From the Principal
Welcome back to Term 4! As I write there has only been nine days of term but we have already been immersed in a wide range of events and activities.
Year 9 students have had Reflection Day, outdoor adventure camp at Howqua and Lasallian Service; Year 12 students conclude classes today; we’ve had two rounds of ACC Sport at Year 7 – 10; and there has been the VCE Media Awards, Lasallian Public Speaking Evening, primary school visits, ACC Chess, Year 7 2018 Information Evening, Model United Nations day and the VCE Music recital. This is a healthy indicator of a very lively and engaging school environment, with our students involved in a vast array of academic, artistic, cultural and sporting pursuits.
Improvement and Innovation
You would be well aware from my writings in Duce and presentations at various functions over the past couple of years that I have been very keen to emphasise my theme of improvement and innovation. Schools are simply not institutions which can afford to sit on their hands and rest on their laurels. The 21st century demands contemporary and progressive curriculum design and delivery and an accurate measurement of students’ growth and progress. These are intrinsic elements of our current drive to boost student outcomes.
As such we were buoyed by an analysis of last year’s NAPLAN results across the nation, tabled in The Weekend Australian two weeks ago. The table below lists us as the 50th top boys’ school in the country.
These results also place us tenth on the list of Victorian boys’ schools, as per the table below. This is a major achievement and worthy of recognition in relation to the work undertaken by staff and students alike to improve in the literacy and numeracy domains.
|7||Scotch College, Hawthorn||1|
|10||St Kevin’s College Heyington||3|
|15||Trinity Grammar, Kew||5|
|23||Yeshivah and Beth Rivkah, St Kilda||7|
|33||Mazenod College, Mulgrave||8|
|46||Whitefriars College, Donvale||9|
|50||De La Salle College – Tiverton Campus||10|
While I’d be the first to concede there is a good deal more to making a great school than just impressive NAPLAN scores, this is a vindication of the work so many have applied to the betterment of our learning and teaching program at De La Salle.
Blessed Br Solomon to be Canonised this Week
Pope Francis has announced French De La Salle Brother Solomon Le Clerq will be canonised in a ceremony in the Vatican on 16 October. Brother Solomon will be well known to generations of De La Salle students as the College has for many years commemorated his life and martyrdom with Year Level Homerooms named after him in honour of his beatification in 1926.
Blessed Solomon was recognised for his piety and deep prayer life while working for several years as a teacher in schools throughout France in the 18th century. He held a number of key leadership roles, including Director of Novices for his community, Procurator at the Motherhouse and Secretary to the Superior General of the De La Salle Brothers.
Brother Solomon also provided strong spiritual advice and guidance to fellow De La Salle Brothers, while seeing first-hand the political turmoil tearing France apart in the lead up the 1789 Revolution. In the summer of 1792, Brother Solomon was among many priests and religious figures who were imprisoned and martyred as part of the suppression of Christianity during the French Revolution.
Like the Founder, St John Baptist de La Salle, Brother Solomon (born Nicholas Leclerq) renounced a life of privilege to pursue a religious vocation. The son of a wealthy French wine merchant, his father wanted him to dedicate his life to the family business, but Nicholas discerned a call to religious life, entering the novitiate at the age of 22, taking the name Solomon.
Brother Solomon was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1926, together with 188 fellow martyrs. Brother Solomon was the first De La Salle Brother to be beatified and his feast day is celebrated on 2 September.
In March this year, a medical consultant from the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints examined a case involving a miraculous cure which had been attributed to the intercession of Blessed Solomon. It was the case of a Venezuelan girl who had been miraculously cured after having been bitten by a venomous snake. The declaration of the miracle in this case has paved the way for the Canonisation of Brother Solomon on 16 October. (Courtesy Lasallian Outlook blog)
Primary School Transition Visits
As mentioned in the opening paragraph above, this term we have begun the ambitious but very important task of visiting dozens of primary schools from which we are drawing our Year 7 students for 2017. This program has significant benefits for all parties and is already proving hugely popular. Accompanied by two Year 7 students, a senior member of staff visits a primary school and catches up with the boys who are joining us next year. It’s a wonderful opportunity for an informal chat and a great question and answer session between the excited Grade 6s and the Year 7s (now hardy veterans of secondary school life). We also have the chance to debrief with the Grade 6s’ teachers so they can pass on any relevant information. Another benefit is the session we then run with the Grade 4 and 5s at each school. This gives the Year 7 De La boys the chance to talk to prospective students about their transition and positive experiences at our school.
We have been so proud of the Year 7s in the manner in which they have conducted themselves, championed the great qualities of our College and spoken so proudly of their achievements and experiences since leaving primary school. The staff and students at their old primary school love seeing the De La boys return and they certainly represent us in the best style possible – a marketing team’s dream!
Mr Peter Houlihan