From the Principal

Dear Members of the De La Salle Community,

There has certainly been a great deal going on in the past few weeks and I have been thinking about how involved our community is at De La Salle, how so many people across the school community accept so many invitations to be a part of our many events.

In last Sunday’s Gospel from Luke, Jesus used the word “invited” nine times. The context was a banquet on a Sabbath when Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. I was interested in this theme of invitation and in a Gospel reflection/commentary I sourced the author wrote of invitation being at the heart of our relationship with Jesus. He invites us to enter into an association with him, to get closer to the action, so to speak.

The Gospel was largely about guests at the dinner exercising humility, taking the “lower” seats and waiting to be summoned, invited by the host to come closer, be more involved. We should be aware that this invitation is coming and be ready to listen for it and accept it.

I found many parallels with this past fortnight where so many of us in the De La community have been invited, heard the call and joined in for the betterment of ourselves and more importantly, those around us. This has occurred in a broad variety of forums.

I have been buoyed by the glowing reports from Mrs Brogan, Deputy Principal — Faith and Mission, in relation to our Year 8 and Year 11 students’ outstanding contributions at their Lasallian Reflection Days. Invited to speak up, invited to share and contribute on the contemporary themes being explored, our boys showed tremendous responsibility, maturity and wisdom in their reflections.

I was privileged to attend the Confirmation Mass for 16 of our Grade 6s and four Year 7s last Sunday at St Anthony’s, Glen Huntly. These young men answered the invitation to be involved in and embrace the Sacramental Program. Ably supported and prepared by our Chaplain, the ever reliable Mrs Joan Ferguson, the boys received the sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop Peter Elliott. In speaking to the boys before Mass, some excited and some nervous, it was apparent they were taking very seriously the invitation to embrace the sacrament of maturity and coming of age.

I was thrilled to see 502 fathers and sons accept the invitation for the Fathers’ Day Breakfast last Friday. In only its third year this event has grown from 330 in 2014 to become a sell-out with all available space used (the Mother’s Day Breakfast also had 500.) This is a terrific example of families taking up the invitation to become closer, more involved and expressing support for their community. Besides being a meaningful expression of support and being present for their sons, it was great to see 250 dads in the gym, socialising with other families and enjoying the chance to be here and feel a part of their sons’ education experience. On that note, a very happy Father’s Day for this Sunday to all our De La dads. I just mentioned to the primary students this morning at their assembly it is Father’s Day and not husband’s day, so they should be making, buying or doing something nice for their dads and not leaving it up to their dutiful mums! They have made some terrific gifts though.

On Wednesday evening last week about 250 parents and families accepted the invitation to our most excellent 2016 Music Concert in the Performing Arts Centre. The Music Concert is one of my favourite events of the year; in addition to the obvious showcasing of talented musicians playing great music it’s really the culmination of another 12 month journey for these students and their exceptionally dedicated teachers. Perhaps more than any other subject or co-curricula option we offer, music is the best example of accepting an invitation. It’s not a one-off like the breakfast, it’s not short term like an ACC football season; to be a musician really is stepping up, getting closer, pledging commitment and demonstrating improvement over the journey. It was a joy to watch the pleasure and satisfaction on the students’ faces as they performed so very well across a range of musical styles.

Approaching Exam Season

The approach of the end of Term 3 inevitably sees a heavy emphasis on Year 12 students and their studies. For all students, the rapidly approaching end of year is an invitation in itself. An invitation to adopt a more responsible, rigorous and certainly organised approach to everyday homework, revision and exam preparation to ensure each student achieves personal excellence. Grade and levels of performance will of course vary among individual students at every year level, but MY personal invitation to every student is to ensure he works as hard as he can to full his potential and do the very best he can with the talents he has.

VCAA Unit 3 & 4 Trial Exams begin on Monday 26 September and it is crucial all students prepare thoroughly for these and invest the extra hours required to revise as well as complete Unit 4 requirements and assessments. While the Year 12 exams will arrive sooner than the other levels, this is a crucial time for all Year 9 – 12 students to reassess goals, practise exam questions and technique and set targets in the lead up to the examinations.

A significant element of examination success is the capacity to move well beyond simply learning the actual content. The most successful students – regardless of raw academic ability – are those who are best prepared. All Year 9 – 12 students must work on ensuring they are familiar with the expected content, the layout and structure of the paper, the demands of each type of question in each section of the paper. Work with your teachers to clarify assessment criteria and focus your revision and practice tasks on addressing these criteria.

A planned, systematic, structured approach to revision and a clearly defined strategy for each section of the exam is crucial. Knowledge is obviously paramount, but knowing what the examiners are looking for is often equally as important. I wish all students the very best for their studies as the end of Term 3 approaches and for the Year 12s, now is the time to prepare well as a strong result in the Trial Exams will often translate into confidence and success for the VCAA Examinations. Good luck!

Mr Peter Houlihan


Back to The Duce Issue 2016 13 - 1 September 2016