From the Principal
In what was a genuine highlight in the history of the College, on the evening of Thursday 25 February we welcomed our new students with a grand Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral. As a Catholic, Lasallian community we celebrated the arrival of our new Year 4 and Year 7 cohorts, plus about 32 students new to other year levels across the school.
It was wonderful to see St Patrick’s full with De La Salle students, staff and families. Fr Martin Tanti SDB did a great job with the Mass, superbly organised by Deputy Principal — Faith & Mission Mrs Rana Brogan. After the Mass each student new to the College in 2016 was presented to the audience and provided with a variety of De La material, including an embossed document/ certificate folder, book and Founders’ cards.
It was also an opportunity to present the 2016 College Leaders from Year 12, the Tiverton Captain and Vice Captains and the three Primary Captains.
De La Salle has a long tradition of celebrating the graduation of our Year 12 students so we thought it appropriate to celebrate the arrival of our students in formal fashion. The Mass and presentations also made a definitive statement about who we are as a school and what we value in relation to faith, Lasallian charism, community and fostering strong relationships.
I must make special mention of our outstanding musicians and choir, under the direction of Ms Cindy Frost. Performing at the Cathedral for the very first time is a little nerve‐wracking, but the quality of the music and singing was excellent and students and staff alike enjoyed the opportunity to perform in such a grand and sacred space – with superb acoustics!
ACC Swimming Championships
The ACC Swimming Championships were held at MSAC on Friday 19 February, where our swimmers were simply magnificent. Coming back from Division 2 in 2014 and fourth place last year the squad have been particularly hardworking and united in their preparations for this year’s Championships and were justly rewarded with second place overall. Congratulations to Whitefriars who continued their dominance of ACC swimming with another victory. Thank you to coaches Chris and Gab Windley who have invested so much time, effort and expertise in developing the team since Term 3 last year. Please see the ACC Swimming report elsewhere in this Duce for more details of the team and individuals’ performance.
Focusing on Continual VCE Improvement
One of the most critical tasks in Term 1 each year is the clinical analysis and interpretation of the previous year’s VCE results data. VCAA’s VCE Data Service makes available a comprehensive range of information, comparisons, results, charts and graphs based on our school’s 2015 results, including a breakdown of responses and marks for individual examination questions.
Each year we refine and develop this process. Along with Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching, Mr Mark Gustincic, I interview every Year 12 teacher and we discuss their results. Strengths are identified and endorsed, with plans to further develop these areas of success in 2016. Areas of concern from last year’s data are also analysed and strategies formed to address these in the coming months.
This is a powerful and empowering process, with an unambiguous focus on improvement. From this data analysis students and staff alike gain an increased understanding and appreciation of what’s required for success in the various subjects, in general coursework, SACs and certainly examinations.
A much wiser man than me once said, “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.” As such, this is an intrinsic area of growth and development at all year levels as our collation, interpretation and use of data to inform learning gains momentum.
A Community Loss
Last week the De La Salle community was greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Taylah Siaperry, much loved and courageous daughter of Raj Rathinam, a member of our IT Services Department here at the College. Taylah had been struggling with a medical condition since birth, but won many hearts in her 4 ½ years as she defied the odds time and again, much to the delight of Raj and her mother Geetha. Raj and Geetha would like to express their gratitude for the tremendous support provided by all at the College and the presence of a good many colleagues at Taylah’s funeral on Monday.
Mission Action Day
Our annual Mission Action Day (MAD) is very quickly coming around, to be held on Thursday 24 March. This is of course our major social justice fundraiser for the year, with over $100,000 being raised in both 2014 and 2015, a feat we would dearly love to emulate this year. One hundred per cent of funds raised goes to charity, with the vast majority going to Lasallian missions and charitable works in India (Coolies project), Papua New Guinea, Balgo Hills (WA) and Pakistani Lasallian schools. The provision of basics for Pakistan schools (clean running water, electricity, generators, basic maintenance) is a major focus, alongside a range of local charities which our Year 12 House Lasallian Leaders are working on selecting for 2016. Please encourage your sons to continue pursuing sponsorship for the MAD walk, safe in the knowledge their funds make an extraordinary difference to our Lasallian peers both here and overseas.
Mr Peter Houlihan