From the Principal

Dear Parents,

Welcome back to the final term for 2016. I hope all in the community had a restful and enjoyable break and are now looking forward to a productive end to the year. I look forward with anticipation to Term Four which always provides a number of positive events and celebrations as we mark the completion of the school year for the different year levels. In particular I look forward to our major celebrations farewelling the Class of 2016.

One such celebration will take place tonight, Tuesday October 11 with the annual Salesian College Chadstone Visual Arts and Design Show. Our Visual Arts and Design Show provides all in the community a chance to observe the work our boys have completed in their Arts and Technology classes and to reflect on their achievements for the year. This year we are fortunate to be able to hold this event in our newly renovated Naylon building. It is sure to be a joyous occasion being able to share the boy’s work with their parents as well as families who may join us in coming years. I wish to thank all the Art and Technology Department staff for their work with the boys throughout the year and their work in bringing the exhibition together.

Over the past few weeks there has been much to celebrate across the school. I would firstly like to mention the VCAL caravan project. As has been mentioned a number of times and advertised in many of our communications, the VCAL boys undertook the monstrous task of completely renovating a caravan and then raffling it for charity. It is with a great deal of pride and amazement I am able to report that the boys achieved their goal of renovating the caravan, displaying it proudly at Sandown at the Leisurefest show last weekend. They did a marvellous job. They were able to raise in excess of seven thousand dollars which will be donated to cancer research. All of the boys and staff involved should be very proud of their achievement.

Just before the Term break the College held its annual Sports Award Night. I would like to thank all the families who joined us to celebrate the sporting achievements for the 2016 year. We estimate in excess of 500 guests join us on the night which added to the atmosphere and success of the night. Thanks to Mr Steve Loonstra and Mr Domenic Scarpino for their efforts in bringing the night together.

Last Thursday Monsignor Greg Bennett celebrated our Sacramental Mass with 26 boys undertaking one or more sacraments of Baptism, Communion and Confirmation. It was a wonderful celebration with all the families of the boys joining us for Mass and a light lunch. Occasions such as this remind us of the central mission of our school and the joy it can bring to us. Thanks and congratulations to Mrs Nadia Knight, Ms Sarah Rapson, Ms Melina Barcellona and Mr Noel McGarry for their support and guidance of the boys throughout their preparations.

We finished last week off with Cabaret Night, an annual event showcasing the wonderful talent in our community. Current students and staff, families of students and past students performed, making for a great night’s entertainment.

The next three weeks are a significant time for our Year 12 students as they make final preparations for their upcoming exams. I encourage them to focus on the advice of their teachers and to use their time wisely, making the best use of the resources available to them. I encourage parents to work with their sons to keep them on track and not to lose focus with all the other distractions that are placed in front of them at this time of the year. Celebrations should be put on hold until after their last exam.

For those of us who work in boys’ education, we become acutely aware of how daunting long term goals can be for them. The thought of all of the exams and all of the work needed to be completed in the coming weeks can make the task seem impossible for some of our boys. With this in mind, I make the following suggestion to our boys and their families. Each student needs to set a series of short and medium term goals. Divide the work up into to doable tasks and then go about putting one foot in front of the other and sticking to the task at hand. Only then will the job be manageable and the work load achievable.
The one thing I can guarantee by following this simple advice is that the sense of achievement and the satisfaction of knowing you have completed what you set out to do is wonderful. Whilst what you do and how you do it will be different from everyone else, the ultimate feelings will be the same as you will have done your best and achieved your goals. All boys can achieve the dreams they wish to achieve if they make a conscious decision to take steps now (or continue taking steps) in the last few weeks of their secondary education.
A word of warning, there is a tendency for some students to lose their way at this time of the year, allowing themselves to get caught up in the ‘silly season’ too early. In schools the silly season does not only refer to the festive season, as the end of the school year can also fall into this category if we allowed it to. We will continue to encourage the boys on a daily basis to study hard and place pressure on them to do their very best as they prepare for their exams. At the same time there will be talk of finishing and celebrations, however, this should not give them the excuse of allowing these things to distract them from the job at hand. Students need to keep their lives in perspective, set their goals and go about achieving them on a daily basis.

When placed under stress and when we are working hard, we can very easily (consciously or subconsciously) become rude and obnoxious. Whilst we can all understand these frustrations, I don’t believe family, friends and other members of our community should have to put up with our moods. So I ask all the boys to be mindful of their behaviours in these pressured times. Staff, family and friends are all there to lend support to the boys as they undergo this difficult time and the boys have to remember this. In fact, it is in their best interest that they ensure that their connectedness with those around them remains, as it is likely that it will be these connections which will provide the greatest support and sanity at this crazy time. I also encourage them to embrace the intensity of their existence at this time, as it will be an appreciation of what they have done which will give them the greatest sense of satisfaction and joy when they reap the rewards of their labours.

I wish our students well in the coming weeks and remind them that we are right behind them and that they go with God’s blessing.

Mr Rob Brennan