Deputy Principals’ Column

Faith and Mission

Reconciliation Week

Last Friday 27 June was the beginning of Reconciliation Week and this Friday 3 June concludes it. Reconciliation Week is about healing, forgiveness and unity and about acknowledging our cultural history and the devastating and complex relationship Indigenous Australians have had with Australia’s colonial history of physical violence and dispossession.

This week, as we reflect on this, we ask the Lord to open up our hearts so that we may hear the message of Jesus in a world in which the wrongs of the past are recognised — a world in which a reconciled people walk and talk together sharing stories; a world in which all burn with the desire to have Christ’s peace and justice reign.

May we remember that 27 May marks the anniversary of the 1967 referendum when Australian’s voted to remove clauses in the Australian Constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

May we remember that 3 June marks the historic 1992 Mabo decision in which the High Court of Australia recognised native title.

And in remembering all this we especially acknowledge the land of the Wurundjeri;the traditional owners of the land on which we live today. We pay our respects to their elders both past and present, for they hold the memories, the culture and the wisdom upon which our nation’s future will be built.

You may like to pray and reflect on the words of the Reconciliation Church Prayer:

God of all creation,
as we journey together in this Great Southern Land, we pray for healing, forgiveness and unity, creating a path of good will, with justice and compassion.
Jesus through the power of your love, You have given us the courage, wisdom and strength
to share our gifts and talents in humility.
In peace and understanding we reconcile with each other.
Creator Spirit, we come together in prayer and thanksgiving for the many blessings we have received.
Allow your Spirit to wash over us and give us strength, to walk together, as one – Amen
St John Baptist de La Salle – Pray For Us
Live Jesus in Our Hearts – Forever

The Long Walk Re-enactment

The Year 10 Modern World and Australia History class recently represented the College at a traditional ‘Long Walk re-enactment’ which was held at Aquinas College on Tuesday 24 May, in support of Reconciliation and Indigenous issues.

The event was a community event and in attendance were several Catholic primary schools and Catholic secondary colleges as well as neighbouring government primary schools. Representatives from the Archdiocese, Caritas, Catholic Education Melbourne and Aboriginal Catholic Ministry were also in attendance.

Leading the march were ex Essendon footballers Michael Long and Gavin Wanganeen. At the assembly that took place at the conclusion of the walk, students were privileged to listen to Michael and Gavin talk about the importance of reconciliation and what it means for us moving forward as a nation.

A huge thank-you to the Year 10 Modern History class for attending and making it known that De La Salle College commits itself to reconciliation. Thank you also to Mrs Christine Thompson and Mr Chris Martin for their supervision of the boys on this day.

Daniel Papalia in Year 10, Edwin’s 06 shared the following reflection:

On Tuesday 24 May the Year 10 ‘Modern World and Australia’ History class participated in ‘The Long Walk’ at Aquinas College. The walk was led by AFL legends and indigenous rights activists Michael Long and Gavin Wanganeen, to symbolise the commencement of National Reconciliation Week. The purpose of this event was to acknowledge the Stolen Generations and teach students about the importance of understanding indigenous culture and multiculturalism, to reconcile the past and create a society absent of discrimination. The class enjoyed the event and felt proud to represent the college as students concerned for our fellow marginalised Australians. The experience was a fine addition to the curriculum because we witnessed indigenous recognition like we studied in class. The class thanks Mrs Brogan, Mrs Thompson and Mr Martin for organising the event.

Year 4 Students – Sacrament of Penance

On Tuesday 31 June I had the privilege of attending a beautiful liturgy where several of our Year 4 boys took part in making their First Reconciliation. It was an intimate celebration where Father Brendan Dillon reminded us of the importance of coming together as members of God’s family, to seek forgiveness and to know that God is full of compassion and love for each and every one of us.

I would also like to mention the role of Mrs Joan Ferguson, our College Chaplain, in preparing the boys ahead of celebrating their First Reconciliation. The dedication and time Joan spends in preparing the boys is a gift to all of us in the community. I wish to acknowledge Joan for the gentle way she guides the hearts of our boys to God during each sacramental journey they take.

Finally, a special congratulations to the following young men for the way they and their families celebrated God’s loving forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance: Harrison Cutts, Patrick Gamba, Salvatore La Torre and Riley Suffolk.

Coolies’ India Immersion 2016

In the last couple of weeks, myself and Mr Michael Petrie have been conducting interviews with Year 12 students who applied to be a part of the 2016 ‘Coolies’ India Immersion Program. It proved to be a very difficult process as we felt that all applicants were deserving of the opportunity.

The Coolies Immersion experience here at De La Salle provides an opportunity to discover firsthand the Church at work amongst the poorest of the poor. It is also an opportunity to reflect on and to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and our founder, St John Baptist de La Salle, in the hope that a motivation and a vision for the realisation of a just world, where the dignity of every human person is recognised.

During their time in India, the students will be challenged to think of others and to work together to make a difference to the community. The nature and value of the experience allows the students to put their faith into action by getting involved in various development and building works as well as immersing themselves in the culture and traditions of the local community.

Congratulations to all twenty of the successful student applicants: Ben O’Shea, Cooper Morrison, Luke Te Moni, Ambrose Berlin, Tom O’Kane, Kieran Walsh, Aaron D’Arcy, Jonathan Blanas, Anthony Arceri, Thomas Ponissi, Keelan Tambimuttu, Matthew Sidji, Liam O’Neill, Jonathan La Grua, Joshua Daujat, Nathan Grooby, Liam Ramirez, Chris Northey, Patrick Hounihan and Peter Haines.

We remember to keep them and the three teachers accompanying them — Mr Michael Petrie, Ms Kerry Martin and Ms Rose Roe — in our prayers as they begin to prepare for their journey at the end of the year.

Reflection Days and Dates to Remember

At the heart of the mission of the College is to develop and grow the faith of the students. The upcoming Reflection Days are a wonderful experience that will provide the students opportunities to engage in activities that allow for personal reflection and shared thoughts of their own faith journey.

Please be aware of the following dates and ensure that permission forms are signed and returned to your son’s R.E. class teacher.

Year 7 Reflection Days

Wednesday 15 June (Benilde, Hegarty, Roland)
Thursday 16 June (Solomon, Vincent)
Friday 17 June (Dunstan, Jerome)

Year 9 Lasallian Service

14 – 17 June (Benilde, Hegarty, Roland)

Year 9 Reflection Day

Monday 20 June (Dunstan, Jerome, Solomon, Vincent)

Year 10 Reflection Days

Tuesday 21 June (RE1101, RE1102, RE1106)
Tuesday 22 June (RE1103, RE1104, RE1105, RE1107)

Classes not on Reflection Day this term will have the same opportunity in Term 3.

Mrs Rana Brogan
Deputy Principal – Faith and Mission

Staff and Operations

2016 Tiverton Campus House Lightning Premierships

This year the annual Tiverton Lightning Premierships will include a number of significant changes to recent year’s competition. This year the event will be part of the House competition and will include both AFL and soccer. This is a compulsory event for all students in Years 7 to 9. The competition will be held at DW Lucas Reserve, Basil Street Reserve or Stanley Grose Reserve, Malvern East.

The Year 9 students will be involved on Tuesday 21 June from 11:00 am until 3:10 pm, while Year 7 and 8 students will play on Thursday 23 June from 11:00 am until 3:10 pm.

Students are to attend school as normal on Lightning Premiership day and will be transported to the grounds by bus from the College. Students will be dismissed from the venue at approximately 3:10pm.

Students are reminded they must wear their normal sports uniform to school and bring their House shirt to change into for the matches. They are also reminded to bring lunch and a drink.

Full details of the event were provided in a recent letter accompanied by a consent form. Consent forms should have been returned to the College by now.

This will be a wonderful opportunity to build House spirit and strengthen the already strong relationships that exist between staff and students at each year level.

Camps Review Committee Parent Survey

A review of camps and overseas trips at the College is currently in progress. Parents are invited to participate in a survey concerning Year 4–9 camps. The survey will close at 4:30pm on Friday 3 June. For those that would like to participate the survey is available at:

Mr Tom Ryan
Deputy Principal – Staff and Operations


Student Voice – Child Safety and Master Planning Consultation

Catholic school communities have a long standing commitment to the care, wellbeing and protection of children and young people. The recent introduction of the minimum Victorian Child Safe Standards into law provides school communities with an opportunity to strengthen existing practices and increase consistency across Catholic school communities.

By August 1 2016, all Victorian schools will be expected to show that they have strategies, procedures, policies and systems in place that comply with the seven new standards and three principles in line with Ministerial Order 870.

Standard 7 of the child Safe Standards is focused on ‘Strategies to promote child empowerment and participation.’ Concepts of empowerment and participation are strongly aligned with the objective of the Student Voice Network.

De La Salle College was chosen as one of two secondary schools to work on this project and participate in a class workshop using the ‘Students as Researchers’ methodology delivered by Sue O’Connell and Doug Sandiford (Catholic Education Melbourne – Learning and Wellbeing Officers).

This project will help inform teachers’ ideas about student feelings of safety while at De La Salle. Students were asked to share, “when they feel safe at school”, “when they feel unsafe” at school and “what they have learnt and know about safety” using age-appropriate conversation.

The feedback and recommendations made by students will be shared with the College Executive Team, teachers and their peers. This approach for student voice will be used as a model for other schools across the Archdiocese of Melbourne when addressing their child safety policies and practices. It was a tremendous opportunity to contribute to a broader response to ensure the protection of children.

The boys offered plenty of insightful commentary on their school experience and what they’d like the school to look like in the future. The concluding comments of one of the Year 12 students summed up the consultation perfectly; “With this building project, if you can enhance the culture of personal excellence here at De La Salle and ensure a culture of inclusion where all are made welcome then I’ll be happy.”

Reconciliation Week, Yothu Yindi and Paul Kelly

In 2014, the theme of NAIDOC Week was, “We value the vision.” That same week, we farewelled a great man of vision, former Yothu Yindi front man and Australian of the Year, Mandawuy Yunupingu. Yunupingu died at his home in the northeast Arnhem Land community of Yirrkala, aged 56, following a long battle with kidney disease.

For me, Yunupingu’s passing embodied the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy. For the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population born in 2010–2012, life expectancy was estimated to be 10.6 years lower than that of the non-Indigenous population for males (69.1 years compared with 79.7) and 9.5 years for females (73.7 compared with 83.1). At his funeral, Yunupingu was remembered as a giant among his people; a husband, father, teacher, musician, principal and ambassador for two ways education.

Yunupingu was a cultural bridge builder and he became an Australian icon. He straddled two cultures and had a great sense of mission about his people. For Yunupingu, balance was critical; balance – between parent and child, dhuwa and yirritja, freshwater and saltwater. In his eulogy, Paul Kelly spoke of the balance that was at the heart of Yunupingu’s world-view; “Balance that blended the tribal and the modern, balanda and yolngul, art and politics, seriousness and celebration. Two ways, two waters, two tracks, always with vision, always with the voices of the elders in his ears.”

Often we talk to our young men about keeping an appropriate balance between study and play; between focus and fun. During exam time, this is especially so. Our young men need to develop resilience and healthy coping skills to deal with life’s ups and downs. Life’s downs may include emotionally painful experiences such as feeling loss, rejection, disappointment or humiliation. It takes time and a lot of practise to develop any skill and learning coping skills to maintain a healthy balance is no exception. It is a privilege to support your sons on this journey.

Ms Lisa Harkin
Deputy Principal — Students



Back to The Duce Issue 2016 08 - 2 June 2016