Headmaster’s Message – May 29, 2015

May 28, 2015

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

Throughout last week at the Royal Commission, I have heard some heartbreaking stories, including those of past students, who suffered sexual abuse during their time at St Patrick’s College. I have been deeply saddened and shocked by what I have heard. At the same time, however, I am inspired by the bravery of these victims and survivors in telling their stories so openly and honestly. They are infinitely courageous and deserve our admiration and support. It is through the example of these people that hope can still be felt, even in the midst of such terrible hurt. I pray that our community, past and present, will join with all people affected by abuse on a journey of acknowledgement, acceptance and, ultimately, healing.

On Tuesday, I was privileged to attend our National Sorry Day Assembly. Organised by our Indigenous Coordinator, Mr Rick Balchin, together with many of our Senior Indigenous students, it was an incredibly moving experience for all who attended. If you haven’t already done so, please have a read of Chris Saunders’ speech on our website.-

I enclose a snippet of my address to the College on the topic of Reconciliation:

“In a very real sense, St Patrick’s College is working towards Reconciliation through our Indigenous Program. We are committed to giving Indigenous boys an exciting, opportunity- filled education, one where students can develop their potential in unique ways, where there is a strong emphasis on academic achievement and fostering strong social skills to enable our students to lead their communities and families into the future.-

But this program is far more than this. It’s a two way thing. To all of our Indigenous students: we, in return, have each of you enriching our lives on a daily basis. The gift of your heritage, your culture, your sporting talents, your presence, makes our school a much richer, diverse and engaging place for all of us to be. We are so very fortunate to have such a strong indigenous program at St Patrick’s College where we continue to learn from each other. It is an integral part of who we are and what we do.-

On Wednesday evening I went along to Ballarat High School to encourage and watch a number of our students debate against other schools. I was incredibly impressed at the number of participating students, and the high level of skill each have each shown. It was a wonderful night and I congratulate each of the boys involved, together with the many staff who generously gave their time to ensure its success.”-

John Crowley