Headmaster's Message - February 22, 2019
author: John Crowley
Dear Parents, Carers, Staff and Students of St Patrick’s College,
This has certainly been a busy week in the life of all involved in the College!
Head of the Lake
On Sunday, many of our students will participate in the much-anticipated Head of the Lake Regatta on Lake Wendouree. These students have worked extremely hard at developing their skills and have shown great commitment to the Rowing Program. At our Sports Assembly on Tuesday we acknowledged each boy on this achievement and wished them all the very best for Sunday. In particular, we acknowledged our First Crew comprising Connor Shugg (stroke), Will Peucker (three seat), Tom Barry (two seat), Brayden Sands (bow) and Jackson Long (cox), and wish them well for the major race. I would remind all of our Spit Crew to remember they are representing the Green, White and Blue on Sunday and to do so proudly and respectfully. Parents and carers are also reminded that any parties associated with Head of the Lake are not school-sanctioned events.
I am pleased to announce to our College community the following appointment to the College Board which has recently been ratified by our governing body, Edmund Rice Education Australia:
Dear Members of the St Patrick’s College community,
Recently, Professor Emeritus Terry Lloyd, indicated his desire to step down from the position of Board Chair at the conclusion of 2019 - a position he has held for the past four years.
Throughout this time, Terry has chaired the College Board with great energy, wisdom and dedication, and has been a great support to me personally in my first few years as Headmaster.
A decision was made in late 2018, in consultation with our governing authority, Edmund Rice Education Australia, to appoint a Deputy Chair who will assume the role of Board Chair at the beginning of the 2020 school year.
It is with great excitement that I can announce that Jane Charles has been appointed to the position of Deputy Chair.
Jane has been a member of the College Board for the past two and a half years, having previously served on the St Patrick’s College Board in 2012, Loreto College Board, Child and Family Services Board, Community Legal Centre Board, the Gold Museum Board and the Central Highlands Community Legal Centre Board of Management. Jane is a current member of the Mary Ward Grants Committee and the Little Pilot St Patrick’s Cathedral Subcommittee. Jane has a legal background, having worked as a lawyer in the Ballarat region for 5 years. Jane and her husband, Geordie, have two sons at St Patrick’s College, Edward and William, with George and Isobel at St Patrick’s Primary school.
As a College community, we extend our congratulations to Jane and her family on this wonderful appointment and wish her well as she prepares to assume the role of Board Chair in 2020.
Finally, last week our 2019 Academic Assembly was held in the Br W.T. O’Malley Sports Centre. With more than 250 parents and family members in attendance, we celebrated the academic achievements of a number of boys, including our 2018 VCE cohort. We also celebrated the official opening of our new OCA Year 12 Study Centre which is proving to be a great success in providing a dedicated space for our senior students to improve their learning. It is especially pleasing to be able to welcome back so many of our high performing students from 2018 in the role as tutors for this year’s group. I am pleased to include below a copy of my Headmaster’s Address for your reading and information
Have a great weekend.
Mr John Crowley
Good morning to everyone here this morning in the Br W.T. O’Malley Sports Centre. In offering a very warm welcome to all of our invited guests, parents, carers, Old Collegians and, most importantly, our students we acknowledge the traditional custodians of this great land. They are the Wathaurong People. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge their great care of this wonderful land. May we always walk on it gently and respectfully. I also acknowledge the contribution of so many Christian Brothers who have lived and worked on this site over the past 126 years and who have inspired generations of young men in the Charism of Blessed Edmund Rice.
Shortly, we will have the pleasure in presenting a number of boys with awards that reflect the highest level of commitment to their studies. The word that most readily comes to mind here is excellence - excellence in effort, excellence in dedication and excellence in attitude. It is a credit to each boy who will receive an award today. Each one of you has worked incredibly hard at improving your own knowledge of a particular subject. You have taken the initiative for your learning and you will carry this knowledge for the rest of your life. It is indeed a gift. What is most important is that you have realised your potential and we congratulate each of you on these remarkable achievements.
Early in 2018, I had the privilege of visiting Waterford, a seaport city in Ireland. I remember vividly how cold it was in Waterford on the day I visited. Stone brick work had ice attached to it, as puddles had frozen over, and people stayed indoors to escape the cold. I wanted to visit the site of Edmund Rice’s first school. And so, having the choice between a warm taxi, or walking up the cobblestone path for about three kilometres to the Edmund Rice International Heritage Centre, I decided for the latter because I wanted to get a sense for what life was like back in Waterford when Edmund Rice opened his first school for boys in 1802.
What struck me immediately in visiting the site was Edmund’s vision, grounded in the social inequality of the time. He saw the desperate need to improve the life prospects of countless boys from disadvantaged backgrounds through education. Edmund was convinced education was the way to liberate the poor from a life of oppression. But, as I began to investigate the centre more thoroughly, another dimension of Edmund’s vision emerged that speaks incredibly strongly to each of us here today, some 200 years later. Edmund believed that education provided the means of self-improvement not just for oneself, but in using the talents and skills developed in each boy to, in turn, help others in Waterford who were desperately in need.
It is the same message that has been etched into the walls of this school for the past 126 years and is still alive today. That we are privileged and graced by the gift of an education at St Patrick’s College and, through our rich connection to the vision of Edmund Rice, are called to pay this grace forward to others in need. It is another way of expressing the statement - to whom much has been given much will be demanded.
I can think of many examples where this charism is being faithfully lived out in our school today. Consider our College Leaders from 2018, Sam, Tom and Dean, who have all returned to SPC this year in various roles to give something back, to help nurture and encourage the next generation of students. Consider the many past students who finished last year who have returned to help tutor current Year 12s in our newly established Old Collegians Association Year 12 Study Centre, or to work in the Enhancement Team at the College. Consider the many current senior student leaders from Council, including our 2019 College Captain Aidan, and Vice Captains, Jobe and Matthew, who have given of their time generously, and amidst a busy start to their year, to be present for our new Year 7 students on camp last week and this week. And, of course, the many Old Collegians who offer their skills and expertise each and every day to ensure each of you have the best possibilities opportunities provided.
This is an important message for each of us in celebrating the academic achievements of our school here today that needs to be named. That, through your efforts in striving to be the best very best version of yourself possible, both in and out of the classroom, a light begins to burn ever more brightly in each of you. This is the irresistible light of hope; a growing realisation that you carry within yourself an inextinguishable source of liberation for others - others who, at times, will need this light to help them along their journey, others who, at times, need your compassion, your friendship, your honesty, your challenge, your kindness and your guidance. And throughout your lifetime outside of the gates of St Patrick’s College, others who need you to defend them because no-one else will.
And while you don’t even know yet who is calling you, they are in our community, in our world, waiting for you to be present with them and for them.
And in this precious moment of humanity, amidst the richness of our tradition dating all the way back to Waterford in Ireland, some 200 years ago, we find Jesus, in whom Edmund placed his love and trust completely.
Thank you and best of luck to each of you as you begin your journey in 2019