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Principal’s Message – 7 March 2019
05.03.19

Edmund Rice Education Australia Touchstone

Gospel Spirituality

We invite people into the story of Jesus and strive to make his message of
compassion, justice and peace a living reality within our community.

As a Catholic community, we are experiencing a time of great distress due to the recent events involving the conviction of Cardinal George Pell our country’s most senior Catholic cleric. The verdict of guilt by the courts would no doubt raise great questions within our community, the wider community and across the nation. Questions, who for some dig deep into the heart of our very fabric as a Catholic community and as human beings who strive to model our lives on the values and messages of our faith. We cannot ignore these questions, nor can we ever downplay the impact of these events and those that have become evident through the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Importantly we must turn our thoughts and our prayers to the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of those who they should have been able to trust most.

As an Edmund Rice School, we are challenged to provide a liberating education, which is inclusive and centred on Gospel values in the promotion of justice and solidarity. It is important that these shocking events, although difficult to comprehend, unite us as a community to be even more resolute to the values we uphold. We must strive to make the message of compassion, justice and peace a living reality within our community. As a community, we understand the important role that we have in working together with our young men, in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment in the promotion of respectful relationships and in the promotion of these values. These challenging events reinforce our commitment as a Catholic community to our responsibility to work with families in assisting our young men to make sense of their world as it is playing out before them. Our role as parents, carers and teachers continues to be the most important role that we have.

It is important that we do not lose sight of all the good that is happening within our community. We must take great pride in the immense capacity of our young people and continue to nurture their potential, understanding and commitment to becoming good young men who are empowered to act justly, with a sense of purpose in the promotion of all that we value to be important. We must challenge them to become co-creators of a world that is free of prejudice and hate. To develop a capacity to question what is wrong, reflect deeply and to act truthfully and compassionately in their pursuit of happiness.

 

During a time where we are challenged by the abhorrent crimes of abuse experienced by young people, that we take the opportunity to reinforce our commitment as an EREA school to creating an environment where the safety, wellbeing and participation of all children and young people is paramount. It is our commitment to ensure that each and every child and young person under our care are kept safe and free from all forms of harm and abuse. Our commitment to these beliefs is clearly articulated in our EREA Commitment Statement to Child Safety.

The link below leads to a letter from Reverend Dr David Ransom, the Diocesan Administrator for the Diocese of Broken Bay in response to the conviction of Cardinal George Pell.

 

Season of Lent

On Wednesday we celebrated the beginning of the season of Lent with our Ash Wednesday Liturgy. Ash Wednesday is one of the most important Holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday takes place forty-six days before Easter Sunday and opens the season of Lent, a time of fasting and prayer.

The concept of fasting promotes the notion of giving up something throughout the Lenten period. A particular focus of our Ash Wednesday Liturgy was to challenge members of our community to give up some of their time to help others. Students were encouraged to make a concerted effort to complete some of their Waterford hours, to give up some of their time and reconnect with their parish, to devote some time to pray for those who are disadvantaged, in need and at the margins of our society. In keeping with the Catholic tradition of fasting, no meat products will be available for purchase in the canteen each Friday, throughout the Lenten period.

We will conclude the season of Lent with our Easter Liturgy on Friday April 12. This Liturgy is held in conjunction with the students from St Joseph’s College and traditionally incorporates a powerful performance of the Stations of the Cross, by students from both Colleges. Parents are invited to attend this ceremony and further details will be made available in the lead up to this event.

Year 10 Retreats

Throughout this week and next, Year 10 students will be participating in a one-day Retreat program at Camp Kariong. These retreats, which have been organised by Mr Beacroft and Mrs Toomey and facilitated by the Religious Education Teachers, focus on challenging boys to reflect on the relationships that they establish with their parents, family and friends. Students are involved in a range of activities and presentations that provide an opportunity for them to reflect on the values that are important to them in relationships. Values such as respect, honesty, trust, forgiveness and loyalty. The day culminates in a liturgy, allowing boys time to pray, sing and reflect on specifically chosen Gospel readings that explore these values. This Retreat is one of the many opportunities provided to students at the College to reflect deeply on the type of young man they hope to become.

A special thanks to Mr Beacroft, Mrs Toomey, Mr Toole, Mr McCauley and the Year 10 Religious Education Teachers for the thought and effort that goes into planning these reflective learning experiences.

Goal Setting

Students were recently provided with the opportunity to discuss their learning goals for the year with members of their tutor class. It is important for students to develop the capacity to set high expectations for themselves in relation to their learning. It is equally important that they be provided with time to reflect upon, and given advice and feedback regarding their progress. Students sharing their experience in a guided conversation has great potential for them to learn from each other allowing more senior students to role model positive learning behaviours. At the end of this term, students in Year 7-11 will be provided with an Interim Report, which provides feedback regarding their application and effort so far this year. Year 12 students will be issued with a Mid-Course Report that provides an assessment mark and rank, an examination mark and rank and a comment for each course. These reports are designed to give students and parents a clear indication of how students are progressing in each course. Parents will be invited to attend the Parent Teacher interviews early in Term 2 to discuss with teachers in more detail their son’s progress. It is important that students attend these interviews with their parents to ensure that they are provided with feedback first hand.

Some examples of student learning goals appear below:

Year 7:

My learning goal for Semester 1 2019 is: To get all my homework and assignments in on time.

Specific: What exactly will you accomplish: Spend 40 minutes on homework and assessments each night

This learning goal is important because: It will help me stay on top of my homework and assignments to get them done by the due date.

Year 11:

My learning goal for Semester 1 2019 is: To achieve an A grade in most of my subjects and to rank in the top 3 students in my class

Specific: What exactly will you accomplish: I will accomplish an A grade in most subjects and make top 3 in each class

This learning goal is important because: This learning goal is important to me because it sets me up for Year 12 and creates a good work ethic for studying.