From the Principal
A very warm welcome back to the beginning of the 2016 academic year; a year full of promise, innovation, growth and development in so many areas of our wonderful College. A special welcome to all our new families in particular; those joining our community for the very first time will have already experienced a warm reception and hopefully you are all beginning to well and truly feel a part of our Lasallian community.
It was great to be in the gym on Friday morning last week as we welcomed all the new Year 4 student and Year 7 students, introduced them to their teachers and escorted them off to their new classrooms. So much nervousness, trepidation, excitement and anticipation – and that was mostly on the part of the tremendous crowd of parents! The morning tea following was a terrific opportunity for parents and a few of the Executive Team to meet and chat and get to know each other a little as we embark on a journey together to see these promising young men through their years at De La.
This is indeed an exciting time to be involved in our College, especially so if you are enrolling as a new student or beginning your involvement as a new teacher or parent. The last year in particular has seen a broad range of significant changes, mostly well documented in previous communications. The impact of these changes is enormously promising as strategic leadership and creative minds design and implement innovations and improvements into virtually all aspects and features of life at De La Salle. A raft of innovative advances in our teaching and learning programs, student wellbeing structure and services, use of technology, co-curricula and student leadership – to name but a few – are transforming our landscape into a more contemporary and engaging environment.
Live Mercy: Be a Presence
For 2016 the Pastoral Care Team has developed the theme Live Mercy. Be A Presence. This is in keeping and directly aligned to Pope Francis’ message to young people regarding the Jubilee of Mercy. The following extracts provide direction, links and relevance to our Lasallian mission and who we try to be within and beyond our school.
“The Church is celebrating the Holy Year of Mercy, a time of grace, peace, conversion and joy. It is meant for everyone: people of every age, from far and near. There are no walls or distances which can prevent the Father’s mercy from reaching and embracing us.
The Jubilee is a year-long celebration, in which every moment becomes a chance for us to grow in holiness. It is a time when we can discover that life together as brothers and sisters is like a great party….”
Yours is a time of life which is full of amazing changes. Everything seems possible and impossible all at once. I repeat what I said to some of your friends: “Remain steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord. This is the secret of our journey! He gives us the courage to swim against the tide. Pay attention, my young friends: to go against the current; this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide.”
In adopting our theme of Live Mercy: Be A Presence we are exploring a raft of opportunities to link Pope Francis’ vision to the five key principles of Lasallian education, summarised as faith, respect, quality education, justice and inclusiveness. When the approach we adopt to our everyday dealings with one another – students, staff and parents – reflects both the notion of mercy and the Lasallian characteristics we are just about guaranteed to engender the positive relationships so critical to a school’s success.
This Wednesday we celebrate Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, the traditional period of reflection, fasting and repentance leading up to Easter. I was taken by some comments from Christine Gilmour, Education Officer — Liturgy, Prayer and Spirituality, Catholic Education Melbourne, in relation to making new beginnings during Lent. Her recent article spoke of a new school year already dominated by special assemblies, masses, functions and activities, offering exciting new possibilities and challenges to come. It builds anticipation in relation to the all that is new and exciting and how we as communities embrace that.
We are called on to make new efforts, personally and as a school community, to present ourselves afresh, renewed, and ready to go. We need to be aware too of the lost, the sad and the fearful who find these days a challenge, and give them our support and care. We’re encouraged to be merciful like the Pope Francis, become visible in the way Ash Wednesday is celebrated, and think about how we will mark this significant day in our school.
The renewal offered by Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis’ message of mercy and the principles of Lasallian education all present opportunities of transformation for staff and students alike as we strive to be better people in a better world.
Year 12 Retreat
Next week marks the second Year 12 Retreat in the rejuvenated format, once again at Rawson Village in Gippsland. This is traditionally a highlight of the Year 12 students’ experience of their final year and in 2016 represents a great opportunity for the boys to work and socialise together in their Houses. Despite some initial trepidation on the students’ part, once they realise the retreat experience is carefully designed to address the needs and interests of young men at the beginning of Year 12, beginning the transition to manhood, with various opportunities to form and voice an opinion on issues relevant to them, they virtually all embrace the event enthusiastically. Thank you to Mrs Rana Brogan, our new Deputy Principal – Faith & Mission, who has done an enormous amount of work to ensure all is in readiness, ably assisted by Tom Ryan, Deputy Principal Staff & Operations and the four House Coordinators.
In another innovation for the College this year we welcome back eight Old Collegians from the Year 12 classes of 2014 & 2015 to work as Retreat Assistants, mentoring the Year 12 students and leading small group discussions. This is a tremendous addition to the program. It enables recent school leavers to retain an involvement, give back to the College and support the current Year 12 students in their analysis, discussion and interpretation of contemporary issues. They also present as examples of strong leadership and terrific role models, giving an authenticity to our Live.Learn.Lead slogan.
This Friday we have our whole school Opening Mass in the gym at 11:00am, organised by Mrs Brogan and the Liturgy Team. This is a significant event in the life of the school as we celebrate and formally launch the beginning of the new school year with the Eucharist. This is followed immediately by the Leaders’ Investiture, another important and traditional event, especially as this year we add the introduction of the Tiverton Captain and Primary Captain positions.
We are very excited about our second annual 2016 Welcome and Commissioning Mass, being held for the very first time at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the city on Thursday 25 February at 6:30pm.
This is a major development in the liturgical and spiritual life of the College and adds a sense of occasion to this very important event. Our musicians and choir are rehearsing to ensure their debut performance in the Cathedral is a memorable one! The Welcoming and Commissioning Mass was introduced to formally welcome to the Lasallian community all our new students and their families. Year 7, Year 4 and indeed all new students across the other year levels will be formally introduced at the conclusion of the Mass and given a De La Salle memento. All students new to the College in 2016 are expected to attend. Parents are of course invited and you may feel free to bring grandparents and other relatives.
We will also formally acknowledge the 2016 College Leaders and bless them and their roles. I extend an open invitation to any and all in our De La Salle community who would like to attend the Welcoming and Commissioning Mass; while it is primarily to welcome our new families, it would be great to have as many families as possible in attendance.
This year we welcome a range of new staff in a variety of roles. I am again very excited by the quality of candidates we are able to attract and I am confident each of the people below will have a very positive impact on their respective domains.
|Rana||Brogan||Deputy Principal — Faith and Mission|
|Rachel||Bromberg||Term 1 LSL Replacement — Visual Arts|
|Anthony||Freeman||Student Counsellor: Kinnoull|
|Grace||Giudice||Term 1 & 2 LSL Replacement — Languages|
|Anne||Grieves||Individual Needs Teacher|
|Lisa||Harkin||Deputy Principal — Students|
|Maria||Hawley||Relieving teacher, Humanities, PE, Sport|
|Brenda||McCullagh||RE, History, English|
|Daniel||McGrath||Assistant Business Manager|
|Br Paul||Toohey||Maths, Literacy, RE Support|
|Stefan||Wadds||ICT Systems Administrator|
|Carly||Walsh||Learning Support Officer|
Kate McIlroy, whose baby boy William Anthony Hall (Billy) arrived on 21 December 2015 weighing 3.56kg and measuring 52.5cm long.
Andrew Wozencroft and Jo, who celebrated the safe arrival of Harry Douglas Wozencroft, weighing 7lbs on 21 January 2016.
Peppe Di Ciccio and Lisa, who are very proud parents of beautiful baby girl Clara, who arrived on 14 December 2015 at 2:49am, weighing 6lbs.
Chris & Gab Windley, who are very proud grandparents of baby Evie Lee-Anne, born 13 December 2015, weighing 7.5 pounds. New dad Matt is an Old Collegian (Class of 2007). Matt, his wife Ashleigh and Evie all doing well.
Tom Buick, whose son Mark (Class of 1992) and wife Irena welcomed a baby boy, Vincent Pascoe, on 19 January 2016.
Pastoral Care Structure
All families will be well aware of the new pastoral care structure at Kinnoull, with the House Mentor (previously known as Homeroom Teacher) taking primary responsibility for the wellbeing of the 24 – 26 Year 10 – 12 students in his/her care. Most issues can be directly referred to the House Mentor in the first instance or your son’s House Coordinator if it’s of a more serious nature. The most serious concerns, issues, confidential information etc. or various situations which may arise will be referred to John McAlroy, Director of Students Years 10 – 12.
The system is largely the same at Tiverton, where Class Mentors replace Homeroom Teachers but remain as the first point of contact in your sons’ wellbeing, supported by the Director of Primary, the Year Level Coordinators for Year 7 – 9 and Luke Kenealy, Director of Students Years 4 – 9.
Ms Lisa Harkin, Deputy Principal – Students will provide more details around this system and levels of responsibility in the coming weeks so as to provide clarity for families and students alike.
Back to School Transition
I would like to thank all families, students and parents for the smooth transition back to school. I spent most of Friday out and about, speaking to new parents at their morning tea, visiting assemblies and classes, talking to students in the yard, observing the Year 7s’ laptop rollout and watching the boys get started. There was an overwhelming sense of calm efficiency; everybody knew where they were meant to be and when and the day ran very smoothly — a credit to all concerned.
I thank all students and parents for their support and cooperation with our uniform and grooming policy, as outlined on page 8 of the College Diary. The vast majority of students have attended to the very clear expectations and while others have had a gentle reminder from House or Year Level Coordinators I am largely pleased with the appearance of our young men. I would ask for parents’ support with attending to the guidelines, especially the common problems like shirts hanging out (for those electing to wear long-sleeved shirt and tie) ties undone, presenting to school unshaven and hair growing beyond the collar, undercuts, colouring etc. One of the great aspects of our College is the community feel and spirit of cooperation and if we all play our part in ensuring the students adhere to the guidelines and take pride in their appearance, which reflects very well on themselves and the College, it only strengthens that community atmosphere.
Wishing you all a smooth beginning to the year and I look forward to catching up with as many of you as possible at the various upcoming events.
Mr Peter Houlihan