June 10, 2021
by Principal, Mr Steven O’Connor
How quickly things can change! When I last wrote for The Crest, I recall that I noted how much I was looking forward to viewing the production of ‘Private Peaceful’ amongst other things in the week after the newsletter was to be published. The onset of the recent lockdown has yet again, had a major impact on the life of all involved in the College.
I sincerely thank all students, staff and parents for the agility and resilience that they displayed as everyone prepared for and entered this latest lockdown. It is a tribute to the capacity and professionalism of staff to switch from a normal pedagogical paradigm to remote learning in a matter of a few hours. I also acknowledge the boys who approached these changed circumstances generally with their normal ‘can do’ attitude and approach.
I am mindful that for many, the switch from our normal modes of teaching and learning to remote learning is achievable and the change is made positively and without much fuss. But for some others, I understand that the change is very difficult. I encourage boys who have found it difficult to switch modes over the last 10 days or so to seek out their Pastoral Care teacher, their subject teacher(s), their respective Year Level Coordinators, one of the College Counsellors – any member of staff who will be able to support them through this, regardless of whether it is an academic challenge or something else. The well-being of our students is paramount and I am conscious of the challenges of this latest lockdown.
It is a great shame that we did not get to watch ‘Private Peaceful’ and celebrate the enormous efforts of the boys and staff involved. Hopefully, we will be able to enjoy this at a later date. It is also a shame that BAS sport has been cancelled for the remainder of this term. And the list of cancellations and postponements continues – field trips, Year 7 Retreat etc
Of course, the GAT was due to take place this week. In light of the impact of the lockdown, VCAA has decided to postpone the GAT (as they did last year). The College will certainly let the affected students and their parents know of the rescheduled date once this has been determined and finalised by VCAA.
Whilst I share the disappointments and frustrations that many are feeling about these events being cancelled and other impacts we experience from the lockdown, I am grateful that we continue to see low numbers and that regional Victoria is safe and healthy in a COVID context. And as a school, one of our greatest strengths remains our sense of community and connection to the College and to each other. This is none more so evident at the moment.
We will get through this and we will move on stronger as a result. In the meantime, I acknowledge and thank everyone for their response to this latest lockdown.
I take this opportunity to wish all boys undertaking exams over the last part of the term all the very best. The exams form an important part of the assessment data we have for our boys. It is important therefore, that every boy does his best to carefully review the work that he knows will be examined in the days ahead. The College has other modes of assessment it uses to measure each boy as they make their way through the school year. Completing exams as well as possible complements this data. I wish every boy all the very best for the week ahead!
I wish to acknowledge and sincerely thank those in the St Patrick’s College community and the EREA and Diocesan communities for the lovely expressions and gestures of support following the sudden death of my father, Bill on 29 May. Dad’s death has rocked us all a bit as it was so unexpected. I have really been touched by the many emails and messages I’ve received from students, colleagues and parents. It reaffirms very clearly in my mind just how vital relationships are in a school. An in this sense, I know we are blessed and in a very strong position – relationships and community are well and truly alive and the bedrock of all that we do at St Pat’s!
I am really looking forward to being back at the College next week following my father’s funeral Mass and our celebration of his life in the Hunter Valley this week.
Mr Steven J O’Connor