This week marks the end of classes for this year’s Year 10 and Year 11 students, having completed six days of VCE Headstart as 2019 Year 11 and Year 12 students. This is a crucial week in that it provides the opportunities for our students to literally get a head start – as the name suggests – and set themselves up for a successful VCE.
I urge all students and parents to have a chat about the week, reflect on what they discovered and decide what will be required to achieve their very best in 2019. There will have been some work set for the Christmas break in each subject. It is a clear expectation this is completed to the best of each students’ ability and the students with the highest level of organisation and aspiration will do so next week. It is much better to complete this important work while the lessons of Headstart week are still fresh in the mind, plus students can then take the remaining seven weeks of the break to relax with a clear conscience and know they are well prepared for the return to school in January. We expect all students to commit fully to their selected subjects and work closely, in association with their teachers in true Lasallian fashion.
The Year 12 students on the Yaluwo Immersion at Diyagala Boys Town have been there for a week and are having a terrific time. I have been in touch with Mrs Brogan during the week and everything is going smoothly. The majority of work this week has been painting classroom walls, desks and furniture, and the team has really enjoyed working alongside the local Sri Lankan boys, getting to know them, playing sport with them and developing friendships. They have also had the opportunity to see a little of Colombo’s history through its colonial buildings and have participated in the Christmas pageant at the children’s hostel at Boys Town.
Planning for the Yaluwo Immersion for November next year is already underway for the 2019 Year 12 students. I spoke to the cohort at an assembly on Thursday morning and outlined the nature of the program, the commitment required, but more importantly the tremendous opportunities and benefits to be gained by the students who participate. Lifelong memories, unique friendships with Sri Lankan Lasallians and a life‐changing experience are all guaranteed by being part of Yaluwo. This chance to live our Lasallian mission, to serve others and exercise that preferential option for the poor as a genuine contribution to our social justice program is something all Year 12 students should consider. Many students picked up an Expression of Interest Form; further copies are available at Kinnoull reception or by emailing Mrs Brogan at email@example.com.
Last Wednesday we held an Open Day at our new Holy Eucharist Year 9 Campus in Malvern East. With still plenty of work to go in completing the refurbishment, much of the site was inaccessible but we were able to show about 160 parents and ten parishioners through enough of the campus to gain a good indication of how things will look in January when the Year 9 cohort move in. We ran tours every 20 minutes from 2:00 – 7:00pm and all were very impressed by the new entrance, new fence, landscaping and freshly opened bright and contemporary reception area. The tours visited the hall, several classrooms, one of the break‐out spaces and the very attractive playing spaces. It was terrific working with so many parents during the afternoon as they shared their enthusiasm for the new development, asked many questions and took one step closer to becoming part of our new Year 9 Campus community. A special thank you to the many staff who came along to support the afternoon, especially Year 9 Head of Campus, Mr David Alexander and the 2019 Learning and Teaching Leader, Ms Lauren Anderson. The team of thirteen teachers are working very hard on putting together a challenging, exciting and engaging Year 9 program for next year; we can’t wait!
Finally, it is important I inform you Ms Lisa Harkin, Deputy Principal — Students will be moving on at the end of the year. Ms Harkin has been awarded the position as Head of Campus at the Officer Campus of St Francis Xavier College, Beaconsfield. While we are very sad to see Ms Harkin go, this is a wonderful opportunity for her, running a growing Campus in her own right and no doubt having a wonderful influence on shaping their community. Ms Harkin has been an outstanding Deputy Principal, driving innovation and support for our students in so many ways, winning hearts and minds along the way. She will certainly be missed, but of course, goes with our best wishes.
I would like to thank all in our community – staff, students and parents – for their wonderful support for and engagement in all that has been achieved at De La in 2018. It has been a very busy year in many ways with a number of new initiatives and developments – curriculum, wellbeing, buildings and planning for the future. All of this depends on the strength, loyalty and sense of belonging our community generates and I thank you all for being part of our 2018 community.
I wish all staff and families a very happy, safe and holy Christmas and New Year and look forward to seeing all students back fresh and ready to go in January.
Mr Peter Houlihan