From the Principal
As we approach Palm Sunday and celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on the weekend before Easter, it is worth reflecting on the most important week in the Catholic calendar. Palm Sunday is of course the beginning of Holy Week, the week before Easter, commemorating events in the final days of Christ’s life. According to our Catholic belief, Jesus rode into Jerusalem during the Jewish Passover celebration where the people gave him a hero’s welcome. The use of a donkey instead of a horse is highly symbolic; representing the humble arrival of someone in peace, as opposed to arriving on a horse in times of war.
Having heard of his miracles and influential message the people considered him the leader who would deliver them from the Roman Empire’s domination. They carried palm branches — a traditional symbol of peace and victory — and spread them throughout the streets before him. However, only a few days later the mood of the crowd would change dramatically and Jesus was crucified like a common thief.
Palm Sunday and Holy Week is also a time for Christians to remember Jesus’ suffering before his death and resurrection and, more importantly, reflect upon what personal meaning that may have for each of us in our daily lives in 2016.
One relevant contemporary link I would ask all our students to make between Holy Week, culminating in Christ’s death and resurrection, is the concept of sacrifice. While the days of these events two thousand years ago may seem a long time ago, the message of sacrifice, selflessness and thinking of others first is timeless. Regardless of the depth of one’s faith in 2016 these themes remain a key focus for the manner in which we educate our young men. The way they relate to each other, treat their peers, conduct themselves in the public domain and adhere to our five key principles all come from the central events and resultant lessons of Easter, passed down over the centuries.
Faith in the presence of God, a devotion to social justice and a keen awareness of the value of respect and inclusiveness – these four Lasallian principles all link to the fifth i.e. a quality education. The combination of these ideals and our wonderful tradition of service to the poor enables our students and indeed all in the De La Salle community to unite in that spirit of sacrifice and giving, so relevant in Holy Week.
As we celebrate our own Easter Liturgy here in the gym on Wednesday morning, I encourage all our students to take advantage of the remaining days before Mission Action Day on Thursday to reflect on the plight of their fellow Lasallians in India, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and South Sudan, plus facilities like Foundation House in Dandenong, which cares for asylum seekers. When we consider the positive impact our generosity and dedication of time and spirit can have on these communities so much less fortunate than ours, I’m sure each student can find it within himself to sacrifice a little more to source sponsorship for Mission Action Day.
St Patrick’s Day Mass
Yesterday I was privileged to attend the annual St Patrick’s Day Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the city. Mrs Rana Brogan, Deputy Principal Faith & Mission joined me, accompanied by College Captain Anthony Arceri and Vice Captains Sean O’Callaghan and Tim Fierenzi, the latter two being invited to greet and sit with Hon Michael O’Brien, the Shadow Treasurer, our local MP, State Member for Malvern. This event is a great celebration of Catholic education, with representatives from most of the 300-plus schools in the Melbourne Archdiocese.
House Athletics Carnival
While it occurred two weeks ago I would like to make mention of the magnificent day we all enjoyed at the House Athletics Carnival on March 4 at Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park. Superbly run by House Sport Coordinator Michael Wilson, making his debut as organiser of a major event, the carnival was a tremendous success on all fronts. Our second year at Lakeside proved a winning choice as the professional facilities and grandstand accommodation (in the shade all day!) genuinely added quality to the event. The view of four distinct sets of House colours in the stadium, the mass participation and perhaps most noteworthy, the great leadership, support and encouragement given by the Year 12 students were real highlights. The Athletics Carnival is a great vehicle for the House system, where students and staff alike build their House spirit, allegiance and loyalty. This in turn creates a genuine sense of identity and belonging for one’s House, giving us the opportunity and momentum to further embed the House system across all areas of the College.
Old Collegians’ Business Breakfast
Early yesterday morning I joined approximately 70 Old Collegians for a Business Breakfast at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. I am particularly keen for these events to develop further as we have a tremendous sense of unity, identity, loyalty and commitment among our very broad Old Collegians network. It was great to see President of the Old Collegians’ Association Mr Tony McIlroy in attendance. In concert with Tony, the College is looking to increase interaction between current and past students and build community links.
Deputy Principal – Staff & Operations Mr Tom Ryan did a superb job as MC, chairing a panel of notable Old Collegians in a Q & A style forum. Our three guests were Greg Barns, Anthony Klarica and Tom Murphy.
Greg was educated at De La Salle College from 1974–1979. He graduated in Arts and Law from Monash University in 1984 and practiced at the Victorian Bar from 1986–1989. From 1989–1999 he worked for a number of federal and state premiers and ministers and in 1999 ran the Republic Referendum campaign with Malcolm Turnbull. He was National Chair of the Australian Republican Movement from 2000-02. Greg was National President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance in 2011–2012 and is an Ambassador for Beyond Blue. He is a legal adviser to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and practices at the Tasmanian and Victorian Bars. Greg advocates for asylum seekers and is a weekly columnist with the Hobart Mercury as well as a contributor to a number of other national and international publications and media outlets. He is currently President of the Tasmanian State League club (AFL) Hobart City Demons and Chair of the Prisoners Legal Service in Tasmania.
Anthony (Class of 1984) runs his own business, Elite Performance, which specialises in maximising sport performance, and has worked with top athletes in many sports from Olympic Games to AFL and V8 Supercars. He recently moved from AFL club Hawthorn, where he was a consultant for eight years, to Carlton FC. He also consults with Tennis Australia, where he has established a national ‘culture and mental skills’ program at High Performance Academies around the country.
Tom Murphy (Class of 2003) was selected as the 21st pick in the 2004 AFL Draft. He spent eight years with Hawthorn, winning Hawthorn’s Most Improved Player award in 2008 and voted Best Clubman in 2010.
From 2012 to 2014 Tom played for the Gold Coast Suns, playing 18 games with them and taking his career games tally to 113, including nine finals games.
He retired from AFL at the end of the 2014 season and now works as an industrial real estate agent for CBRE, specialising in both sales and leasing in Melbourne’s western region. As a side note, Tom’s younger brother Liam is the 2016 House Captain for Mark’s House here at the College
All three speakers were terrific in their engaging comments, ideas and advice in response to the various questions, based around a theme of achieving personal excellence, a specific goal for all of our students here at De La Salle.
Thank you to Alumni Officer Mrs Trish Woodman and Ms Leah Hartmann, Marketing & Communications Manager, for their organisation and running of the event. This is exactly the sort of community interaction we are seeking to grow with the Old Colls network, so I’m sure there’ll be more similar events in the future.
First XI Premiership
Congratulations to Mr Marty Rhoden and the 1st X1 Cricket team, which won the ACC Premiership yesterday in convincing fashion. This is Marty’s fourth ACC 1st X1 Premiership with De La in the past six years, an extraordinary achievement, especially seeing as our last premiership prior to Marty taking over was in 1993. In a nice added touch, this makes ten ACC 1st X1 premierships for the Rhoden family as Marty’s father coached St Bede’s to six straight titles in the 1960s. Well done to all players who represented the Firsts and especially to Captain Will Taylor. Will has done an outstanding job as a mature and astute tactician and demonstrated wonderful leadership and passion in guiding the 1st X1 this season.
Year 7, 2017
This week we began, for the second year now, interviewing all Year 6 applicants for Year 7, 2017. These are structured but largely informal interviews where we take the opportunity to talk with the Year 6 boys and their parents about their background, experiences, aspirations, strengths and challenges and what they’re looking forward to in relation to the prospect of joining us at Malvern next year. I see this as an important first step in the transition and orientation process for these young men as they move through the remaining months of primary school before “graduating” to secondary school. For the vast majority of these boys, De La Salle will be their academic home for the next six years so we are keen to get to know them and enable them to get to know us a little.
The Year 6s really enjoy the opportunity to speak about themselves and their schoolwork, co-curricula involvement and, quite commonly, their leadership roles as Year 6s. The parents appreciate the chance to ask questions about Year 7 and beyond, about how their sons will be supported and what opportunities they will have the chance to embrace. Interest in the College remains healthy and our changes via the Strategic Plan and the upcoming Master Plan are the source of much discussion. I look forward to welcoming these applicants as new students in 2017.
End of Term Arrangements
This is the final Duce for this term as we officially draw the short but furiously paced term to a close at 12:30pm next Thursday 24 March. The conclusion of the MAD walkathon is the end of term, with students dismissed from Basil Street Reserve.
Wishing you all a safe, happy and holy Easter.
Mr Peter Houlihan