Term Two has been underway for five weeks and during this time there has been numerous events and opportunities for students to continue their development. At the opening College assembly for the term, I encouraged all students that they must continue their commitment to:
o a caring and safe environment;
o pursing excellence and achieving their personal best;
o assisting and supporting others;
o respecting all members of our community so that we contribute in a positive manner.
This message came on the back of our acknowledgement of the Y12 Semester One Academic Award recipients who used their potential to achieve their success. Each person has potential to do anything they set their mind to do, however, it remains potential unless we act in a diligent manner, committed to doing our personal best. This potential that exists in all of us remains potential unless we act, seeking support from those in our community with the expert advice, our teachers, to assist in fostering this potential and become the best version of themselves. I would encourage all students to continue in their pursuit of their potential so that they can add their story to our traditions and our story as we celebrate 60 years of education at the College.
As we approach the final days of the Easter period with the celebration of The Ascension of our Lord and Pentecost Sunday, we continue to remember the resurrection of our Lord with special devotion. We spend significant time commemorating before Easter but as soon as Easter Sunday is over we revert to our lives without truly reflecting on the next 40 days before Pentecost. Saint Augustine share his perspective:
“The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter which we are celebrating at present
signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future.
“What we commemorate before Easter is what we experience in this life;
what we celebrate after Easter points to something we do not yet possess.”
This period after the resurrection should be filled with the Holy Spirit and the hope that the Spirit brings. It is a hope that transcends our current situation, filling the vacuum that exists within our lives, looking for the hope of something better. St Maximus of Turin in the 5th Century wrote:
“His Holy Spirit has unlocked the doors of heaven.”
The Holy Spirit is our advocate. Allow the Spirit room in our lives so that we can renew our HOPE , as we seek happiness and peace.
The Feast of Mary Help of Christians became a special feast day for the Christian Brothers who were encouraged by Blessed Edmund Rice in 1816 “to offer special prayers to Mary Help of Christians”. Since this time Mary has been a significant figure in the lives of the Christian Brothers. Let us pray to Mary Help of Christians to help and guide us during times of need.
Feast of Mary Help of Christians
Mary Help of Christians patroness of Australia
(Feast Day: 24th May)
Almighty God, deepen in our hearts
our love of Mary Help of Christians.
Through her prayers and under her protection,
may the light of Christ shine over our land.
May Australia be granted harmony, justice and peace.
Grant wisdom to our leaders and integrity to our citizens.
Bless especially the men and women
of the Australian Defence Force and their families.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us
During Founders’ Week, we are reminded that we must be inspired to bear witness to the word of Christ, the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice and the work of the Christian Brothers, therefore, we must speak to the hearts and minds of all our community. Founders’ Week is a time to:
· acknowledge and honour the past
· celebrate the present
· provide hope for the future
By re-telling the story of both Blessed Edmund Rice and St Dominic’s Savio, we are reminded that we are not the local government school but rather a school:
· with a long and valued history
· who stands up for those on the margins
· that does not tolerate injustice
· that has compassion for all those who are in need, especially our indigenous community, refugees, the homeless and those who do not have a voice and suffer without any support.
It is now mine, yours, our responsibility to ensure the stories of both our Founders’ is maintained so that we do not forget who has shaped this great College.
Founders’ Week also provides us with the opportunity to revisit the Blessed Edmund Rice icon. In 1762 at Callan Ireland, a seed was planted for the birth of Blessed Edmund Rice Education Australia.
This is the Icon of Blessed Edmund Rice by Irish artist Desmond Kyne, depicting various aspects of Edmund’s life.
The central image shows Edmund stroking the head of his daughter Mary. As he looks out from the picture, Edmund is appealing to us to always be most caring to people in need. He was completely open to the Holy Spirit moving creatively within him, through his life and in his work.
In the top left, the Blessed Virgin Mary looks at us while Jesus looks at Edmund, and with a positive gesture recommends him to Mary. God’s mother is being offered to replace Edmunds’ lost loved ones – Mary, his young wife, and in another sense, Mary his only child.
Bottom right shows a scene from Edmund’s boyhood as he talks to Brother Patrick Grace, a gentle Augustinian who was well known and well-loved in the Callan area as the Little Grey Friar. In those days you were not allowed to practise religion in the open so they were quite secretive.
Highlighted in the left hand panel is the spiral symbolising God, who inspires Mary, a devout Jewish girl. When Mary’s parents dedicated her as a baby they presented her in the temple. The Presentation sisters inspired Edmund to his educational work.
Highlighted in the right hand panel is St Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite mystic of the preceding century, upon whose writings Edmund often reflected.
Our commemoration of ANZAC Day reminded that we do not celebrate ANZAC day, as war is not a theatre that we should celebrate, but rather we remember (commemorate) all those who have served our country for the better good of all. We especially remember those who have paid the ultimate price of war. It is also a time to reflect upon the positive Australian values that are exemplified on ANZAC Day. Values such as self-giving, resilience, courage, generosity, love, care and mercy but to name a few. We have been dethroned with the responsibility of ensuring these values are maintained in our current society so that the lives of so many fine young men and women did not die in vain. As Christians, ANZAC is sacred because human life is sacred. Ever human is precious in God’s sight. The life and fate of each solider who died at Gallipoli and other wars matters to God. Lest we forget.
I would like to thank Mr Rawding and our student leadership team for their organisation of the assembly and a special thanks to a former member of our College, Oliver Masters who represented the RAAF for the commemoration. I pray that all the ordinary men of St Dominic’s can achieve extraordinary feats in their lives. May all our sons demonstrate the values that exemplifies the ANZAC’s throughout this term and the whole of the year
NAPLAN testing is over for another year. I would like to congratulate Y7 and y 9 for the diligence in preparing and completing the tests. It can be a stressful time for many students. We look forward to great achievement and learning gains for all our students. These tests are diagnostic tests that demonstrate what the students have learnt in class. NESA states:
“The results provide information about student achievement that can be used to inform teaching and learning programs. NAPLAN tests provide point-in-time information regarding student progress in literacy and numeracy and are intended to complement the wide range of formal and informal assessments that are already conducted in schools. NAPLAN test results are not intended to be used in isolation from other school-based assessment programs.”
It is important to note that these tests help inform the College on student progress and assists us in developing programs that will assist the students of St Dominic’s College.
The Student / Parent / Teacher Interviews provided all parents an great opportunity to maintain open communicate between stakeholders as we work in partnership to continue the holistic development of our sons. As students continue with their learning, I would encourage all parents to engage with the son’s learning and contact parents if they believe their sons are not performing to the best of the capabilities.
Last week members of the College staff interviewed Y7 2020 applicants. Once again, the staff have been extremely excited by the quality of the applicants. All those interviewed were fantastic in their responses and a credit to their families and their current schools. The College will offer up to 216 places for 2020. These offers will be mailed to all the successful applicants by the early June. Unfortunately, the number of applicants exceeds the number of offers possible therefore several families will be placed on a waiting list. Thank you to all families who have applied and we look forward to our future partnership.
Y12 students from Caroline Chisholm and St Dominic’s College engaged in a social day on Tuesday 28th May. Thanks to the staff of both schools for their support of the event in particular Mrs Shankar, Mr Jansz and the Prefect leaders for their organisation of the day.
From my visit to the Y9 camp the students seem to be having a fantastic time with the boys relaying the many stories of the different activities. It was great watching the students engage with each other especially preparation and cooking of their evening meals. The teamwork and comradery was pleasing to witness and provided great faith in me with regards to this group’s leadership potential. I am positive that there will be many stories about their cooking experiences especially all the different MasterChef challenges. I look forward to hearing more of their experience in next week’s newsletter.
The College is a place where young men can prosper in any chosen domain. On Friday 31st May, some of this outstanding talent will be on display at the Night Garden event hosted by the Penrith Regional Gallery. We were entertained by Mr Wilson and our music students while appreciating the wonderful art by our students. Thank you to Mr Lewis and Mrs Knowles for their support of our creative students and to Mr Wilson for his leadership with the music.
When I reflect on my own schooling, the memories that stand out the hopefully live long in their memories and become talking points for our young men when their have their reunions. Some of these events also include:
· Mother’s Day Mass
· Photography competitions
· Nepean Careers Market
· F1 In-Schools Team
· Reconciliation Week
The Cultural tour to Italy was an outstanding success with all participants glowing in their reflection of the experience. Plans have commenced for the 2020 Cultural Tour to Japan and would encourage all Japanese students to consider this experience to enrichen their appreciation of the Japanese culture.
The first College Musical is fast approaching with the whole production taking real shape as the performers continuing their development of their role. The collaboration between the girls and boys has been extremely rewarding. Please save the date and join the inaugural combined musical.
The MCS Football and Rugby competitions have been very competitive and and teams are bidding for a semi-final berth. Hopefully, their last few regular competition games prepares them well for the finals. A reminder that playing for the College is a privilege that comes with great responsibility therefore maintaining the high standards established by those who have played in the blue and white now becomes the responsibility of the players of 2019. Special congratulations to all our students who have been successful in representing St Dominic’s at the MCS and the NSWCCC level. Please click here to refer to our news posts for these fine young men.
Ethan Hutchings NSWCCC Rugby League Team
Other notable successes:
Liam Ison, Declan Quirk, Luke Hanson, Mason Teague and Trent Brothwick
As we move into the second half of the term, I encourage all students to let their light shine for what is good about the College. Our continued support of each other in all elements of the College will only make St Dominic’s a better place.
Let Your Light Shine
Mr M. Ronchetti