From the Principal

Welcome back to the final term of the year. I hope all in the community had a restful and enjoyable break (in spite of the poor weather) and are now looking forward to a productive end to the year. Term Four is always positive, with a number of events and celebrations to mark the completion of the school year. In particular, I look forward to our celebrations to farewell the Class of 2017.

Tonight (Tuesday October 17) the annual Salesian College Chadstone Art and Technology Exhibition will be held in the Naylon building. The exhibition highlights the work our boys have completed in their Art and Technology classes throughout the year. The evening is a joyous occasion, as we share the boys’ work with their parents. I wish to thank all the Art and Technology 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. 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 of the 2017 year. Thanks to Mr Steve Loonstra and Mr Domenic Scarpino for their efforts in bringing the night together. We were straight back into celebration mode in Week One of Term Four with Cabaret Night last Friday evening. This annual event showcases the wonderful talent in our community. We witnessed the talents of current students and staff, families of students and past students whose performances made for a great night’s entertainment.

This Friday we farewell the Year 12 students as they go off to prepare for their upcoming exams, which begin in just over two weeks’ time. The next few weeks are a significant time for our Year 12 students as they make final preparations for their 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, ensuring they do not 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.

I was once given some very sound advice which I share with the Year Twelve students as they prepare for their final exams. A wise man told me that there are two circles in our lives, he called them ‘Circles of Influence’. He explained the first circle is the one which contains all the things in our lives we can influence, and the second has all the things which we can’t. He said many of us focus too much on the second circle, which is a total waste of time. He suggested that what we should try to do in our lives is to grow the circle we can influence, and shrink the circle we can’t influence. It made sense to me, and I now find that I don’t waste time worrying about things over which I have no control. For our boys, the things they can influence over the next couple of weeks is the time they dedicate to their studies, the amount of sleep they get, and how they look after themselves. The things they can’t control are what is going to be on the exams and the exam timetable, amongst many other things. So focus on the things you can control.

Create a series of short term and medium term goals. Divide your work up into to doable tasks and set 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. I guarantee by following this simple advice you will make great use of the time available to you, and increase the sense of achievement and satisfaction knowing you have completed what you set out to do.

A word of warning. There is a tendency for some students to lose their way at this time of the year, allowing themselves to think the end of classes is the end of the year, and starting their celebrations a bit early. We encourage the boys to study hard and place pressure on themselves to do their very best as they prepare for their exams. Talk of finishing and celebrations should not give them the excuse 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.

This time in a student’s life can be stressful, so I ask all the boys to be mindful of their behaviours. Staff, family and friends are all there to lend you the support you need at this difficult time, and our boys need to remember this. In fact, it is in their best interest that they ensure their connectedness with those around them remains positive, 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.

Remember from a very early age we all have pressures from without and within. These pressures can weigh us down, or dampen our enthusiasm and energy. Some people seem to cope well, whereas for others even the smallest setback can prove to be a real hurdle. Struggle is part of life, no matter who we are or what stage in life we are tackling. The way we deal with pressure says much about who we are. Overcoming life’s struggles requires us to being open to new experiences, new ways, to expect the pain of growth, to nurture difference rather than to deny it. We need to open ourselves up to possibilities and, from there, developing a vision and a passion for the way ahead. The pressure of exams (whilst seeming overwhelming) will only last a short time, and at the end of that time one can determine the feelings one experiences. Will you choose to have the great feelings of satisfaction and joy, knowing that you have given your best shot, or will you condemn yourself to feelings of regret, knowing that you have let an opportunity pass without giving it your best?

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.

Rob Brennan