission within our schools. The touchstones are what we must use to prove our authenticity as a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice Tradition. The four touchstones that are the cornerstone of our schools are:
1. Education for liberation and fullness of life
2. Education inspired by the Gospel and its priorities
3. Education in communities of inclusion
4. Education promoting justice and solidarity
The second part to Dr Tinsey's speech was that as the Principal of this College, it is my role to work with the community to ensure that we remain authentic to the EREA Mission. He made the point that this cannot and should not be something that is the role and expectation of one person. As partners in the education of the young men of SPC, it needs to be the mission of each of us to aspire to be a truly authentic Catholic School in the Edmund Rice Tradition.
In my own address, I challenged the young men of the College to understand and aspire to becoming Men of Action as set out in the St. Patrick's College Student Pledge. My point to the students was that we first of all do this by becoming gentlemen. I do not believe that gentlemen should ever be perceived to be weak men as they are quite the opposite. They are men who are kind and caring in thought, thoughtful in action and compassionate and concerned for those around them. Gentlemen are men that have formed values that are firm and non-negotiable and have an integrity that ensures that these values guide them throughout their lives.
Placing this into our College context – Gentlemen are Men of Action who live their life through their faith and spirituality, acquire knowledge and skills and a desire to make the world a better place. They accept and welcome all members of the community while standing in solidarity with those at the margins.
I am aware that on such occasions as last Friday's Mass, some may see these speeches to be a necessary tradition or nice words for an occasion but carry little substance in the everyday busyness or routines of school community life. I would like to think that this is not the case within our own community.
I had a great time last Saturday morning walking around Curlew Park, the Callan Centre and the Cricket fields and Volleyball courts of Iona College. Our students seemed to be enjoying their sport and the encouragement and team spirit was very apparent. The four Paddies Battalion leaders, Ayden Winsen, Matthew Beard, Isaac Wilkinson and Roy Curin were outstanding with their leadership and support across all of the venues. Overall, it was a very successful day, especially with student participation and enjoyment.
The swimming carnivals have also been a great success with staff and students having an enjoyable time in the lovely surrounds of the Sandgate Swimming Pool. As well as being fun, this event is a great community building events for the Houses.
I would also like to "put in a plug" for the St. Patrick's Shindig. Whilst the Callan Centre is currently restricted in its use, this will not affect the Shindig. Much planning has already been done around the event and it would be great to see as many members of the community as possible attend. It will be in the Callan Centre on Saturday 28 March. More information will be given through the Calling.
Please feel welcome to come up and say hello to me whenever you see me at the different co-curricular events on Friday evening or Saturday, I enjoy meeting the parents of our students.