Principal’s Message – Newsletter 3 September

Just over a week ago Salesian College Chadstone lost one of our own. Class of 2009 student, Nicholas Mackenzie, was tragically taken from this world in a workplace accident. While I personally never met Nick, I am saddened by the loss of a member of our deeply connected community. The Salesian community prides itself on the sense of connection our boys develop over their time at the College, and to lose one of our boys is like losing a member of our extended family. My thoughts and those of the whole College community are with Nick’s family as they deal with this terrible loss, and I can only hope that Nick is now in a place of peace.

As news of Nick’s loss still sinks in, it has provided me with a moment of reflection and perspective to take time out from the business of the daily grind and the continual search for doing things better. The constant pursuit of College goals, life goals, and personal goals. A time to once again reflect on how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away from us.

When one as young as Nick is taken from us, many of us are led to question the meaning of life or the fairness of life. Is it fair that a young man with such vitality and zest for life is stopped in his prime with so much more to do, so much more to give? This led me to question how we reflect on such a short life. Will Nick’s life be seen to have been successful? I would argue in every sense of the word he was. As I have mentioned previously, success is an interesting concept, for what is success to one person may not necessarily be success for someone else. One thing is for certain, that for each of us, in our own personal way, success comes when we achieve a sense of attainment or accomplishment in something that we do that is important to us and most importantly a life is successful when we are able to love and be loved in return. If we take this as our definition, Nick has had a very successful life. Although only here for a short time Nick has left an indelible mark on the lives of so many. The sadness and the out pouring of emotions at his passing communicates that he was a much loved young man. I have had the privilege of listening to some of his life stories and it is obvious that he has shared his love and his gifts with all those who came into contact with him.

Nick, from all accounts, was a hardworking, fun loving, and much loved young man. His passing has left an enormous hole in the lives of his extended family, his friends and all in the Salesian College Chadstone school community. Nick’s passing is a reminder to us all of just how precious life is and how we cannot take one moment we have with our loved ones for granted. At this time, family and friends have rallied around Nick’s family and the College community has continued to offer its support to both Nick’s family and those in our community that have needed our support. I am thankful to be part of such a wonderful, caring, Christian community.

Our Christian belief in the risen Christ, the belief that through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus that death was conquered for all of us so we can look to an eternal life with God. As a community we truly believe that Nick has gone to a better place. Whilst he will be desperately missed by his family and friends and all in the Salesian community and there will be much grieving in this life, we must console ourselves that we will meet again. So once again on behalf of the Salesian College Chadstone school community I offer our condolences to the family and ensure them that our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time and that we will do all in our power to look after them.

Nicholas’s sudden passing reminds me that life is a gift from God and that calls on us to live it to the fullest, to share our gifts unreservedly and to love with all our heart.

I leave my reflection with a couple of quotes from scripture which are appropriate at this time.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted…” (Jesus’ words).

John 14:1- 4 ”Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (Jesus’ words).

Father’s day Mass

On a much brighter note, the College celebrated Father’s day with Eucharist last Friday morning with about one hundred fathers and sons. We followed mass with breakfast. It was a great celebration and a wonderful opportunity for our boys and their dads to share some valuable time together. I cherish this mass every year as it is a time where I reflect on the blessing of being a father. I would like to thank Father John and Fr Peter for celebrating mass in such a beautiful way and to thank to Mrs Nadia Knight for her preparation of the mass. A big thank you must go out to our Canteen Manager Barbara Monaghan, our Parents’ Association for preparing such a beautiful breakfast and finally to Kate Craven of Bakers Delight in Ferntree Gully for their ongoing generous support of the College supplying the pastries for breakfast.

I wish everyone a wonderful week and pray God’s blessing for you.

Robert Brennan