Principal’s Message

December 1, 2022

by Principal, Mr Steven O’Connor

Year 7 2023 Orientation Day

It was an exciting day for our new Year 7 2023 students who enjoyed their orientation day at the College on Tuesday, 29 November! In recent weeks, I have been visiting many of the local Catholic Primary schools to make contact with those students who are heading to St Pat’s next year and beyond; these trips have been terrific but do not go close to actually having the boys on site and experiencing their first full day at the College.

Making the change from primary to high school is exciting and at times, daunting. We are very aware of this and we hope that the Orientation Day experience on Tuesday provided all of our new students with a positive experience which will help them as they prepare to commence their journey as ‘Paddy Boys’ in late January, 2023.

Thanks to those staff who were involved in organising and conducting this week’s Orientation Day, especially to Mr Gavin Webb, Mr Rodney Clark, Mrs Jacinta Burgess, and Mrs Margie Dodd!

ACC Leadership Launch

Last week, I had the pleasure of travelling to St Joseph’s College in Ferntree Gully to attend the annual Leadership Launch for the newly elected student leaders in the network of Associated Catholic Colleges (ACC). Each of the school’s Captains has the opportunity to talk to the gathering over an evening meal and I was very proud of our new College Captain, Sam Clarke and what he had to say about St Pat’s and how proud he is to be the Captain for 2023. Sam also spoke of the College’s commitment to being a genuinely inclusive community and how he has felt supported as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student at SPC.

Thanks to Mr Brodrick for organising this trip and for supporting Sam and our College Vice-Captains Lachlan Brodie and Matthew O’Brien in their attendance as well.


Staff Acknowledgements

A school’s greatest resource is of course, its staff and in this sense, St Patrick’s continues to be blessed and is certainly well placed! In many ways, 2022 has been even more challenging than 2020 and 2021. The impact of the COVID pandemic was still felt strongly by schools during 2022 but rather than reverting to remote learning and lockdowns, we continued to offer as normal a program for our boys as we could. At times, this was really challenging and required staff to dig deep and to run the extra mile as COVID continued to impact on the College community.

Thank you to all staff for their efforts during 2022! They have contributed generously to the educational experiences of our students both inside and outside of the classroom. I wish to place on record my sincere thanks to the efforts of all staff – teaching, boarding, administration and support, property and maintenance and of course, our cleaning staff; thank you for all that you have done during 2022 with and for our boys. I hope that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a well-deserved and restful summer holiday!

The following staff will be leaving the College at the end of the year to take up new opportunities in other places. I wish these good people all the very best for the new challenges and opportunities ahead and thank them for their efforts at St Patrick’s College. These include:

  • Ms Sarah Slater – moving to Loreto College in a fulltime teaching position
  • Mr Hamish McCrum – has been in the role of Director of Senior School for several years and in 2023 is moving to Damascus College as Head of the Mathematics Faculty
  • Mr Joseph Magee – moving to Ballarat Grammar to teach English
  • Ms Courtney Simpson – moving to Loreto to teach Science
  • Ms Sarah Siakew – moving to Bendigo to Girton Grammar
  • Ms Brianah Walsh – moving to Damascus to teach English
  • Mr Jarrod Ryan – moving to Loreto to teach RE and Drama
  • Mr Emmanuel Desfosses – moving to CRC Melton to take on the role of Head of Middle School
  • Mr Tony Beggs – retiring at the end of 2022
  • Mr Mark Holland – retiring at the end of 2022
  • Mr Eamonn Nolan – moving to Ballarat Grammar to teach Mathematics
  • Mrs Maria Richards – taking up a role with Catholic Education Ballarat as a consultant in Learning Diversity
  • Ms Tina Benoit – relocating to Bendigo and teaching at McAuley Catholic College
  • Ms Mif Wright – relocating to Bendigo and working as a Learning Support Officer
  • Veronica Sizeland – Canteen Assistant – retiring at the end of 2022
  • Kylie Downs – Psychologist – relocating to Melbourne

I also wish Mr Danny Moore all the very best for 2023 as he enjoys a year off from the College.

A big vote of thanks and best wishes to all of these colleagues for next year and beyond!

In addition to this, I am pleased to advise of the following appointments to the staff for 2023:

  • Ms Trudi O’Callaghan – Head of English; Ms O’Callaghan is an experienced teacher of English and is currently Head of English at Mt Clear College
  • Ms Bridie Laffey – returning to SPC from leave (English and Humanities)
  • Mr Pietro Angeli – returning to SPC in 2023 (English and Humanities)
  • Ms Maya Waters – returning to SPC from leave (Mathematics)
  • Ms Katrina Bird – returning to SPC from leave (Music and Mathematics)
  • Ms Samantha Bashford-Leger – currently teaching in the UK – has accepted a role teaching Drama and English from 2023
  • Ms Kat Clegg – returning from leave in 2023
  • Ms Ash Giampaolo – returning from leave in 2023


EREA Charter Leadership Award – Mr Michael Weadon

Each year, Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) presents significant awards to recognise the efforts of four staff across the network of 56 schools in the areas which reflect the four Touchstones, as outlined in the EREA Charter. The touchstones are: Liberating Education, Gospel Spirituality, Inclusive Community and Justice and Solidarity.

EREA schools are invited to nominate any staff (teaching and non-teaching) who have displayed strong leadership in any of the four Touchstones for consideration for these awards. This year, after consultation with the Leadership Team, the College nominated Mr Michael Weadon for the wonderful work he continues to do to promote both environmental awareness amongst the College community and his generous involvement in and support of our outreach activities.

Mr Weadon was nominated in the Touchstone category of Justice and Solidarity.

I was delighted to attend a Mass and awards presentation ceremony in Melbourne on Saturday, 26 November at which Mr Weadon was indeed, honoured for his great work in this important area at St Patrick’s College via being awarded the EREA Charter Leadership Award for Justice and Solidarity. I was very proud to be there to witness this recognition and I thank Mr Weadon for his authentic and generous commitment to this important area through his work at SPC.

Congratulations, Michael and thank you for the many wonderful contributions you have made to generations of students at SPC in the important area of environmental awareness and social justice!




I wish every member of the St Patrick’s College community – students, parents and carers, staff, old collegians and friends of the College – all the very best for a happy and holy Christmas and a wonderful summer holiday!

The year has been one of great ambition and effort by students and staff. It has been tremendous to witness both the endeavour and achievement of the boys as they have taken up a relatively normal program – both inside the classroom and out – this year and the joy that this has brought to the community. 2022 was not without its challenges and I know that many, particularly students and staff are weary and looking forward to a restful and happy Christmas holiday.

I hope and pray that Christmas this year, will enable families and friends to get together and share the joy of the festive season and the love of gathering at this time. Stay safe and well; and enjoy a holy Christmas and a happy New Year!

We remember those families who will have Christmas without a beloved family member for the first time this year. We pray for these families and ask God to wrap them in His love and mercy as they continue to grieve their loss.

In This Holy Season

Lord, in this holy season of prayer and song and laughter, we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us: for shining star and angel’s song, for infant’s cry in lowly manger. We praise you for the Word made flesh in a little Child. We behold his glory, and are bathed in its radiance.

Be with us as we sing the ironies of Christmas, the incomprehensible comprehended, the poetry made hard fact, the helpless Babe who cracks the world asunder. We kneel before you shepherds, innkeepers, wise men. Help us to rise bigger than we are. Amen.

– Author Unknown