From the Principal

As we begin Week 4 of Term four I reflect on what has been a great week for the College, a week that is always highly anticipated, but also a week that can quickly go wrong in the wrong circumstances.

A meeting this morning where I was interviewed by two of the Year 7 students really highlighted for me how good the past week has been. The young journalists were in the midst of researching an article they were writing to incorporate into a newspaper they are compiling in their English class. The joy of working with these two fine young men came as I was suitably impressed by their maturity and the questions they asked. One of the questions asked was “What is it that gives me the greatest sense of joy here at Salesian College”? The answer came easily and automatically – “the boys”.

The two thirteen year old boys sitting nervously in front of me, seemed pleased with my response. Whilst these two young men were very impressive, and I looked forward to watching them develop over the next five years, I was also thinking of the wonderful young men we farewelled last week. Whilst these two boys had all the attributes of the boys we had bid farewell to, there was something missing. The missing element was the maturity, the sense of pride and belonging that the Year 12 boys had developed in the six years they had been at Salesian College.

The week of celebrations of the previous week demonstrated the maturity and overwhelming sense of the pride and the joys the class of 2014 had shared. We were able to bid farewell to a wonderful group of young men in a fitting way at the College Valedictory assembly on Wednesday in one of the finest school gatherings I have witnessed in my career. A great credit to the boys and staff involved. The highlight of the gathering was the Valedictory speech given by our College Captain Michael Olivetti which left very few dry eyes in the auditorium. It was also marvelous to recognise the Year 12 students who had achieved the highest internal score for their subject. As I highlighted in my farewell speech to the Class of 2014, we have been blessed with this year’s Year 12 students who brought a sense of joy and fun to everything they did. Their loyalty to themselves and to the College is something that was on show for all to see, something I will remember for a long time. It is always an emotional week with the excitement of students finishing their last class, the nervous tension that comes with looking in to a future no longer supported by the Salesian College community, and the anxiety that comes with the realisation that exams are finally upon us. The Class of 2014 leaves having made a unique and wonderful contribution to the history of Salesian College Chadstone.

Last Friday evening the wonderful celebrations continued as I participated in one of the most awe inspiring events I have had the pleasure of attending in my 27 years in education. Our Year 12 students, their parents, as well as staff, celebrated the Year 12 Valedictory Dinner in great spirits. They celebrated the finish of their secondary education and in particular all the hard work completed this year. It was wonderful to witness the Class of 2014 enjoying themselves and celebrating in an appropriate manner. The highlight of the evening was the boy’s rendition of the College song which literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It also had the effect of bringing back all the emotion of the Valedictory assembly two days earlier. An emotional scene that all involved in the community can be very proud of. The chance to mingle with their parents and reflect on the past six years spent at Salesian College was great. The feedback from those in attendance was extraordinary as everyone appeared to really enjoy the evening. Thanks must go to the staff involved in the organisation of the evening, in particular Mr Sam Carroll for all the planning and organisation.

As the class of 2014 leaves, we ask God’s blessing on them and that he keeps them safe as they head into exams and into a time of great celebrations. We hope the Year 12 students leave with fond memories of their time at Salesian College and in the knowledge that they have been given the opportunity to acquire skills and experiences that will serve them well in their lives beyond the College and more importantly than this is they leave knowing that they are loved. As I said to the boys in my speech on Wednesday I hope you leave knowing that you are the best of the best. You are Salesian’s finest and you are loved for no better reason than you are the person you are, especially by me. I implore you never give in, to continue to dream, dreams that go beyond that of the teenage students that I have become so fond of; embrace life with fervour, experience everything this magnificent world has to offer. And remember, never give in, never give in.

For those interested, access the full copy of my Valedictory Speech, here.

Robert Brennan