Headmaster’s Message – November 4, 2016

November 3, 2016

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

Last week we were all deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Old Collegian Jacob Everett (SPC 2011-15), a young man who was popular with students and staff and who was only just embarking on his path towards manhood. Last Thursday I drove out with Father James to meet Jacob’s parents, Rob and Helen, and his brothers, Hamish and Zach, and to offer our support and prayers on behalf of the St Patrick’s College community. I was immensely proud of the way staff, students and parents, reached out instantly to Jacob’s family and friends, offering them support and comfort. This sort of community support happens all the time at St Patrick’s College, often quietly behind the scenes, and always with respect and dignity. I would ask that you keep the Everett family in your prayers.

I am delighted to report that our Old Collegians Association (OCA) is also working towards implementing a structured program as we continue to authentically live out this touchstone of inclusivity. The OCA has developed a Pastoral Care Program which aims to harness the power in our community whenever a member is in need of assistance. The OCA, in close conjunction with the College’s Development Office, will maintain this register in the hope that volunteers can chip in with small tasks when required. It may be mowing someone’s lawn, or cooking a meal, or simply making a phone call to cheer someone up. We invite all members of our community to consider joining the register and helping contribute in small but very meaningful ways when difficulty strikes others in our community. I urge you register your interest at this link: http://stpats.mel.ascet.co/en/community/oca-pastoral-care-program/

Last week, I sent home an important letter to all Parents and Guardians. The following is a short summary of that letter.

It is our often-quoted mission at St Patrick’s College to -Raise Fine Boys to the Status of Great Men- and, as school life winds to a close for more than 200 Year 12s, it seems a pertinent time to revisit the meaning behind that calling. In a world where the media headlines often document the failings of men, many of whom hold or aspire to positions of immense wealth and power, it is important that we are acutely aware of presenting strong role models to our students and educating, wherever possible, around positive male behaviours, so that we continue to inspire all students along a journey to become -great men-.- –

In revisiting our Mission here, we are aiming to work with students to become true leaders and to become role models for other boys. We want to continue to inspire and motivate all students to develop a positive vision of manhood, one where compassion, service to others, a willingness to work towards the greater good, a desire to unite, and a calling to embrace everyone in a spirit of welcome and inclusivity shines out strongly within each student.-

Over the last two weeks, myself and our Deputy Headmaster: Student and Staff Wellbeing, Mr Gerard Sullivan, have been working with some focus groups of students from Years 8-12 to engage them in a conversation around what are the qualities of a -great man-. Through these conversations, and in discussion with all staff, we hope to reaffirm the values we want to develop in all students throughout their journey at St Patrick’s College.

Over the coming months, we will invite you, our parents and guardians to join us on this journey and to contribute your thoughts to the vision of manhood we want to develop through revisiting this important Mission of St Patrick’s College.

Our hope is that, in exploring and re-assessing our mission statement of -Raising Fine Boys to the Status of Great Men-, we can come to appreciate the greatness within each student, to continue to develop young men in the spirit of our Gospel calling and Edmund Rice in preparation for their participation in a world beyond the school borders and to inspire the men the world needs.

I look forward to joining you all on this journey of conversation

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our departing Year 12 students for their commitment to excellence during their stressful exam period. These senior students have been exemplary in the way they are approaching their final days of study and I wish them all the best for the coming weeks and look forward to celebrating with them upon the completion of their exams at the 2016 Valedictory Dinner.

While their time as students at St Patrick’s comes to an end, there is still much renewal occurring around the College. Construction on our new Food Technology Centre continues apace and on schedule for opening in 2017 while we have late this week officially called for tenders to construct our new boarding precinct which will be opened in 2018. The College was also thrilled to welcome hundreds of prospective new community members last week when we hosted our 2018 Year 7 information night. For many attendees, this night represented their first contact with St Patrick’s College and we hope all of them come back many, many more times in the future.

Finally, to end on a positive note I would like to make mention of some notable community achievements from some of our fine young men who were recently recognised at the City of Ballarat Youth Awards. Congratulations to Old Collegian Will Gallagher (SPC 2007-12) won the Leadership in Sport Award for his efforts in organising the Midnight Basketball program in Ballarat which helps youth at risk using basketball. He has been instrumental and supportive to a wide range of youth services and is determined to bring out the best in others.” Congratulations also to Year 12 student Connor Prebble who won the overall award for youth aged between 12 and 17. Connor has been contributing to the Ballarat community for many years packing Anglicare Christmas hampers and helping with fundraisers at Bray Raceway. In 2014, he raised $1,000 for the breast cancer foundation by shaving his head, and recently has been involved with the St Vincent de Paul group at St Patrick’s College, coordinating events including chocolate deliveries to hospitals at Easter, and several food drives across the community. Finally, congratulations also to Old Collegian Trystan Sammut (SPC 2009-12) who has been selected to represent Australia at an international WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi next year. Trystan last month won the Gold Medal for Bricklaying/Blocklaying at the National WorldSkills Championships in Melbourne and has since been selected as the only Victorian in the national SkillsSquad which will travel to the United Arab Emirates next October. Trystan’s win continues a stellar year for the young tradesman who finished his bricklaying apprenticeship in 2015. Earlier this year Trystan won the overall Presidents Award at the 2016 Apprentice of the Year Awards for Master Builders Association in Melbourne. Well done to all members of our community who are achieving fantastic things.

Have a great weekend

John Crowley