Term 2 has been a challenging period. In my 35years of teaching, never have I experienced such a tumultuous time when schools have had to adapt to the beat of a pandemic that has controlled all our lives. From the moment we were notified of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, we as a College community have had to adapt to ensure the teaching and learning environment continued. Teachers reinvented themselves and how to best deliver their lessons. Students had to become independent learners focused on completing the work to the best of their ability. They had to learn to ask questions when they were uncertain, seek regular feedback so that they could improve the quality of their work and ensure they kept up to date with all the allocated work. During this time, parents returned to their days as a student as they attempted to support their sons with their online learning. A daunting task for many of us parents. Now that we are coming out of this time, I am so proud of all our teachers, students and parents in the manner in
which we have supported and encouraged each other during this time of crisis. The EREA Touchstone, Liberating Education, encourages us to open our heart and minds, through teaching and learning experiences, so we can encourage each person to be hope-filled for a better world. Thank you to all our beautiful community for being in solidarity during this time in our history.
It seems such a long time ago but the Easter period concluded during June with the celebration of The Ascension of our Lord, Pentecost Sunday, The Most Holy Trinity, The Most Holy Body and Body of Christ (Corpus Christi) returning to ordinary time over the past two weeks. During this period in the Church calendar, 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.
“His Holy Spirit has unlocked the doors of heaven.”
As a community of the Church, especially during this time, we are the messengers, encouraged to welcome all to our Church. Moved by the Spirit, all will know we are Christians by our love and forgiveness, as it is through our living that we bring new life. The relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is unique and as Christians we need to discover the wonders that God, through his Son and the work of the Spirit provides us in our daily lives. Through our partaking in the Eucharist, God commissions us to share with others, the spiritual nourishment that we all seek. As we are called to discipleship, we are encouraged to promote, express, share and live the Spirit with all whom we encounter. The Spirit needs to be visible in our lives especially as we continue to live a society that has been, and continues to be, threatened by a virus that is not visible. I look forward to Term 3, so that we can have a Eucharistic celebration and be nourished by God’s love.
On Tuesday 23rd June, Stuart Ayres, Member for Penrith and former student of the College (Class 1996) announce to the College community that we have been granted $724,625 through the NSW Government Building Grant Scheme (BGAS). These funds were allocated through the Block Grant Authority (CSNSW) to assist in the refurbishment of Block A with the works due to commence late 2021.
The application process to obtain this grant is lengthy and requires significant detail to complete successfully. Through the diligence of Ms Powell, Director of Business Services, the College was finally successful in ascertaining this significant grant that will support us in providing contemporary facilities for our community. This is especially significant as we will commence a multi-million dollar building project from November with the construction of Block E. On behalf of the College I would like to thank, NSW Government, CSNSW and Ms Powell for their generous contribution to the continued development of St Dominic’s College.
Our Wednesday morning formation program has been given a name, The Waterford Program. During this time students and staff engage in a variety of activities that assist the formation of our students into the St Dominic’s graduate. These activities come from a range of domains within the College. The aim of these activities is to support the academic, social, emotional, faith and spiritual formation of our students. Though still in its infancy, the Waterford program will become a significant aspect of our students journey from Year 7 to Year 12.
In 2020 there seems to be many firsts. For the first time we conducted our Y12 Student/Parent/Teacher Interviews online because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Though these go against the grain of what I believe is essential to a community, that is the personable contact, it did provide an avenue for parents, students and teachers to engage a significant educational dialogue. These interviews were very beneficial as students received valuable feedback that they can use in preparation for the Trial HSC examinations in Term 3. Year 12 students have been provided time to organise themselves with a study timetable and study habits to implement as they prepare for these significant exams.
Though there have been many changes to our lived environment, our reporting schedule for Year 7 – Year 11 remains on track with Semester One reports due to be emailed by early next week. These reports will form the basis of discussion at the Parent/Student/Teacher Interviews for Year 7 – Year 10 scheduled for Week 2 and Week 3 of Term 3. These interviews will be conducted online via our normal Schools Interviews booking system. More information regarding these interviews will be distributed before the end of term. Another first.
It is about this time of a year that I would be congratulating all our coaches, managers and players for a successful MCS winter season. Unfortunately, this has not been possible because there have been no games which has been really disappointing especially for our Year 12 students. Though, there is a little glimmer of hope with a couple of A Grade rugby league and soccer games as well as a Schoolboy Cup game against St Patricks’ Blacktown planned for early Term 3. Normal MCS sports commitments such as AFL, Touch Football and Athletics will return for Term 3 following strict safety measures. Other cocurricular activities will hopefully also return such as excursions, incursions and camps thus providing a greater experience of being a student at the College, that were taken away from us during Term 3 because of restrictions. However, there have been numerous highlights throughout June that parents and visitors are welcome to explore through out news posts.
A reminder that Monday 20th July is a Staff Development Day (Pupil Free) and Tuesday 21st July will be the first day for students to commence Term 3. This is also the College Photo Day so please ensure that boys are well groomed and wearing the uniform to our high standards.
Once again, thank you for your adaptability in dealing with the constantly changing landscape of Term 2. May Term 3 bring new opportunities for all students as they continue in the formation as a young gentleman. I encourage all students to seek the Lord’s light and allow their own light to shine.
Let Your Light Shine
Mr M. Ronchetti