Steven O’Connor, Principal
The Clontarf Academy & St Patrick’s College – an exciting partnership!
This week, the 15th anniversary of the national apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples, with a particular focus on the stolen generations and the trauma and impact this had on all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I recall the moment when the Prime Minister at the time, Kevin Rudd, offered and delivered the apology in Canberra on 13 February 2008. I recall being so moved by the apology and pleased and relieved that it had finally been delivered by an Australian Prime Minister, despite the fact that I never really warmed to Mr Rudd as PM.
The national apology was an integral step which highlighted the need for all Australians to work towards a genuine reconciliation. It should have occurred years before it did.
At about around the same time as the National Apology, perhaps a couple of years before, St Patrick’s College was embarking on developing and implementing a program to provide places for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and through these, quality educational opportunities to them as SPC students. The Headmaster at the time, Dr Peter Casey and the Director of Boarding, Mr Mark Waddington were passionately committed to St Pat’s doing something concrete in this context and supporting indigenous students and their families. I was Deputy Headmaster in 2007 and 2008 and recall with some pride the great energy and commitment that was given to this program.
St Patrick’s continues to articulate and illustrate its commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students via our offerings and indigenous education programs at the College. We currently have approximately 50 indigenous students, 17 of whom, are boarding students who come from the top end. I am incredibly proud of these young men and the growth and progress they continue to make at SPC.
This year, St Patrick’s has commenced a partnership with The Clontarf Academy. ‘Clontarf’ is a highly regarded organisation with a network of partnerships with schools. The primary aim is to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys in their pathways through school. There are approximately 145 ‘Clontarf Academy’ schools across all Stated and Territories of Australia.
The Clontarf Foundation exists to improve the education, discipline, self-esteem, life skills and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so, equips them to participate more meaningfully in society.
I am delighted with how positive the first month of this partnership has been at SPC and the response from our young students reflects this. I am hopeful that in time, the benefits of this program for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students will be significant.
2022 VCE Excellence Assembly
This week we gathered in the O’Malley Gymnasium to acknowledged and celebrate the many achievements of the 2022 VCE cohort. There were many outstanding outcomes achieved by our VCE students last year and it is important that we honour these.
At this assembly, I spoke to the students about the great Christian scholar, St Augustine, who wrote that:
‘Education is the food of youth, the delight of old age, the ornament of prosperity, the refuge and comfort of adversity, and the provocation to grace in the soul’.
What does Augustine mean here? How is this relevant to the education students receive here at St Pat’s? Education enriches you – it is the food of youth and the delight of old age. It enables or prepares you – it is the ornament of prosperity, the refuge and comfort of adversity. And education ennobles you – it is the provocation to grace in the soul.
It is about preparing our students as a whole person – body, mind, heart and soul. It is about preparing them for success in their chosen professions and careers, as well as in their personal lives and relationships. It is about developing in them a moral compass based on the teachings and example of Christ and the values illustrated and reinforced by the Gospels.
As a school, our core business is teaching and learning and therefore, to honour and celebrate academic endeavour, achievement and excellence is an important thing to do and speaks clearly about how we value excellence as a school. As a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition, we strive to educate our students towards wisdom; we strive to provide a liberating education characterised by quality teaching and learning, critical reflection and engagement, where students work towards achieving to their personal best academically, where a world view developed in our young men is informed and shaped by compassion and commitment to justice and solidarity, where the wisdom they reach liberates them and equips them with the skills and disposition to challenge and question what needs to be, and to live hope-filled, meaningful and successful professional and personal lives.
This week’s assembly acknowledges and celebrates one of the important measures we apply to education – academic achievement, growth and outcomes. We remain committed to supporting every student in their academic journey. St Pat’s has incredible staff whose professional approach to their work is inspiring and unwavering. We are blessed with outstanding facilities which allow us to deliver you a quality education. All of these ingredients are important and contribute to the exceptional results we acknowledge and celebrate today.
But one key ingredient must come from every single student of St Patrick’s. That is the understanding of how important and relevant school is in the formation of students and preparation their lives AND their willingness to engage with is constructively, diligently, enthusiastically and with a genuine sense of appreciation and thanks. Not all schools are like St Pat’s. Not all students are presented with the wonderful opportunities our students are. Students are challenged to be conscious of this, appreciate it and make the most of every opportunity available to them, particularly when it comes to their learning and studies.
I congratulate all those who received awards at our assembly this week. Special thanks to Toby Clack, the College Dux for 2022, for his inspiring address to the assembly.
It has been another wonderful week at St Patrick’s!
Geoff Brodie - Assistant Principal, Mission & Identity
One everyday joy of a being a member of the SPC community is that we can look to the choices and actions of our peers and say, ah, so that is how it is done. That is how I should make the most of every opportunity. Staff do this. Students do this.
One gift of a community that is 130 years old is that we can look to those who have passed on a heritage worthy of our human dignity and say, ok, that is how this business of living is done. That is how I want to live my life. Those are the belief and values that lead me to fulfilment.
At our Assembly this week we celebrated one such man with the establishment of the Griegory Francis Noonan Pillar of the College Award. Greig’s gift to the St Patrick’s College is the example of what faith, excellence, tradition, and joy look when they are manifest in the choices, actions, and commitments of one person over a lifetime. A very brief summary of Greig’s life includes:
- Attended St Patrick’s College Ballarat from 1938-41.
- Captain of the 1st XVIII 1940 and 1941
- Captain of the Galvin House Athletics 1941
- Vice-Captain of Cricket 1941
- Senior Prefect 1941
- Honours Class 1941
- Excelled at cricket, track & field, handball, and tennis.
- Senior Prefect on the Debating Team and member of the Literary Society.
- Served his country in World War Two when he enlisted on 16th October 1941 into Armoured Corps V 235453 Unit 3 ACTR – Tank Division RAAC. On 18th Jan 1943 Greig was discharged from RAAC because of disbandment. He then enlisted for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on the 29th of January 1943 and was trained then chosen to be a part of the elite RAAF No 87 Squadron.
- Greig’s vocation in education saw him serve as a school Principal over several decades.
- Member of the St Vincent’s de Paul Society
- Marong Shire Councilor, including serving as Shire President
- Justice of the Peace
- Chairman of the Loddon Campaspe Regional Planning Authority
- On retirement, Greig enjoyed breeding his champion 'Dairy Shorthorn' cattle at his stud 'Forest Park'
- Greigory took great pleasure in nurturing the grandeur of his garden on his estate; 'Fiorenza' in Bendigo.
Greg would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2022, and his family have generously donated a splendid perpetual trophy to inspire all students to embody our Pillars. The family have chosen to explain the award in the following way:
This award recognises the sustained contribution of a student to the culture of St Patrick’s College, as described by our Four Pillars: Faith, Tradition, Excellence, and Joy. This student has been an example of the free and responsible commitment to the values that unite and inspire the College Community. This award is through the kind gift of his children, Catherine, Helen, Leonie & Greigory (Jr) who wish to honour their father and inspire students to a full and flourishing life.
Though daughter Catherine Aylett was a last-minute apology for family reasons, son Greigory Noonan Jnr, and daughter Leonie Noonan & her children Helena Noonan Barros & Conrad Noonan Barros were special guests at the Assembly. A significant day for the College. Grieg Jnr spoke of the family’s hope that all students will be inspired to live according to our Pillars and presented the Inaugural Award to 2022 College Captain James Clark – a most worthy winner.
And the tradition of our Pillars continues. Year 11 student Caleb Conduit is raising funds for education in Cambodia by participating in a charity mountain bike ride from Canberra to the top of Mount Kosciusko – a journey over 400km's in 5 days starting on the February 21. Caleb’s goal of raising $1800 (for teachers’ wages) will assist in giving the children in Cambodia a hand up out of the poverty cycle.
If you can donate to help Caleb reach his target, you can click on this link:
One final word. Next Tuesday we will enjoy pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, which marks preparation for the Season of Lent. More on this in the next edition of the Crest.
May God continue to bless the SPC community.
Carol Roberts – Assistant Principal, Learning Innovation
As you walk around our hallways and look into our classrooms this year, you’ll see students engaged in a brand-new way. An exciting new Learning Innovation initiative has been rolled out at St Pat’s, involving mini whiteboards.
The use of mini-whiteboards is one of the most effective and powerful techniques we know, to help students practice new information and for teachers to check the responses of all students. It works like this: first, the teacher teaches the class. Next, the teacher asks the class a question. Rather than the teacher calling for hands up, students all write their responses on their mini whiteboards. At the teacher’s instruction, every student holds up their answer, for the teacher to check.
What makes this so innovative?
The use of mini whiteboards is an evidence-based approach to instruction, that allows the teacher to verify that students are learning what is being taught, while it is being taught. It informs the teacher, allowing them to make evidence-based decisions – whether to move on, re-teach, or pivot and teach the concept or skill in a different way. It also allows a teacher to identify students who require additional support. Importantly, it engages EVERY student in the learning.
In addition to informing the teacher, it allows every student to practice retrieving new information, which enhances their learning. There are also benefits in student involvement – every student is answering a question, every time. It means that learners who are more reserved, who may not have the confidence to put up their hand, along with the most outgoing learner, are all equally engaged.
We are very excited to be implementing this new approach to instruction at St Patrick’s College. The mini whiteboards were included on the booklist for purchase – it is great to see so many students getting into the habit of taking them to class. For those who missed out on purchasing a mini whiteboard, the College will supply one, with the small cost added to their accounts. That way, every student has the opportunity to be engaged in the new mini whiteboard instruction.
We look forward to seeing the impact that this initiative has, on student learning outcomes.
Tom Ferguson – Assistant Principal, Staff & Culture
I hope this newsletter finds you well. As the school year kicks into full gear, there are a number of exciting events and achievements to celebrate.
I would like to congratulate all of our 2022 unit 3/4 students who joined us in celebrating our VCE excellence awards recently. Your hard work and dedication have paid off, and we are extremely proud of your achievements. We look forward to seeing the bright futures that lie ahead for all of you.
As we begin the season of Lent, we reflect on the significance of Ash Wednesday, a day of solemnity and contemplation for many of our students and staff. This is a time to reflect on our personal growth and spiritual journey, and to set intentions for the season ahead. We will be hosting liturgies for staff and students throughout the day.
Sunday, February 26, will see Lake Wendouree come to life for the annual head of the lake regatta, colloquially known as “boat race”. Boat race is a culmination of a season of dedication for our rowers who have worked hard throughout the season.
Tradition dictates that our year 12 students lead the “spit crew”, a cheer squad who gather on the spit to support our rowers. This is a unique event in Ballarat, and we encourage our year 12 students to make good choices amongst the excitement of the day, your support in those decisions will be greatly appreciated.
Wednesday, March 1 will be our annual swimming carnival. This is a fun and exciting event that brings the whole school community together. We encourage all students to participate and make the most of this opportunity to showcase their swimming skills, socialise, compete in novelty events and join in celebrating their house successes.
We wish all students and staff a successful and enjoyable school year ahead, filled with many more exciting events and achievements to celebrate.
Monique Allen - Head of Drama
What a wonderful start to the year in the world of performing arts!
Rehearsals for the college production, Monty Python’s Spamalot, are off to a sensational start with the cast’s glorious voices echoing through the corridors! We are so excited to welcome Ms. Sam Bashford-Leger to the drama department who will be the assistant director of this production.
The show goes to stage in Week 5 of Term 2 so keep an eye out for ticketing information later this term!
Drama Club returns this year to a band new day, Fridays at lunch time, still in the black box theatre. We have welcomed some outstanding new year 7 performers to our ever growing crew and encourage any students who are interested to come along and join the fun!
Next week we are officially starting the year with the Performing Arts Co-Curricular (P.A.C.C) launch! Any staff and students involved in drama, debating or public speaking programs are invited to join us for lunch to meet and greet new members and catch up with previous ones.
The Rostrum Public Speaking competition runs again this year with the Ballarat heat being held on Sunday the 30th April. This is a wonderful oratory event and gives students the chance to prepare a speech on one of the set topics, they will also need to present an impromptu speech on the day. Students can access this link for more information and to register: https://forms.office.com/r/9Qbu4REzAa
Jason Lappin - Head of Sport
The Year 12 Study Centre
Fred Wallace - Study Centre Coordinator
The Year 12 Study Centre is a unique supported study environment for all VCE students at St Patrick's College. It is a fully supervised work space for up to 50 students at a time to complete homework, work on assignments and study for exams and SACS. The Centre was created 4 years ago. Year 12 students have four or more one hour non-teaching sessions each week and must attend the Study Centre at these times. This Centre is one of only a very few across Victoria, where a fully staffed facility provides a vital layer of support for students in what is a high pressure year for most.
Three dedicated staff share the position of coordinator throughout the week. Brian Hayes, Kate Walsh and Fred Wallace bring a range of experience and skills to the role. Brian is a teacher, who works in both teaching and Study Centre roles at St Patricks. Kate Walshe is a Learning Support Officer at the College, and Fred Wallace has worked in arts education roles in both secondary and tertiary education over many years. Each bring different perspectives to the position, providing guidance and support where needed, and creating a relaxed work and study environment conducive to concentration and the effective use of student’s time. The Centre staff work closely with the Head of Senior School and the two Year 12 Coordinators, to ensure consistency across the week, and manage any difficulties as they arise. The Centre regularly looks at how it can improve the facility and seek innovative and productive ways to engage with the students. Some teaching staff also utilise the Centre before school, providing special tutorials to their students seeking help.
One of the central pillars of the Centre is the employment of tutors throughout the year. What is particularly special is that the tutors are students from the previous Year 12 cohort who have achieved exceptional academic results. These students are invited to return to the College as employees to work in this important supportive role. Around ten are engaged, most for one day a week. Many of the tutors are commencing their university studies, some travelling from Melbourne or Geelong for the day. In past years, tutors have included school captains and vice captains, and this year is no different. It is always very gratifying to have former students make the shift to supporting the Study Centre, working closely with individuals and groups of students alike. This year we are pleased to welcome Tony Begbie, Ben Mornane, Max Cosgriff, Jesse Cairns, Adam Griffith and James Clark from the 2022 graduation class along with Sam Tilley and Daniel Collier from 2021. This additional tutor support is a vital layer in the mix of VCE studies at the College. The Study Centre staff work very closely with the tutors, including managing their work, providing feedback, and ensuring that they are providing the most appropriate support according to the students needs.
At the start of each year, the Centre presents a study skills program to each group over the first few days of the term. For the past two years this has been presented by Will Rothe, former School Captain and 2020 graduate. The program looks at many aspects of the Year 12 year, from time management, how to prepare for SACS, writing essays along with mental and physical health issues.
The Year 12 Study Centre at St Patrick's College is integral to its VCE program. It brings an extra dimension to the Year 12 academic experience, adding an additional layer of support whilst providing a nurturing relaxed working space.
Anthony Meehan - SPC Careers Counsellor
Welcome to the Careers and Transition Office.
The Careers and Transition Office is open to all SPC students and parents during school business hours. Appointments are available upon request in person or on MS Teams.
Contact Mr Meehan in the Careers Office on 0353 224407 or email any time.
The 2023 Careers Calendar has certain events already mapped out for Senior students considering either University and/or Trade pathways. Further information about specific events will follow.
- February 1 to 3 - Years 9,10,11 & 12 Career Action Plan review surveys allocated to each student in Pastoral Care Homeroom for completion (as hard copy or online survey)
- February 6 to 28 - Year 12 Career Interviews
- March 1 to 31 - Year 11 Career Interviews
- Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 May: VCE & Careers Expo, Caulfield Racecourse
- 17 May - SPC Careers Expo (Targets BOTH Middle and Senior school students and parents)
- Thursday 18 – Saturday 20 May: Victorian Careers Show, Melbourne Showgrounds
- 4 to 23 June - Year 10 Career Interviews
- 25 July (tbc) - Year 9 Morrisby Profile testing (Abilities, Aspirations and Attitudes
- Wednesday 21 June - Year 12 Tertiary Information Service (TIS) event
- Wednesday 19 July (tbc) - Year 12 VTAC Briefing Seminar
- Tuesday 1 August - Year 12 VTAC Applications open
- August - Year 12 VTAC Application Sessions (in Study Groups)
- Wednesday 6 September (tbc) - Year 12 Transition Seminar
- September 11 to 15 - Year 10 (11&12) Work Experience week
- October/ November - Year 9 Career Interviews (Morrisby Profile)
- December 12 (tbc) - VCE Results and ATAR release
SPC Careers Online - Homepage: https://careers.stpats.vic.edu.au/
SPC College Website – Career News: https://www.stpats.vic.edu.au/students-parents-staff/careers/
Mr Anthony Meehan
SPC Careers Counsellor
P: 03 5322 4407
M: 0439 451159
The College Uniform Shop - SALE! SALE! SALE!
The College Uniform Shop is offering a 10% DISCOUNT off all winter uniform from Wednesday 1st march until Friday 17th March.
It’s a great time to organise your son’s winter trousers.
Don’t forget to fill out a new credit card authorisation form for this year.
February 21 - Year 11 Information Night 6pm, Year 12 Information Night 7pm.
February 22 - Ash Wednesday Liturgy 9am.
February 23 - ACC Athletics.
February 26 - BAS Head of the Lake.
February 27 - ACC Music - Senior Jazz Ensemble.
February 28 - Year 9 Information Night.
March 1 - Swimming Carnival, Eureka Pool.
Old Collegians Association