From the Principal

There is always a sense of relief when we come to the end of a term knowing that all of us in the community have given of ourselves to achieve what we have in the past ten weeks. We can certainly reflect positively on all that has happened and all that has been achieved in Term three 2014. This term we enjoyed the College Production of Hairspray and had the chance to listen to a number of performances by the College Band. We were able to cheer on our boys as they competed on basketball courts, hockey pitches and across table tennis tables. Whilst we didn’t get to taste ultimate success, a number of our teams made it through to semi-finals, with a grand final appearance in the Year 10 hockey. In all of these sporting competitions our boys competed hard, represented themselves and our school with great pride and most importantly had fun competing with their mates. Earlier in the term we celebrated the feast of the Assumption, and we have participated in many fundraising and social justice activities over the Term. These are but a few happenings that have taken place this term. All of these undertakings require dedication and commitment on behalf of staff and students and we thank them for their efforts and we celebrate them all in the knowledge that they have added positively to the Salesian Community.

We ended the term on a great note with last week’s community week celebrations. It was an amazing week highlighting just how wonderful our community is. We began the week walking 10kms as a community raising money for the Salesian Missions. With a short campaign, our boys rose to the occasion raising in excess of $10,000. Why this was such a great day, was that it was initiated by the boys themselves through the Student Leadership team and then all boys entered into the event with enthusiasm and positivity. The walk was followed throughout the week with a number of activities including a variety of staff/student games, some international food lunches, a battle of the bands and even a Salesian’s Got Talent Evening. All events were laced with joy and a real sense of community and I would like to thank all involved and congratulate them on how they entered into these events. The week culminated on Friday with Community Day. We came together to celebrate Community Week Mass before entering into a series of activities which appeared to keep the boys entertained and provided much joy amongst us all. I think we can all be very proud of our achievements during community week and take great pleasure in the knowledge that we all belong to a wonderful community.

In an article written by psychologist David DeSteno, Director of Northeastern University’s Social Emotions Lab, he explores the notion of trust. Everything I have just spoken of with regards Community Week and the sense of joy and pride we gained from it, I believe, comes about because of a true trust within our community.

The article poses the question; ‘What does it really mean to “trust”?’ In short, he comes to the conclusion that trust is a belief that someone will meet someone else’s needs or wants. A simplistic definition however is one which encapsulates the essence of trust. Dr DeSteno also states that unlike many other puzzles we confront, questions of trust don’t just involve attempting to grasp and analyse a perplexing concept. They all share another characteristic: risk. So while it’s true that we turn our attention to many complex problems throughout our lives, finding the answers to most doesn’t usually involve navigating the treacherous landscape of our own and others’ competing desires. Trust implies a seeming unknowable — a bet of sorts, if you will. At its base is a delicate problem centered on the balance between two dynamic and often opposing desires — a desire for someone else to meet your needs and their desire to meet their own.

Dr De Steno goes on to suggest “One of the most profound … is that trust isn’t only a concern that emerges at big moments in our lives. It’s not relevant just to signing a contract, making a large purchase, and exchanging wedding vows. … whether we realize it or not, issues of trust permeate our days from the time we’re born to the time we die, and it’s often what’s below the surface of consciousness that can have the greatest influence on a life well lived. Our minds didn’t develop in a social vacuum. Humans evolved living in social groups, and that means the minds of our ancestors were sculpted by the challenges posed by living with others on whom they depended.”

The strongest point Dr DeSteno makes from my point of view is that trust shapes how we love and how we learn, why we succeed and why we falter, what we buy and what we leave behind. Perhaps most pivotally and uncomfortably, however, trust defines our relationship with ourselves — the quality of the inward gaze and the tangle of dignity, anxiety, uncertainty, and conviction with which we hold it.

Given this point it is imperative that we learn to trust the people around us if we are to develop into the person we have the potential to be. This is not always easy and I would argue is getting harder by the day. People hacking into our private accounts, terrorists living amongst us, big brother watching our every move does not instill a sense of trust in us so why do we have to trust those around us? The short answer is that we have to. The potential benefits from trusting others considerably outweigh the potential losses on average. The ever-increasing complexity and resources of human society — its technological advancement, interconnected social capital, and burgeoning economic resources — all depend on trust and cooperation. . . . more can be achieved by working together than by working alone. That’s why we trust — plain and simple. The need to increase resources — whether they be financial, physical, or social — often necessitates depending on others to cooperate.

It is for this reason I get so much joy and pride on a daily basis here in the Salesian College Chadstone community because by and large I believe we know that we can trust those in our community. Sure there are individuals in our community who let themselves down from time to time, misbehaving here, a little gossip there, dropping the odd bit of rubbish. These things all undermine trust but I am sure these actions are not malicious, not deliberate, rather just lapses in what is otherwise a wonderful community. So the challenge I have for all in the community is this: are you a person of trust, can others in the community rely on you to do the right thing? If we build on this great community and increase the level of trust we will grow stronger as a community as well as individuals and our achievements will be even greater.

God bless, have a great break, rest up and return safe and happy for the last term of the year.

Robert Brennan