March 5, 2021
by Principal, Mr Steven O’Connor
The Term Goes On!
The term has bounced back strongly into its full stride following the recent circuit breaker lockdown. It is great to see everyone back on site and enthusiastically taking up the many opportunities available to them here at St Pat’s. I acknowledge the resilience and optimism that characterised the boys’ response to the interruption and then return to the College.
During the season of Lent, we are encouraged to reflect on our relationships, behaviours and our own faith journey. I encourage all of the boys to take time to do this and to look for opportunities to reach out via acts of gratitude and kindness to others in the College community. As a school in the Edmund Rice tradition we challenge and encourage our boys to speak up and stand with the poor, the marginalised, the voiceless and the vulnerable – to live justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with our God.
As I walk around the College, I witness countless examples of our young men striving to live just lives, to express their concern and care for each other and to do so with humility.
The first meeting of the St Patrick’s College Advisory Council occurred earlier this week. This was the first meeting for the new members, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead. It is a significant sacrifice and contribution to volunteer one’s time to contribute to the College via the Council and its sub-committees. I thank Mr Peter Wilson, Chair of the Advisory Council for his work in leading this important group and his generous and proactive support of me as I settle into my role of Principal at the College.
I also recently attended my first Old Collegians’ Association meeting which was very enjoyable. The OCA is a very active and supportive group. The College is indeed fortunate to have these good people supporting it through various means and events.
St Patrick’s Day is fast approaching, and I am looking forward to the important expressions of community which will occur on this day. Of course, we will celebrate Mass to mark the feast day of our patron saint, Saint Patrick. Our Year 12 students will also be presented with their Year 12 badges and a special luncheon will be held for members of the OCA. We will also be hosting a special Cocktail Party to celebrate this special day for the College.
International Women’s Day
Next week we will mark International Women’s Day (Monday, 8 March) which is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when all women are recognised for their achievements. International Women’s Day was first born out of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe.
Australia’s first International Women’s Day was held in 1928 in Sydney. Organised by the Militant Women’s Movement, women called for equal pay for equal work, an 8-hour working day for shop girls and paid leave. The next year the event spread to Brisbane. In 1931, annual marches were launched in both Sydney and Melbourne and both marches continue to be held today.
International Women’s Day has become a time to reflect on progress, to call for change and to celebrate the courage and determination of the women who changed history, and those who will advance gender equality into the future. It is an occasion to review how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilise for meaningful change.
The College has identified as one of its important strategic goals for 2021 our commitment to continue to educate our students and community around attitudes and behaviours towards women. In some areas in society, some progress has arguably been made, however we still have a long way to go. The recent concerns about alleged sexual assault of women in the workplace and young women at school tragically highlights just how far we still have to go as a society.
On Tuesday I was fortunate to watch the significant inaugural Respect Cup played in Geelong against St Joseph’s College. It was a wonderful event, bringing both boys and girls from St Joseph’s College, Geelong, Sacred Heart College in Geelong, Loreto and ourselves together in the spirit of sport, friendship, respect and equality. I am very pleased that St Pat’s has been a party to this initiative and look forward to the Ballarat schools hosting the Respect Cup in 2022. You can read more information about this from our Head of Sport, Ms Tina Benoit.
My hope is that every student at St Patrick’s College has a genuine respect for the females in their lives and recognises and relates to women as equals, acknowledging the talents, skills and ability of all women in all endeavours.
Mr Steven O’Connor