The Duce Issue 2020 07 - 18 June 2020

From the Principal

It has been terrific to welcome back all the Year 5 – 10 students in the past week; schools are just meant to have lots of students running around, laughing and learning and simply being the great young men we know, so it’s very nice to be back to something approaching “the new normal.” 

I have visited each class across all Year Levels in the past week or two, asking the students what they saw as the positives and the challenges in the six-eight weeks of their remote learning experience. The feedback has largely been positive with a variety of good habits and improved work practices discovered, but the overwhelming majority were very glad to be back on-site with their friends — and even their teachers! Many students reported greatly increased levels of responsibility, resilience and organisation on a personal level. Using OLLIE Chat and MS Teams was a great way to work with teachers for part of the lesson, but the ability to set their own timelines to complete work, to push hard then back off when it suited them have been reported as key positives by the De La Salle students.

Other students spoke about the challenge of motivation whilst working alone at home, to keep up to date with the work without teachers and classmates to guide, support and encourage. These young men were grateful for the return to formal classes and the structure and routine this provides. Overall, the students rated the experience a success and felt the College looked after them from learning, wellbeing and organisational perspectives. It was certainly challenging at times to navigate the remote learning landscape and ensure none of our young men slipped through the cracks but a marvellous team approach by many dedicated staff teams meant we have returned in good shape. 

The students’ attitude upon resumption is a critical element of restoring their learning and progression; maintaining the good headway they made whilst working at home and for some, catching up where they may have fallen behind. This is where we expect students to rise to our expectations and the simple and fair standards our teachers set. Each young man needs to work to the best of his ability, ensure all work is completed and submitted to the highest standard possible for each individual. It is critical to finish Semester 1 well and for the Year 10s and 11 students in particular, use strong study habits to make sure they have access to the units of their choice in the subject selection process next Term.

The current Black Lives Matter campaign brings into stark reality many of the ugly issues racism brings. In searching for lessons and any positive lessons to come out of this for our students, I have been looking at events in the USA and abroad through a Lasallian lens. A recent article in the
AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education drew interesting parallels with how our Core Principles can combat racism. 

With reference to our Lasallian values, our Lasallian mission compels us to directly engage with racial justice.  We cannot sit idly by, but must instead lead by example in creating change on individual and institutional levels (Young et al, 2018). The Five Core Principles of a Lasallian Education could well be used to adopt a more balanced and Christian approach at a local, national and international level. It is my hope and prayer that the work we do with our students as a matter of course helps them become young men of compassion, character and empathy, perfectly capable of seeing wrong and doing something about it in their own way. An emphasis on “Respect for all Persons” and “An Inclusive Community” for example, can help understanding, tolerance and acceptance in any circumstances. Whether it’s Year 7 students organising a game in the yard or dealing with Indigenous disadvantage in our society, embracing the reality that acknowledging these lived experiences of our peers are ways of helping each other—particularly our students—transform their realities and build bridges to each other and of building community/connection/association.

Peter Houlihan

Young, Danielle M., Jeffrey J. Sable, and Jack Curran. “Exploring the Intersections: Racial Justice, our Lasallian Heritage, and the Catholic Tradition.” AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education 9, no. 2 (Institute for Lasallian Studies at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota: 2018).

Faith and Mission

Refugee Week 2020

This year, Refugee week will run from Sunday 14 June until Saturday 20 June. Refugee week is Australia’s peak annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers. This year the 2020 theme for Refugee Week is Year of Welcome. 

This week at De La Salle College, the community will all be supporting Refugee Week through the initiatives of St Austin’s House who are proudly committed to advocating for the Melbourne Catholic Migrant and Refugee Centre, who provide pastoral care to migrants and refugees in Melbourne. 

As Lasallian’s, it is important to always recognise that we are called to be people of hope, of justice and inclusivity and that our message is to promote a culture of encounter with the other in an effort to combat indifference. 

Pope Francis reminds us that “We ourselves need to see, and then enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved,” (Pope Francis, 2014).

Throughout the week, St Austin’s House will be holding a number of activities to promote the awareness of Refugees and on Friday 19 June students are asked to make a gold coin donation and wear casual clothes to school in support of Refugee Week. 

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God… 

Merciful God,
Whose own Son become a refugee and had no place to call his own;
Look with mercy on those who today are fleeing from danger, are homeless and hungry.
Bless those who bring them relief;
And inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
Guide the leaders of our nation to embrace a spirit of compassion and concern for human dignity, especially when dealing with and developing Refugee and Asylum-seeker policies.

St John Baptist de La Salle – Pray For Us
Live Jesus in Our Hearts – Forever 

Rana Brogan
Deputy Principal – Faith and Mission 


Life has changed for all of us due to COVID-19 restrictions. Some people have enjoyed these changes, others have found it challenging and many of us will have experienced a mixture of these things. 

You might have had to transition to online learning or study without much warning. You might have had less time to talk to friends, or had to change the way you spend time together. You might have had your work hours reduced or cut altogether, adding huge financial pressure on rent or bills. Spending more time at home may have put additional pressure on already strained family or household relationships, making it challenging for you to find space to look after your wellbeing. You might even be struggling with the transition back to on campus learning. 

As a result of COVID-19 challenges you might find yourself:

  • struggling to find motivation
  • finding it hard to keep a routine
  • not keeping up with day to day chores
  • being less interested in things you usually enjoy
  • sleeping a lot more or less
  • feeling worried about the future

You might be:

  • thinking that returning to your life before COVID-19 seems like a huge task
  • finding things that used to be easy becoming difficult, worrying or scary
  • finding it hard to get going
  • concerned you might catch the virus
  • realising you want to make changes to the way you live your life
  • wondering if your friendships will be the same

So what can you do? 

Prepare yourself by thinking about how your life has changed and what you want your life to look like. You might find that some things are easier to return to than others. This will be different for everyone, and that’s OK. It can be tricky to know where to begin. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • think about the fun things you want to do once restrictions ease
  • write out a plan to help motivate yourself. Sometimes detail can help motivate you even if you don’t quite feel like it at the time. 
  • ask your family and friends to get involved
  • take it slow. Gradually try new things. You don’t need to do everything straight away
  • start with something that seems easier, before moving to difficult things
  • if you’re worried about catching the virus remember to practice hand hygiene and physical distancing
  • think about what you might need to do if things don’t go well, and write down a few ideas of what might help you get back on track

The easing of restrictions might be an exciting, fun, and enjoyable time for some. For others, it might be scary, uncertain or overwhelming. It’s normal to feel anything and everything, so remember to be kind to yourself.

Where do I go for help?

If you need support – start by reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, teacher or Elder to share what you are going through. Remember that there are lots of people at De La Salle to help you – your mentor teacher, coordinator, Head of Campus/Director of Students, Psychologists. We want to hear from you if you are having a hard time, or even if you are not! If you ever feel unable to cope because of overwhelming or intense emotions or if you have any thoughts of harming yourself, then ask for help immediately.

National Crisis Services:
If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, contact mental health services or emergency services on 000.
Headspace: visit to find your nearest centre or call eheadspace on 1800 650 890
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or

Additional Youth Services:
Kids Helpline:
1800 55 1800 or

Jessica Alger
Deputy Principal — Stude

Credit: Headspace

Running for a Good Cause

12 Kilometres in 12 Hours

While our students were at home participating in Online Learning, Year 8 Student (Year 8 Solomon) Liam Laidlaw, along with his cousin Ronan, decided they wanted to something active and challenging for charity.

The young men decided they would run 1km each hour, on the hour, from 7.00am until 7.00pm on Saturday 6 June. Liam and Ronan set an approximate target of $500 to which they would donate to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, a very worthy cause. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is an Australian non-profit organisation established in 1999 to help protect and preserve the Great Barrier Reef. 

The pair set up a Facebook page calling for donations and by the end of the day, they had raised a total of $969.34. We are extremely proud of Liam, who has demonstrated Lasallian values throughout this initiative. Well done! 

Lasallian Zeal Awards

The Lasallian Zeal Achievement and Recognition Policy seeks to affirm and develop positive learning behaviours. Lasallian Zeal encourages students to set higher goals for themselves and to achieve their personal best. Motivation to learn is dramatically impacted by being successful. 

StudentMentor GroupAward
Joshua MilesYear 9, CusackSilver
Adrian SkutelaYear 9, RummerySilver
Daniel MartinYear 9, CarmodyBronze
Luke HealyYear 9, RummeryBronze

The five Core Lasallian Principles encompass the categories of achievement and recognition and will be known as Lasallian Zeal. Students will build up nominations over the course of their time at De La Salle College. Students will receive a certificate and a Lasallian Zeal badge in the appropriate colour as described below. 

  • Bronze Lasallian Zeal 10 awards in any category
  • Silver Lasallian Zeal 20 awards (10 Bronze Lasallian Zeal plus two in each category)
  • Gold Lasallian Zeal 30 awards (20 Silver Lasallian Zeal plus two in each category)
  • Platinum Lasallian Zeal 40 awards (30 Gold Lasallian Zeal plus two in each category)

Congratulations to these students on receiving their awards. 

Jessica Alger
Deputy Principal — Students

Teacher / Staff Q and A

Melissa Walsh, Year 7 Coordinator

Can you give us a brief description of your position? 

I am responsible for supporting all the Year 7 students as they begin their secondary school journey here at De La Salle. One of the most important parts of my job is having possession of the Master Key for all the lockers! Lately I have seem to be using it on a daily basis as lots of Year 7 students have forgotten their locker combinations during remote learning!

More seriously, the Mentors for each homeroom do an amazing job with the students on a daily basis, so a key part of my role is to help the Mentors and then, when needed, step in when extra help is required. I also organise the Year 7 Camp, present at Year Level information nights, and visit primary schools to start the transition process into De La Salle. I also teach Year 7 History, English and PD, as well as a Year 11 History class. 

How long have you taught at De La Salle? 

Since 2018.

Can you tell us something special about teaching at De La Salle?

The students are very appreciative of their teachers. It is very nice to be thanked for doing your job. During remote learning, I also developed a new appreciation for my fellow teachers as we learnt how to teach in new ways. I have had some inspiring discussions with many colleagues about new ways we can teach and learn here at De La Salle. I am very proud of what we achieved this term and excited for the future.

Who is someone you admire and why?

That’s a tough one. I have many people who I know personally who I admire. If I was to consider people in public life, I have a great admiration for journalists who, at this time in history, are subjected to insult and violence and even death for reporting stories that powerful people may not want made public. A free and rigorous press is really important for our democracy. So I admire all those people who try to shine the light of truth in those dark places. Maria Ressa in the Philippines is a good example, as is Carole Cadwalladr in the UK and Ronan Farrow in the USA. 

Do you have any pets? Can you share a picture? 

We have a family cat called Zimmy. She thinks she is a dog. 

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

I actually wanted to be an architect, right up to about Year 9 or 10. It was around that time someone said to me that my maths skills weren’t really good enough for me to get into that field. Rather than challenging that assessment and having a growth mindset towards maths, I just kind of accepted it. Even so, I think deep down I always wanted to be a teacher and was always going to end up in the classroom because I just love learning so much!

Which is your House and who do you support in the AFL?

Mighty Austins House and the Mighty Magpies!

Important Notices

Uniform Shop

The ONSITE uniform shop will remain closed until the beginning of Term 3. De La Salle uniforms are available at Dobsons, 667 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn. Students may wear summer uniform for a week or two without fear of a uniform infringement note. Please be aware that no second hand items will be accepted during this time. Second hand items can be sold via the Sustainable School Shop:

Current Uniform Price List

Important Dates

Important upcoming dates in the College calendar.

Term 2 concludes
Staff Professional Practice Day - no classes
Staff Professional Learning Day - no classes
Staff Professional Learning Day - no classes
Term 3 Commences - students return to school