From the Principal

One of the great things about working in a school is the opportunity for engaging with the broader school community via major functions. Last Friday we had the second of what I am sure will now be an annual event, the very popular Mother’s Day Breakfast. In 2014 we sold out and used all available tables in the College, seating 330, but this year we put on a few extra tables and were able to seat 402! It was great seeing all the boys sitting and chatting with their mums and having the opportunity to spend time together at what we think is not only a fun, but an important and significant, event on our calendar. We all love our mums, so it’s great to be able to hold an event to celebrate all they do for us.

A special thank you to all the helpers who supported our magnificent Parent Network to make the event run so smoothly, but the real hero was Julie Car, who took responsibility for the planning, organisation and administration. Julie did an amazing job and it was great to see so many mothers and sons having a lovely time. The breakfast was followed by a presentation to the mothers by our two guest speakers, College Counsellors Ms Karina Dubroja and Ms Maree Keel. In addition to outlining the services and support offered in their roles, Ms Dubroja and Ms Keel spoke on the transformational relationship between mother and son; very topical!

Time and Space – Father and Son Evening

Another significant community event last week was the Time and Space event on Monday, a Father and Son Evening for the Years 8 students. After the success of the program last year, our Personal Development Coordinator Ms Jo Dickson organised Bill Jennings to bring his ‘Stepping Up’ activities back to the College. On the Time and Space website Bill presents information as to how his program essentially provides an avenue to support the growing mindfulness in the Western world about how important it is to be a good dad. Fathers are clearly the role models who show their sons what it is to be men.

Time & Space for Fathers and Sons gives dads the chance to get advice from a source they probably hadn’t considered: teenage boys. The session sets up a relaxed space for fathers to have significant conversations with boys (not just their own son) about what matters to them, their memories and their hopes for the future. One of the key elements is setting up a listening foundation for the adolescent journey ahead. With over 70 pairs of sons and dads in attendance the evening was very successful and the feedback overwhelmingly positive.

The mums will have their turn for Time and Space with the Year 7 Mother and Son night, scheduled for Wednesday 5 August – don’t miss out! Details will be available closer to the time.

Founder’s Day – Friday 15 May

Next Friday 15 May we celebrate our annual Founder’s Day. Each year on this day we reflect on the rich history of the Lasallian mission and celebrate the man whose vision and dedication to providing a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor, launched the worldwide Lasallian network, which today educates over one million students across 80 countries.

While the educational landscape is continually evolving there is one constant here at Malvern. The everyday influence of our Lasallian charism guides all our endeavours, for everyone from our Year 4 students through to the Board Directors. I often make the point when speaking to prospective parents at College Tours that the five intrinsic hallmarks of a Lasallian education – Faith in God, quality education for all, an inclusive environment, service to the poor and respect for self and others – are just as relevant today in Malvern as they were in Reims in the 1680s.

Ms Haylene Peipert and the Year 12 College Leaders have done a tremendous job in organising a day of celebration, beginning with Mass, to acknowledge the ongoing guidance of our Founder. It promises to be a great day to remember and honour St John Baptist de La Salle’s legacy.

College staff

On Friday we farewelled our Business Manager of seven and a half years, Mrs Ann Corcoran, who has decided to join her husband in retirement. Ann joined the College in January 2008 and after filling several gaps and roles in the administration and impressing all and sundry with her skills, competence and capabilities, she was offered the position of Business Manager. Ann has overseen some very successful years in the financial administration of the College and her wisdom, support, experience and advice have been invaluable to both the Board and myself as Principal. While we will all miss her cheery presence around the office, we wish Ann all the very best in her retirement – she already has three trips planned!

Ms Kerrie Jordan joined us on April 13 as the new Director of Finance and Administration. Kerrie was a stand-out in both the selection criteria and interview and the panel was unanimous in endorsing her for the position. Kerrie brings a wealth of experience in both the corporate sector and local government, having held senior finance posts in both these areas. She is also a CPA, holds a Master’s in Business Administration and is already settled in and becoming accustomed to all that the role entails.

Grease

After the very successful closing performance of Grease on Saturday night we can now reflect on what an outstanding success the musical was in so many ways. This was the first year of a formal partnership between De La Salle and OLSH Colleges, as we commit not only to a senior production each year, but the promotion and championing of performing arts in both schools, with the clearly articulated goal of providing opportunities for talented and creative young men and women to express themselves and just perform.

Besides the obvious stars on stage who were so prominent and magnificent, having so much fun in their singing, dancing and acting, Grease provided an avenue for a sense of belonging, identity and heightened self-esteem for dozens of other students who took on chorus roles or helped out with the sets, stage management etc. As Director, Mr Andrew Murrell has devoted simply hundreds of hours to this venture and the results were not only glorious for the audience to revel in — but from an educational, wellbeing and creative standpoint, the benefits for the students are enormous. I often dropped in to rehearsals just to observe and to see the energy, camaraderie, creativity and rapport among all the staff, cast and crew.

I have seen well over 20 school musicals and productions over the years and the 2015 production of Grease certainly ranks among the very best. The singing, dancing and acting were just terrific and most importantly, gave a huge number of young men and women an opportunity to be on stage, be creative and express/demonstrate their talents.

While they were invisible for much of each performance the musicians equally deserve our plaudits. I know many schools will only use professional musicians for their productions but our boys and the OLSH girls were superb and their workload extraordinary. As a College we are so lucky to have Ms Cindy Frost, who led, taught, inspired and mentored her charges with great skill and such wonderful dedication. The students in that orchestra will remember the experience forever.

I would like to acknowledge and thank the following staff who gave up a good deal of time and devoted a great deal of effort to supporting the musical. These shows just cannot go ahead without skilled and loyal people like the following:

Olivia Wenzcel – Assistant Choreographer
Kerry Martin – Producer & Publicity
Marg McPhee – Stage Manager
Paul Fegan – Assistant Stage Manager
David Happ – Set & Costume Design
Clare Kennedy – Wardrobe Assistant
Marisa Di Giacomo – Wardrobe & Design
Freda Siomos — Wardrobe & Design
Tim Hogan & Yr 11 VET Building & Construction class – Set construction
Jonathan Hewett – Photography & Publicity
Leah Hartmann – Publicity
Christine Bassili – Make-up
Emily Scott – Make-up
Amanda Tehan – Make-up

I’m sure all the people mentioned above will be glad the process is over and they can have their lives back but on behalf of all in the College – thank you! It was, quite simply, an extraordinary event made even better by extraordinary people.

Click here to see the full report and photos.

La Salle Green Hills Exchange comes to an end

For the past two weeks we have been hosting our visitors from La Salle Green Hills in Manila. As part of our annual exchange nine students and three teachers from Manila made the trip to Melbourne for a range of cultural, social, religious and historical activities.

I am very grateful to Mr David Happ, Lasallian Exchange Coordinator, who worked tirelessly for months to ensure the visit was successful. Our guests were kept busy via a packed itinerary with both host families and the school, including trips to Federation Square, Healesville Sanctuary, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Central, Sorrento, Queenscliff, Lorne and St Patrick’s Cathedral. We now look forward to our students making the trip to the Philippines in 2016.

Mr Peter Houlihan
Principal

Back to The Duce Issue 2015 06 - 7 May 2015