Welcome back for 2020. I hope all in our De La Salle community had a terrific break over the summer and have returned refreshed and ready to work.
Our thoughts and prayers have been with the many thousands of Australians so badly affected by the terrible bushfires. Various members of our school have already been making suggestions as to how we may be able to support the affected communities, in true Lasallian spirit.
A special welcome to all those families who are joining De La Salle for the first time this year, especially those in the Year 5 and Year 7 cohorts. Beginning at a new school can be a daunting exercise but I am thrilled with the way all our new students have settled in, been made to feel comfortable and are already thinking this is well and truly “their” school – as should be the case.
It’s been wonderful to meet so many new and existing parents at the various Information Nights and other events which always dominate the first few weeks of the school year. I believe it is always a sign of a great school when parents turn up in such numbers to support these events and take such an active interest in their sons’ progress, wellbeing and indeed all aspects of school life.
In this week’s Duce I would like to reflect on the three wonderful days we had away last week with the Year 12 students on their Annual Retreat. Firstly, I must thank all our Year 12 students, especially the incoming House Leaders, and acknowledge the terrific manner in which they engaged in the Retreat, ably supported and led by attending staff.
Traditionally, a “Retreat” is an opportunity to get away from normal daily work and routines, literally retreat to a more remote location and focus on reflection, contemplation, dialogue and discussion. Each year I see the Year 12 students approach their retreat with a little trepidation, presuming it’s going to be one long RE class! However, when they see they have the chance to discuss, share and deal with issues so relevant to them, they open up.
Sharing experiences and opinions on issues that influence and impact them is very invigorating for our young men and it was great to be immersed in their animated and heartfelt discussions. Sharing their views on family, relationships, values, Lasallian charism, religion, influences, goals, connections and other contemporary societal issues was a rich learning experience for all.
The Retreat is a significant feature of our students’ passage into and through Year 12, setting them up for the year both as individuals and as a cohort. I’m sure it helps them be the best version of themselves in their final year, preparing to leave us in November as great young men.
I was thrilled to pass on the news to our De La Community of Old Collegian, Wes Agar, being awarded the very prestigious Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year Award at Monday night’s Allan Border Medal Ceremony. Wes graduated from De La Salle in the Class of 2014, when he captained an ACC 1st XI Cricket Premiership. Wes also had a brief stint on staff for a few months as AFL Trainee in 2015 before moving to Adelaide.
Being named the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year is a great honour and a just reward for the terrific work Wes has put in since moving to Adelaide. Wes was in a Victorian development squad but has really blossomed into a promising fast bowler at Sheffield Shield, 50 over and T20 levels since moving to South Australia.
Finally, I have been thrilled to receive three calls from members of the public in the past week, extolling the virtues of our terrific De La students. Impeccable manners on the 72 tram reported by an elderly woman, assisting a woman across a pedestrian crossing on her walking frame reported by a driver at the lights and a group of students assisting a gentleman who was very distressed on the pavement having tipped over his motorised wheelchair. We do expect this type of respect and leadership from all our young men, but it is very heartening to receive news like this; we are so proud of our students and even more so in situations like this.
Enjoy the first few weeks of the academic year and I hope to catch up with as of you as possible at the exciting events coming up this term.
Mr Peter Houlihan