Headmaster’s Message – September 15, 2017

September 14, 2017

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

The past two weeks have been an incredibly busy, yet exciting time in the life of St Patrick’s College.

Commencing with our Rugby, Football and Applied Learning Presentation Evenings, followed by last night’s Purton and Breach Oratory Competition and continuing with next week’s Soccer and Performing Arts Evenings, it has certainty been a time of celebrating the many and varied contributions of students and staff to life at St Patrick’s College. The excellence displayed by our students, highlighted and acknowledged at nights such as these, should not be taken for granted. They are truly unique to this school and remind us that we are part of something very special and bigger than a single individual.

I was reminded of this point clearly after receiving an email of congratulations following the John James Medal Presentation on Monday evening. The author of the email had attended what was a memorable night where former student, Mitchell Brown (SPC 2002-06), spoke eloquently about the role St Patrick’s College has played in his life. He talked openly about a number of difficult challenges he had experienced in his time in the AFL, and highlighted the values instilled in him throughout his time at the school which empowered him to respond appropriately. It was a rare opportunity to to listen to Mitchell. He is quite a remarkable person. In addition, we had the great pleasure of hearing from Peter Hudson, and his son Paul, who were both incredibly engaging and generous in giving of their time to be present with us. I was so taken by their humility and gentleness with our students.- Let me quote briefly the central message of this email I received:

-Be mindful of what you have by way of opportunity and facility, as it is the sum total of all those that have gone before you- (a quote from John Kennedy, Hawthorn Coach). It is clear your boys understand this reference to their own obligation at the College in the wider sense. The parents in the room would certainly have been affirmed, regarding their decision on a destination for their boy’s education. In any community, relationships are paramount. The ability of the boys to recognise those key people and speak openly about them speaks volumes of the contribution they have made and the future impact they will have on the lives of these boys beyond school.

As a school working in partnership with parents to raise fine boys to great men, and as teachers and staff committed to the students we are privileged to care for, what better message could we hope for all students this week? This email speaks of our collective responsibility to ensuring the future legacy of St Patrick’s College. It speaks to the importance of respect in relationships, of our ongoing commitment to each other, of the critical role of parents in working with the College and the importance of decisions being made with the students’ best interests at the forefront of our thinking. It indeed a thought provoking email of encouragement and acknowledgment.

I wish all students, their families and staff a well-deserved rest over the holiday period. As all in our community will be aware, there has been significant illness over the course of the term and the holidays are an important opportunity for everyone to take a breath, rest and get well for what is always an exciting and busy Term 4.

Finally, I enclose a short reflection from Pope Francis, who provides a challenge to all of us to be people who are Good Samaritans.

Human beings are not islands – we are a community. My thoughts turn to the well-known parable in the gospel where a Samaritan helps someone in need. He is not prompted by philanthropy or the fact that he has money at his disposal, but by a desire to identify with the person he helps: he wants to share his lot. Indeed, after providing for the man’s care, he announces that he will return to inquire after his health. What is involved here is more than mere compassion or perhaps a desire to share or to promote a reconciliation which can overcome differences and disagreements. It is a willingness to share everything and to decide to be Good Samaritans, instead of people who are indifferent before the needs of others.

Have a great holiday

John Crowley