From the Principal
With the Lenten season now well underway I thought it pertinent to research a little and try to tie in some of the Catholic messages and suggestions of the significance and relevance of Lent with our own Lasallian principles. In his annual Lenten message, Pope Francis implores us to not only fast in relation to food, treats and luxuries etc., but to abstain from indifference. He writes, “Indifference to our neighbour and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”
Describing this phenomenon he calls “the globalisation of indifference”, Francis writes that “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.” He continues that, “We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”
This ties in very neatly with instructions from St John Baptist de La Salle to his early group of teaching Brothers in relation to their obligation to support and help those most in need. I often look for contemporary relevance in the founder’s mediations and instructions and this is certainly an example for all of us, displaying clear consistencies with Pope Francis’ recent message. If each of us reflects on the above I’m sure we can identify the clear message from both Pope Francis and de La Salle – to think of others and consider their plight as well as our own.
Building community at De La Salle
As we all prepare for a very welcome long weekend it is timely to reflect on a very busy first five – six weeks of Term 1. The first month or two of the school year is always dominated by a range of events in getting the year underway, ensuring all in the community are prepared and settled in with all the information they need. Building community at all levels is a critical aspect of this and the past two weeks have continued to provide opportunities for this in a range of forums.
De La Salle Community Mass
Last Sunday 1 March we held our second De La Salle Community Mass, this time at St Cecilia’s in Glen Iris. Current Year 5 – Year 12 De La Salle students who came to us from St Cecilia’s took responsibility for the Readings, Prayers of the Faithful and Offertory, looking resplendent in summer uniform! Families gathered afterwards for a morning tea in the parish hall, where it was great to connect with a range of families and St Cecelia’s parishioners, several of whom were Old Collegians or past parents.
Parent Network social evenings
In the past fortnight we have held two parent social evenings in the Peppercorn Café at Kinnoull, organised by our wonderful and hardworking Parent Network.
The Year 7 Welcome Evening provided an opportunity to welcome new Year 7 families into the College and a chance for parents to mix, meet new friends and develop relationships with parents of their sons’ peers.
In a similar vein, the Year 10 – 12 parents enjoyed a great catch‐up with familiar faces and were able to connect a few more faces to names.
These events were very well patronised and are a terrific step in our explicit goal of building the De La Salle community spirit by encouraging parents to get together, talk about their sons and the College and contribute to all that goes on.
Inaugural Year 7 Welcome Mass
On Monday 23 February we held our inaugural Year 7 Welcome Mass at the beautiful Our Lady of Victories Basilica in Camberwell. All Year 7 boys were presented, formally acknowledged and given a document folder embossed with the new College crest and logo. It was great to see so many proud parents and even quite a few grandparents in attendance. Those I spoke to afterwards were very happy with the formality of the event. Plans are already underway to make this an annual event on the College calendar.
Primary Parents Picnic
As I write another Parent Network community event — the Primary Parents Picnic – is about to start on Kinnoull Oval. This represents another opportunity to bring new and existing families together and develop links across the year levels among both the parent and student body.
Year 7 Camp family Barbecue
Today I travelled to Jan Juc to join the weekly Family BBQ which is the culmination of each Homeroom’s Orientation Camp on the Surf Coast. Each week various members of Executive and Year 7 Coordinator Shaun Buckley join the parents when they come down to pick up their sons. It is a tremendous couple of hours each week when parents meet other mums and dads from their son’s Homeroom over a sausage and salad, chat informally with Executive staff and develop relationships, which ultimately assists in everybody feeling a little bit more a member of the College.
YEAR 7 2016 INTERVIEWS
Another initiative to welcome new families into our community and assist in the transition of our new students to the College is the decision to interview all our current Year 6 applicants for 2016 Year 7 enrolment. Staff will conduct informal interviews to enable us to meet the students and their parents, engage in a discussion around their education and interests and hopefully get to know each other a little. This will establish a platform for building a positive relationship through their Year 6 school year and into their six years here at De La Salle. Most of these interviews will occur in the final two weeks of term.
Class of 1965 50 Year Reunion
Last Thursday 26 February we hosted a 50 year reunion for the class of 1965. Over 30 Old Collegians were in attendance and had a great evening at the Peppercorn Café, renewing old acquaintances, retelling old stories and reminiscing about how much things have changed since the ‘60s – both at De La and in society!
Br Gerard Rummery, who was on staff at Malvern in their matric year, was present and delivered a characteristically wonderful oration, paying homage to the veterans of 1965 and rekindling many memories of all things Lasallian. I spoke to the group as a whole about our College in 2015 and they were very interested in the current situation and future direction of the College. In conversations with many of the Class of ‘65 on the evening they were very keen to speak of the Lasallian spirit which existed so strongly for them as young men in the ‘60s and they were delighted to hear it remains an integral part of who we are in the 21st century as well.
Finally, I would like to congratulate all our ACC Swimming Team and thank coaches Chris and Gab Windley for their many months of commitment, planning and training, culminating in a very creditable fourth place at the ACC Championships at MSAC on Friday 20February. The squad have been training since Term 3 last year and, having joined them at Harold Holt for training I can vouch for their strength as swimmers; but more importantly they are terrific young men whose sense of team ethic and support for each other across the year levels and ages was superb to witness. This of course is the beauty of so many of our co‐curricula activities and events and I encourage all our students to be involved in a range of the many opportunities on offer.
Grease – presented by De La Salle and OLSH College
Rehearsals and preparations for our senior musical Grease continue apace and are really ramping up, with opening night on Thursday 29 April less than two months away. A vast cast and crew of actors, singers, dancers and set design, lighting, production and backstage technicians are working very hard under the tutelage of Mr Andrew Murrell, Ms Cindy Frost and a host of other De La and OLSH staff. See the Grease feature in this Newsprint for details of tickets as this is going to be a magnificent show!
Mr Peter Houlihan
Interested in joining the Ski Team? They are now recruiting for 2015 and have put together the below video. See Sport News for more information.