Headmaster’s Message – October 27, 2017

October 26, 2017

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

This week marked a significant milestone in the lives of the 197 young men who finished their formal classes and began preparation for the final VCE examinations. It is a time of great celebration of all that they have achieved throughout their six years of secondary education at St Patrick’s College. It is also time of acknowledging their enormous contributions to the life of the College community, of which there have been many. Most significantly, it is a time which requires renewed energy and effort on the part of students to ensure they achieve their best over the exam period. On behalf of the entire St Patrick’s College community we pray for our Year 12 students as they enter the next phase of their journey in life. We pray that they approach their final exams with confidence and commitment.

As part of our celebrations involving our leaving Year 12 students, our community celebrated a beautiful and moving Mass at the Cathedral on Wednesday evening. I would like to thank the Mission Team for all the preparation, our College Chaplain, Father Anthony, together with our musicians who provided some memorable music. It is also important to mention the great work of our Year 12 Coordinators, Brooke Brown and Andrew Chamings in guiding our Year 12 students so well over their journey this year, together with our Director of Senior School, Hamish McCrum and our Acting Deputy Headmaster, Elizabeth Ryan.

On Thursday evening we hosted more than 250 prospective parents and students at the 2019 Year 7 Information Evening. Largely run by our student leaders, this evening provided an important opportunity for parents to visit the College, undertake a tour and to ask any questions they have. I would remind all parents who are intending to enrol their son at St Patrick’s College in 2019 that the closing date for applications is December 1. As always, we are anticipating a high demand for a place so please ensure your application forms are in by this date. I enclose a few paragraphs for your consideration from my address on Thursday evening which reminds us all of the wonderful community we are part of at St Patrick’s College.

As a Catholic secondary school, we are called to be people whose actions are underpinned by the example given to us in Jesus. As a school in the Edmund Rice tradition, we share a common Charter, referred to as our Touchstones. The Touchstones are a lens through which we make sense of an ever changing world, a blueprint that guides and encourages us to see the world in a unique way. They flow through every facet of life at St Patrick’s College; our relationships with each other, our decisions, our classrooms and our curriculum.

One of these Touchstones, the call for all of us at St Patrick’s College to be an inclusive community, is particularly important for us here tonight.- When we are fully aware of the role each of us play in being people of welcome, people of hope, people who treat others with respect and dignity, amazing things can and do happen each day at the College. We transform our environment, we transform how people feel, and we transform the world around us. And, most profoundly, when we extend a hand to others we strengthen their sense of connection and enable them to feel that they really belong.

The story of St Patrick’s College is steeped in tradition. For the past 124 years, thousands of young men have arrived at the College to place their piece of the jigsaw in place. This jigsaw, now immense in size, is a rich documentation of the many and varied gifts that each boy brings with them to the College.

– Everything we do needs to be framed within the spirit of welcome, inclusiveness and community.

The connection that each student and their family has to the College, both as a current student and into the future, is critical to us. It is that which binds us together and gives us life. It is one of our most precious strengths. We regularly invite -Old Boys- back to the College to celebrate their achievements and to provide inspiration to our current student population. A student’s connection to St Patrick’s College does not end the minute they walk out of the gates on the final day of secondary school. It is a relationship that is life long and life giving.

As a Catholic school community, we look for ways to actively and proudly celebrate our faith and tradition. Whether through our fortnightly assemblies, our whole school Masses and liturgies, year level Masses, or participation in many social justice initiatives, we are a community called to give active witness to the Gospel. Just as Edmund Rice strived to make a real difference in the lives of countless young men through education over 200 years ago, so too St Patrick’s College seeks to encourage all students to become young men of service to others. To be people who consider the -other- before oneself. To use their talents to improve the lives of others in need. In other words, to transform the hearts and minds of young people through education to build a more just and inclusive local and global community through presence, compassion and liberation.

Finally, over the past two weeks, I have been fortunate to enjoy some Long Service leave. I would like to acknowledge and thank Stephen Hill who stepped into my role for this period of time.

Have a great weekend.

Mr John Crowley