Principal’s Weekly Report – 15 February 2013

Welcome to Week 2 of 2013 as we settle in for the year ahead. Whilst we have had our challenges to start the year we have had a very good start. The students have returned with a positive attitude and preparedness to apply themselves to the work at hand. Staff have been enthusiastic and have also returned in a positive frame of mind ready to face the many challenges the 2013 school year will bring. We have been very fortunate to recruit a number of fine staff who bring a variety of gifts and talents to the College. Already we are witnessing their enthusiasm and talents rubbing off on those of us already in the community.


On Wednesday the College participated in an Ash Wednesday liturgy to mark the beginning of Lent. The forty days stretching from Ash Wednesday through to Holy Thursday evening is a very important time in the Catholic calendar; it is a time of reflection and renewal. Lent is a time to reflect on our relationship with God and a time to renew this relationship through a heightened awareness of the spiritual aspect of our lives. It is a time where we acknowledge our human imperfections and look to ways of becoming a better person and improving our relationship with others.

Traditionally Catholics, in an attempt to meet these challenges practised some form of fasting, abstinence or simply giving up something we enjoy during this time. This was a means of focussing our attentions on the deficiencies in our lives and to give thought to the best way improve on these things. In recent times for many of us this has meant giving up lollies or alcohol or some other vice in our lives. Whilst this is a positive thing for ourselves and it does test us, we are encouraged to do more, to go one step further to ensure our action helps others. We are asked to take our ‘suffering’ and use it to benefit others. A way of doing this is to take the time or money we save by abstaining from our pleasures and give that to someone in need. It is when we take this step that we are truly strengthening our relationship with God and others.

 


On Thursday of this week a number of staff participated in the stop work action in protest against the current State Government’s refusal to enter into meaningful negotiations with teachers in the new award agreement. The negotiations have now been protracted over the past eighteen months with no real sign of resolving any of the issues that exist between the two parties.

As Principal of Salesian College, it is not my role to take a position on the merits or otherwise of the action except to say that all of the staff who took action did so after much consideration and consternation. On the day of political protest we were able to run a normal program for Years 7, 8, 9 and 12. We all agreed that the action was regrettable however staff felt it needed to take this action to make a clear statement to the government. Strike action is not the preferred industrial route of mine nor any of the staff. We are fortunate that this is not common in the industrial landscape in Catholic Education as all staff here at Salesian College are totally committed to their work with the boys. This action would indicate how strongly the teachers feel about the tactics of the government. On behalf of the College I apologise for any inconvenience the action caused for families however I hope that they understand the position teachers feel they have been forced into.


Congratulations to the vast majority of students on the way they are presenting to school each morning. There appears to be a real pride in the new uniform and it is being worn extremely well. We encourage all students and parents to make a concerted effort to wear the uniform with pride at all times and seek clarification if they are not clear about any aspect of the uniform. We still have the odd student presenting with inappropriate jewellery which is disappointing given the number of times and forums where our position has been explained. Such item will be confiscated as is our practice until the end of the term. It would be far greater if students abided by the rules of the College as set out in their diaries. This year we will be taking a firmer stance on those students who continually ignore the uniform rules as we feel they are making a clear statement as to their commitment to the College.


Last week I had the pleasure of spending a day with our Year 12 boys in Daylesford at their retreat. The boys entered into the event full of enthusiasm and a willingness to participate openly in each of the sessions. The boys I spoke to were grateful for the experience and felt they took something away from the two days. I believe the boys did themselves and the College proud with the way they entered into their final retreat and congratulate them. I would also like to thank all the staff who gave up their own time away from their own families to spend two valuable days with our boys. In particular I would like to thank Mrs Nadia Knight for her organisation of the retreat and for creating such an open and reflective atmosphere which provides our boys with such a rich experience.


On Tuesday I travelled to Foster to join the Year 7 boys who were on their three day camp which commenced on Monday. All the boys, and there were many of them appeared tobe having a great time splashing in the dam, squelching through the mud, swinging of the giant swing, abseiling or just relaxing with their peers or the staff. It was hard to work out who wa more exhausted the boys or the staff. Regardless, all were having wonderful time. All the boys I was able to speak to at camp were full of praise and excitement when telling of their experience. Thanks once again to the staff who gave so willingly of their time to provide this wonderful experience for our Year 7 boys as they develop a sense of belonging to this great community. In particular to our Year 7 Coordinator, Miss Phina Tran for her preparation and organisation leading up to the camp as well as during it.


This week the College welcomes a Visitor from the Salesian community, Br Charles. Charles will spend a couple of weeks with us visiting RE classes and participating in a number of events happening around the school. He already had a baptism of fire joining the boys and the other staff at the Year 7 camp. We warmly welcome him here to our community and hope he enjoys his stay and benefits from the experience.


Next week on Tuesday Feb 19 the College gathers to celebrate the academic achievements of the boys of the class of 2012 and boys in other year levels. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all parents that they are most welcome to join us in these celebrations. This gathering is one of the more important College assemblies we have each year and we welcome all members of the community to share in the joy such gatherings bring.

I wish you all a great week and the blessing of God in everything that you do.

Mr Robert Brennan-Principal