From the Principal

Over the past couple of weeks, I have doubted whether I would have the energy to get through to the end of the term (a feeling shared by many in the community). Having said that, we’ve made it, as we’re just a few short days from a well-earned break. It’s always nice when we come to the end of another term and we can reflect positively on all that has happened, and all that has been achieved. This term we have witnessed many fine achievements; we watched the College Production of ‘Mother Courage’, we interviewed 225 Year Five boys looking to join us in 2019, and we enjoyed the boys competing on the sporting fields and winning a couple of Premierships along the way. Joyfully we celebrated Don Bosco’s Oratory Week, where we were joined by some Old Collegians and past staff as we mingled for afternoon tea, socialized with current staff at dinner and celebrated everything about our Salesian community with our boys on Don Bosco’s Festival Day. We celebrated the Feast of the Assumption, participated in many fundraising and social justice activities and generally had a great term. All of these undertakings require dedication and commitment on behalf of staff and students, and we thank them all for their efforts as we celebrate in the knowledge we have enjoyed another positive term in the Salesian Community.

The end of Term 3 generally means the end of school based outcomes for most of our Year 12 students, however, it is important that our senior students realise this is not the time to sit back and relax. A builder cannot sit back and reflect on building three quarters of a house, as his clients nor he are going to be happy if that’s where he leaves it. This is also true for our Year 12 students. Whilst some may think they are finished, having completed all (or most) of their internal outcomes, they still have the fit out to complete. They need to use the upcoming two week break to prepare for their exams as there is still at least 50% of their marks to be assessed. We encourage them to use their time wisely so that they get a break and freshen up, as well as make a good start to exam preparation.

In spite of the weather, last week was an exciting time with our Don Bosco’s Oratory Week festivities. Throughout the week we ate, we played, we did some fund raising and generally celebrated everything community. It has been pleasing watching staff and students interacting in these fun activities. A myriad of activities demonstrated what a wonderful community exists here at Salesian College. As the leader of such a community I sit back with a great deal of pride and bask in the knowledge that we are going a long way towards meeting our mission of revealing the good news to all in the community.

I would like to finish the term with a reflection on the need to have faith in ourselves, faith in others and importantly, in God.

In our lives there are going to be times when we do things well, and we will feel successful and have a strong belief or faith in ourselves. Yet there will be other times when we don’t get it right, where we may feel we have failed, and begin to doubt ourselves. We have to minimise the times of doubt and highlight the successful events or times in our lives. The big question is; how can we do this?

I argue the first thing we must realise is that neither our successes nor our failures are a true measure of who we are, or how successful we will become, nor should either be the only source of our self-belief or self-doubt. The successes and disappointments in our life are merely parts of our story, contributing what we allow to who we are or who we are to become. In the end, the true measure of our self-worth or our success will be measured by the way we develop as people through life’s experiences, and more importantly, how we live out our lives. It is through our relationships, and through the love and care we show each other that will be the true measure of our worth.

Secondly, to help us along the way to becoming good people, we need to surround ourselves with people we believe in, people we trust, people we are willing to put our faith in to guide and nurture us so that we can become the people we have the potential to be. These people need to be people we can rely on totally, who will love us unconditionally, be there to support us when we are down and provide air beneath our wings when we are flying, for most of us these people are likely to be our family, and in particular our parents, the people most likely to be taken for granted in our lives.

To emphasize the need to surround ourselves with people we can trust, I use the following story:

In 1859 the Great Blondin (the man who invented the high wire act) announced to the world that he intended to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. 5000 people gathered to watch. Halfway across, Blondin suddenly stopped, steadied himself, back flipped into the air, landed squarely on the rope, then continued safely to the other side. During that year, Blondin crossed the Falls again and again – once blindfolded, once carrying a stove, once in chains, and once on a bicycle.

Just as he was about to begin yet another crossing, this time pushing a wheelbarrow, he turned to the crowd and shouted “Who believes that I can cross pushing this wheelbarrow?”

Every hand in the crowd went up. Blondin pointed at one man.

“Do you believe that I can do it?” he asked. “Yes, I believe you can,” said the man. “Are you certain?” said Blondin “Yes,” said the man. “Absolutely certain?” “Yes, absolutely certain.” “Thank you,” said Blondin, “then, sir, get into the wheelbarrow.”

So I ask, like that man in the crowd, are we sure about the people in our lives? Do we have the certainty to hop in the wheel barrow if it is being pushed by these people? More importantly, when it comes to our decisions or our actions in crossing the metaphoric high wire of life, would we get in it if we were pushing ourselves?

Thirdly, I pose that faith in an all loving and an all caring God might be just that support we need. Whilst I know with certainty that our faith can be tested in many ways, we are often challenged as to whether we would get into God’s wheelbarrow in the same circumstances. Many times in our lives we choose not to. Whilst we have faith in God, there are times our worldly fears and wants hold us back from jumping in the wheelbarrow. Yet I believe there is one thing we can be certain of, and that is God’s love for us, a love that knows no bounds and will always be with us. When we come to accept this, loving ourselves becomes easier and we can begin to trust ourselves. A deep faith allows us to develop the confidence that will allow us to get over the fear of getting in that wheelbarrow.

I hope everyone in the community has a wonderful break, and returns to finish the year in the only way we know how, positively and with purpose.

God bless.

Rob Brennan