From the Principal

Welcome back for 2018 and I hope you enjoy reading this first edition of the Duce for the year. As the year gets underway, there is sure to be a wide variety of important and informative news to be made aware of.

If you have been on campus in the past couple of weeks you will have seen the first stages of the Master Plan coming to fruition. The old science labs, canteen, drama and band rooms on the ground floor of the Foley Building have been stripped out, and building on the new Science and Technology Centre begins this week. The flats on the corner of Dalny Street have gone and when the site is cleaned up the buses will park there, creating more space in the yard for our students. A temporary canteen is in place, to open shortly and the landscaping in the front courtyard will begin in the Term 1 holidays. Exciting times indeed!

I was very proud of our 2017 VCE results, with a strong showing almost across the board in our various scores. The most noteworthy statistic is that there was significant improvement in all the key data:

  • The Median Study Score for 2017 is 30, up from 29 in 2016;
  • The percentage of Study Scores 40 and above is 6.43%, up from 5.3% in 2016;
  • Median ATAR is 67.60, up from 64.18 last year;
  • The percentage of students with ATARs in the 90s is 12.03%, an increase of more than 3%;
  • The percentage of students’ ATARs of 80 and above is 28.57%, also a healthy increase from 2016.

My congratulations and thanks to all the Unit 3 and 4 teachers who invested so much time, effort and expertise in teaching, mentoring and advising each and every student in their care. Several subjects had median Study Scores in the 34 – 36 range, figures which sit at the very top of the scale when compared with any of Victoria’s highest performing schools. The overall improvement in 2017 is a testament to the targeted approach and diligent attention of the students and the positive relationships our teachers form with our young men. As ever, the organised and intrinsically motivated students performed to the highest standard.

Congratulations to 2017 College Dux, Sam Callaghan, who achieved an outstanding ATAR of 99.50. Sam’s extraordinary results in perhaps the six most challenging Unit 3 and 4 subjects are the result of a disciplined, organised approach, a dedication to maximising his potential and a willingness to work closely with teachers and peers. Sam’s results in his six subjects – attaining scores in the 40s for five of them – sets a tremendous example for other De La Salle students.

A key focus for 2018 is to improve the level of student engagement at all levels. Our teachers are planning interventions related to the classroom climate that significantly improve student engagement and learning:

  • High expectations
  • Strong teacher-student relationships
  • Clarity and structure in instruction
  • Active learning
  • Encouragement and praise
  • Consistent corrections and consequences.

As I write we are in the middle of a very engaging, challenging and rewarding Year 12 Retreat, being held at Rawson Village in Gippsland. With more than 180 Year 12 students working in their four Houses, it is a big few days – especially feeding them! I cannot speak highly enough of the conduct, application and engagement of these terrific young men as they navigate the various activities centred around themes supporting their transition from adolescence into manhood. The Retreat sessions involve reading, presentations, discussion, reflection and sharing ideas around values, beliefs, affirmation, relationships and resilience. Now in its third year, the involvement of Old Collegians from the previous year’s graduation class has been a most successful and beneficial addition to the program. It is wonderful to see these twelve Old Colls return to support the current Year 12 students on their journey in a mature and thoughtful style. A special thank you to all the staff involved, especially the four House Coordinators, Mrs Brogan as the Retreat Coordinator and Mr Ryan for looking after all the logistics.

We are very excited about the high quality of the new staff we welcome to the College in 2018, each of whom will make a positive contribution in their area of expertise.

Miss Sarah Blaschak — English
Mr Thomas Cairnes — Sports Assistant Trainee
Mr Andrew Devlin — English
Miss Emma Fairclough — Maths/Science
Miss Sharni Folland — Drama
Mr Richard Freeman — Clarinet
Mr Ramesh Gammune — Design Technology
Ms Jennifer Hall — Music
Miss Patrice McBean — Media/English
Ms Lyn McGuinness — Director of Finance & Administration
Miss Lydia Moloney — Media/English
Mr Lachlan Morton — English
Ms Elizabeth O’Connell — Maths, Year 9 Inquiry
Ms Dale Orders — Maths
Mr Benjamin Paine — Sports Assistant Trainee
Ms Pina Sernio — Year 6
Ms Hanna Trewartha — Trombone
Mr Aaron Trusler — Lasallian Youth Minister
Mr Ben Williamson — English Learning Area Team Leader

Finally, a reminder for all families in Year 4 and Year 7 and those others who are new to De La Salle in 2018 – the Opening and Welcome Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the city at 6:30pm on Wednesday 21 February. Families will receive specific information, but I would ask that all new families ensure the date is free and students are at the Cathedral by 6:00pm. This is a special event in the life of the College, compulsory for all new students and a great opportunity for the whole family to come along (there’s plenty of space at St Patrick’s) to see the students presented and welcomed to our community.

Mr Peter Houlihan

Back to The Duce Issue 2018 01 - 8 February 2018