From the Principal
I have been thrilled with the way the year has unfolded at all three campuses. As ever, there is a great deal going on in relation to formal academic work, settling new students in, especially at Years 5 and 7. The Year 9 students are very quickly developing ownership and identity at Holy Eucharist while taking the new curriculum in their stride, and VCE classes are establishing that steady rhythm so important for success at the senior end of the school.
It has been terrific to catch up with so many parents at the various formal and social events thus far. I always value the opportunity to chat with parents and keep them informed about what is happening. It is also an opportunity to discuss what is expected of their sons and build that sense of community, which is so important in a Lasallian school.
As the new year gets underway, all of us are reminded of our obligations and responsibilities, regardless of our role in the College.
On a Lasallian course in 2017, I was privileged to work with a famous and influential American De La Salle Brother and academic, Br William Mann. Br Bill, as he is known, has since written an article about Lasallian Leadership for the 21st Century, encompassing a variety of salient points for staff and students alike. One of his key themes is that St John Baptist de La Salle invited us to remember, “we are all called to be God’s ambassadors.” Lasallian educators, Br Bill says, are invited to be the link between what is, and what might be. This invitation extends to our young men as well.
I have had several reports of incidences of our students being terrific ambassadors, both within the school and without. Members of the public have phoned and written to compliment our students on exemplary behaviour. However, I am saddened and frustrated when we receive reports — and there have been three in the past week — of our young men letting themselves down with inappropriate behaviour in the public domain, primarily on public transport.
While those in question have largely been identified and the issues addressed, this is an example of not being a good ambassador for our great school. I seek the support and cooperation of all in our community, especially when wearing the College uniform, in setting the right tone and behaving responsibly in public at all times.
On Friday at the Academic Awards and Investiture of Leaders assembly, we will be presenting a range of students who model exemplary academic excellence and leadership. Building on Br Bill’s message, it is these fine young men who set the example and it is for all of us in the Lasallian community to support and encourage these students, to be “ambassadors of hope, to build in our students an awareness of and hunger for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.”
This concept of being ambassadors, the building of Lasallian spirit and a sense of hope, meaning and purpose is also being presented through our four House Liturgies this term. On Tuesday evening, we had a very successful St Austin’s House Liturgy, superbly led by House Coordinator, Shane Mackintosh and his five Year 12 House Leaders. The other House Liturgies for Year 10–12 students in Leo’s, Edwin’s and Mark’s will occur in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on the calendar and here in The Duce. These evenings are a terrific opportunity to build House spirit, for families and staff to come together and share in the education of our students, their spiritual life and sense of community.
On Saturday, we received word of the sad passing of Br Jeff Calligan. Jeff was a great character and while he only spent a few years here in Australia (outside his native USA), Jeff was much loved at Malvern and made a significant impact in his time here. Jeff died peacefully from liver and kidney failure aged 79, in his home state of Louisiana. Please keep Br Jeff and the community at St Paul’s, Covington in your thoughts and prayers.
I am sure you will join with me in wishing our ACC Swimming Team all the best of luck as they compete in the ACC Championships at MSAC on Friday night. A very strong squad of 30 has been selected for the program, keen to emulate the 2018 achievement of being ACC Division 1 Champions. Congratulations to not only those who have been selected in the final team but also the other 25 keen swimmers who had been training with the squad since August.
Mr Peter Houlihan