Middle School Report

November 17, 2022

by Mr Michael Busscher,  Director of the Middle School 

The St Patrick’s College Middle School continues to be a significant and positive experience in the lives of each of our boys. We openly acknowledge that Year 9 is a time of significant change in the lives of adolescent boys and thus a vital time when our boys’ journey into manhood. The Middle School Staff strive to provide opportunities for each young man to develop into independent and active learners through a curriculum that awakens and stimulates their intelligence, provides academic rigor, and challenges all boys to discover their best.

The Middle School is committed to the notion of a year filled with positive experiences and acknowledges the importance of the changing stages of young men’s lives. Our “Rite Journey Programme” guides the boys as they are beginning to leave behind elements of boyhood and are starting the journey of taking on the responsibility’s manhood demands. The 2022 undertaking of the Middle School Community Service Program has continued to evolve and has had many positive effects on our students including helping them to develop their listening and communication skills, making contacts with members of the wider Ballarat community, and allowing our boys to support and further others in need. By engaging in community service, the Community Service Program has provided our boys with the opportunity to become active members of their community, which will have a positive and lasting impact on society. Most notably, the Community Service Program has enabled our students to acquire invaluable skills and knowledge that will assist them throughout their lives. It must be acknowledged that through the boys’ commitment to undertaking the Community Service Program throughout 2022 they have supported 12 external organisations and improved the lives of thousands of other people. These organisations include Lumen Christi Primary School, St Alipius Primary School, St Aloysius Primary School, Pinarc in both English Street and the Bonshaw, The Ballarat City Council Animal Shelter, Siena Primary School, The Ballarat City Council in Victoria Park, The Ballarat Soup Bus, Federation University, Invermay Primary School and Emmaus Primary School.

The boys are also heavily involved in a number of experiential based activities including:  

·       The Anglesea Camps – The boys immersed themselves in the various activities on offer including surfing, snorkelling, hiking, camping, team initiatives and canoeing.  The night-time sessions run by the Pastoral Care Tutors explored leadership themes and perceptions based around what it means to be a “Great Man”.

·       Year 9 Retreat – A focus on discovering true masculinity and the many challenges young men face in our modern world was explored.

·       SPC/Loreto Social – Ballroom dancing classes culminating with a social evening with the Year 9 Loreto girls.

·       The Melbourne Experience – The Melbourne Experience attempted to develop within the boys a sense of independence and initiative along with helping to equip them with ‘basic’ city skills.

·       Ssmart Assk Day– To improve the attitudes and behaviours of young people about adopting harm minimization strategies to keep them safe in a variety of situations.

·       Grampians Camp – The Term 4 Grampians camp was the culmination of the “Rite Journey Programme” the boys began in Term 1. Participating in abseiling and rock-climbing activities, hiking and environmental clean-up activities, the boy’s willingness to embrace the challenges presented and support each other, was an indication of how far their journey from boyhood to manhood has come.



I would like to personally thank all teachers who contributed so much to the life and vibrancy of the Middle School. In particular, I must give the highest commendation to both Mr Shane Hayes and Mr Sam Cue in their roles as Year Level Co-ordinators. They have not only been a great support for me but must be congratulated for their care, professionalism and energy, guiding and supporting the young men of the Middle School.  I also thank the Middle School Pastoral Care Teachers including, Mrs Sarah Lamanna/Mr Brett Barfoot, Mr Brett Hendrickson, Mr John Hearn, Mr Liam Davie, Ms Louise Macquire, Mr Noel Bamford, Mrs Zeena Lawrence, Mr Rodney Clarke and Mrs Sarah Siakew. This wonderful and dedicated group worked tirelessly, ensuring all boys are exposed to a range of intellectual, physical, social and spiritual challenges.

To the Year 9 boys of 2022, although your time has ended do not forget the challenges you have overcome, the knowledge you have received and the bonds that you have formed. Take them with you and continue to use them along your journey. Good luck and all the best for 2023 as you complete your time in the Middle School.

Finally, this will be my last Middle School Report for the Crest after seven years in this position. 2023 will see the return of Mrs Karina Dunne in the role of Head of Middle School which will now also include Year 10. Karina taught at St Patrick’s College several years ago and is re-joining us from Catholic Regional College Melton. Congratulations on this appointment Karina.

I wish one and all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mr Michael Busscher

Director of Middle School