From the Rector

Dear Friends;

I would like to congratulate the students who put on a very enjoyable Autumn Concert on Monday evening, May 29. And I would like to compliment our staff and families for supporting the boys in their efforts to learn an instrument or to sing, and to perform in front of an audience that included their peers.

As I sat watching and listening to the performance, I was reminded of what Don Bosco did, spoke and wrote about music, drama, sport, and what we would have called in the past, ‘extra-curricular’ activities.

“Games and sport, music, theatre and drama, outings and excursions, are very effective means of obtaining discipline and of benefiting the physical and spiritual wellbeing of pupils. Let the boys have full liberty to jump, run, and make as much noise as they please…”

Don Bosco wrote this in his ‘Preventive System in the Education of the Young’, after he had already put the system into practice himself for many years. To encourage and reward the boys in his school in Turin, Don Bosco would once a year organize an excursion for some 50 to 60 boys, who would put on plays, perform in the band and sing in a choir as they visited several important centres around Piedmont, travelling by foot, or by train, and using local halls for accommodation. The excursion would last three to four weeks, and it was completely free. All expenses were covered by Don Bosco and his benefactors! In those days, it was an incredible feat of organization. And every year the boys would try very hard to be selected for this annual event! Nowadays, all schools, especially secondary schools, organize excursions and outings. This is no longer a novelty, but Don Bosco pioneered this way of education!

So in the Don Bosco way of education, it is important to encourage and support students in their efforts beyond the academic pursuits, if for no other reason than learning a useful hobby. At the same time, these activities should always have an educational component: learning to acquire discipline, self-control, constant practice, cooperation, selfless giving, confidence, sharing… at the beginning, one may not achieve great success, but perseverance is important, and the encouragement of adults is equally important. Again, Don Bosco used to remind adults that “the music of children should be listened to with the heart”!

To conclude, you have probably heard that Don Bosco also used to say that “a school without music, is like a body without the soul”.

After the Autumn Concert, I think Salesian College has plenty of SOUL!

Fr Frank Bertagnolli, SDB