Headmaster’s Message – February 4, 2016

February 3, 2016

Dear Parents, Guardians, Friends and Students of St Patrick’s College,

Last Friday, 1430 young men walked through our front gates to commence the 2016 school year. We warmly welcome back each student and their families, together with our new students in Years 7-12, and hope that this year is a time of great happiness, hard work and success. The 2016 school year ushers in another opportunity for new hopes and dreams to be forged and realised and I encourage all students to grab this opportunity with every ounce of energy you have. I hope that the year has started positively for everyone.

As a school in the Edmund Rice tradition, and given we have a large number of parents who are new to the community, it is important to take some time at the beginning of each year to reflect on our charism – that special gift from God that is fundamental to our story and culture as an authentic Catholic school. We are an important member of a large family of schools in this tradition. While St Patrick’s College is unique in many ways within our local community of Ballarat, we share a common relationship with other Edmund Rice schools across Australia: we are connected through our desire to live out the charism of Edmund Rice in a very real way in our everyday lives. It is a very special relationship that we share. Taken from the Edmund Rice Education Charter, our charism is expressed beautifully in the following words:

All schools and educational entities in the Edmund Rice tradition across Australia are bound by a Charter which identifies four Touchstones intrinsically linked with the Charism of Blessed Edmund Rice and which underpin the ministry in EREA schools and educational endeavours.

These Touchstones help us set our direction and define our goals as, following Blessed Edmund’s example, we continue to reflect and to seek to make the Gospel a living reality in our communities. Living these Touchstones gives Edmund Rice Education Australia a special position in educating for liberation and possibility.

Each school and educational entity within Edmund Rice Education Australia is called to be authentic to the Charter. The Charter aims to inspire school communities to foster energetically the vision of a charismatic leader, Blessed Edmund Rice, in the Spirit of Christ and the educational mission of the Catholic Church.

As a living document, the Charter continues to evolve through review and reflection as the demands of our changing times are read and interpreted in the light of the unchanging Gospel

We aspire to be faithful to these four Charter touchstones:

Liberating Education

We open hearts and minds, through quality teaching and learning experiences, so that through critical reflection and engagement each person is hope-filled and free to build a better world for all.

Gospel Spirituality

We invite all people into the story of Jesus and strive to make his message of compassion, justice and peace a living reality within our community.

Inclusive Community

Our community is accepting and welcoming, fostering right relationships and committed to the common good.

Justice and Solidarity

We are committed to justice and peace for all, grounded in a spirituality of action and reflection that calls us to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalized and the Earth itself

These Touchstones are important in our story at St Patrick’s College. They help us to set our direction as a school: they inform our conversations, our decisions, our relationships, our programs, our policies and our daily lives. These Touchstones are a lens through which we bring our Catholic tradition into the lives of the young men we are privileged to teach.

On behalf of the entire St Patrick’s College community we extend a very warm welcome to the following new members of staff. We hope that your time at St Patrick’s College is both enjoyable and rewarding:

Gerard Sullivan: Deputy Headmaster, Staff and Student Wellbeing

Alex Ross: Health and PE Trainee

Tina Benoit: Sports Administrator

Clare Condon: Teacher

Margaret Dodd: Teacher

Marian Haddrick: Teacher

Rebecca Lawry: Teacher

Nathaniel Winfield: Teacher

Lyn Maniz: Applied Learning Coordinator

Melissa Delaland: Funded Students Facilitator

Fiona Wilson: Head of Music

Daniel Willey: Weekend Housemaster

Robyn Cocomazzo: Teacher

Sam Cue: Teacher

Melissa Krausse: Teacher

Andrew Ballesty: Business Manager

Sean Roscoe: Catering Manager

Lisa Oldham: Director of Human Resources

As you will be aware a number of new building projects will shortly be initiated.- – The biggest of these, the $3.9m new boarding precinct, is anticipated to commence in early 2016 once approved by council. This will see the development of a state-of-the-art facility to cater for the modern needs of today’s boarding students.

In addition, a new food technology centre will be constructed at a cost of $1m. It is anticipated that construction will commence shortly on this project. Following the completion of both of these facilities, the College will commence planning for the construction of a new music/drama/arts facility. It is envisaged that this will commence at the beginning of 2018. The College is committed to a comprehensive program of capital development over the coming 10 years which will see first-rate facilities being built to ensure the best educational experiences for the young men in our care.

Our new Year 7 students are currently involved in a two-week orientation camp near Ballarat. This camp provides a wonderful opportunity for all students to meet new friends and learn a little more about life at St Patrick’s College. On behalf of the College community, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of all of our attending staff and, in particular, our Year 7 Coordinators, Jacinta Burge and Gerard Willis, and our Director of Junior School, John Richards.

On Monday, our entire Year 12 cohort attended a full day retreat at the RACV resort in Creswick. Many students commented on the quality of presenters and the success of the day. I would like to thank Michael Toohey, Domain Leader: Student Formation, for organising such a worthwhile retreat, together with Mr Geoff Brodie, our Director of Mission, and Elizabeth Ryan, Director of Senior School, Michael Busscher and Andrew Chamings, our Year 12 Coordinators, and our dedicated Year 12 Pastoral Staff and Religious Education teachers. I would also like to acknowledge Anne-Marie Driscoll, Domain Leader: Liturgy, Helen Lee, Mitch Leviston and Fr James Kerr who prepared a beautiful liturgy to start the day. A Special mention must also go – to our catering team including Sean Roscoe and Rosemary Lamb for cooking breakfast.- –

Our Rowing students are doing a terrific job at the moment preparing for the upcoming Head of the Lake regatta in late February. Last weekend they did particularly well at the Barwon Regatta in Geelong with our senior 1sts winning the male under 19 coxed four. Our 2nd team finished second which was a terrific result. The senior 1sts came second to Melbourne High by a boat-length in the male school boys coxed 4 open Division 1 final. The senior 3rd team won the A Final for male school boys coxed four open Division 3. The senior 4ths came second in the same event. Our senior 5ths and intermediate 1sts, 2nds and 3rds all rowed great times and won or came second in B and C Finals. A big thank you goes to Tim O’Doherty, Sue McDougall and Maree Dodd for helping out with the lunch, and to all parents who braved the afternoon to cheer on the boys and help pack up the gear. Our coaching team, under the direction of Peter Joyce, are doing a fantastic job and we are very appreciative of your ongoing efforts with the boys.

Lastly, I am certain all parents are aware that a number of hoax calls have been received by primary and secondary schools around the state this week. Our staff have been briefed about how to respond in the unlikely event that St Patrick’s College receives a similar hoax call. Rest assured, the College will take such a threat very seriously and, in response to such a situation, will enact its emergency management plan and call for an evacuation or lockdown. In this event, Parents will be notified via our SMS service.

Have a great weekend

Mr John Crowley