Happy New Year to all our St Dominic’s College community. 

As we commence the new year, our prayers are with all the families affected by the disastrous bushfires that are raging across all of Australia. In particular, our prayers are with our local community who have spent much of the summer precariously looking over their shoulder at the next possible bush fire that may affect their lives.  May the grace of God bring much needed rain to assist with the crying needs of our land.

At our Annual Awards Evening I acknowledged the great work of two significant leaders within our community.  Mr Sheil and Mr Gorton have been loyal and supportive members of St Dominic’s for many years and have contributed greatly to the College’s learning improvement plan.  Since this evening, two additional members of staff have resigned from their position for family reasons. 

Mr Nguyen (Mathematics) has only been with the College for two years but during this time has been an active member in so many different aspects of the College, including the musical, sporting teams and many of our STEM initiatives.  Mr Nguyen has accepted a position at a school much closer to his home. 

Mr O’Keefe (Visual Art/TAS) has also only been with us for a short time but has contributed to our co-curricula program through his quality photography.  We thank all those leaving the College for being faithful and dedicated supporters of St Dominic’s during their time here.

Movement of staff is common within an educational environment.  This movement provides leadership opportunities for others within the community.  After an extensive application process, it is with great pleasure that I inform the College of significant changes to the College Leadership Team for 2020 and the introduction of two new exciting initiatives within the College.

Congratulations to the following members of staff who have be appointed to significant roles within the College Leadership Team:

  • Mr Borg will take responsibility of the curriculum as the new Director of Curriculum.
  • Mr Gerlach will lead the teaching and learning agenda as the new Director of Teaching and Learning
  • Mr Godsell has accepted the role of Director of Administration and will ensure of the smooth running of all things administration within the College.

I would like to sincerely thank Mr Gerlach for his coordination of the Mathematics Department and Mr Godsell for his pastoral care of the Year 10 group which he has pastorally cared for over the past four years.  They continue their leadership journey and I am confident that they will add great value to the continual improvement plan of the College.

The wellbeing of all members of a community is becoming a priority for not only schools but all organisations.  With the increased demand in this field, the College deemed it a necessity to introduce a new role that would complement the great work of our Pastoral Team.

Therefore, Mrs Birkett has been appointed to this significant role for the next two years.  It is hoped that with the support of the Wellbeing Coordinator, the pastoral needs of both staff and students will be catered for to cope with the educational pressures.

Our Social Justice Outreach Program continues to grow and as such we have appointed Mrs Fogliani as the Social Outreach Coordinator for 2020.  This position will support and complement our formation program lead by Mr Culican, Director of Identity.  There are a number of new initiatives planned within this area so that our students can be an additional voice for those who do not have a voice.

I sincerely wish both Mrs Birkett and Mrs Fogliani every success in their new roles.

As a result of these changes. other staff members have accepted roles of responsibility within our leadership structure.  Congratulations to:

  • Mrs Knowles who will be the Y11 Pastoral Coordinator.
  • Mr Meek who will be the Mathematics Coordinator for 2020.
  • Mr D’Souza who will take on the responsibilities of the Dharuk House Coordinator for 2020/21.
  • Mr McKay who will fulfil the role of the Surawski House Coordinator for 2020/21.

Our Awards evening was once again a highlight for 2019 as we acknowledged the outstanding achievements of so many young men who excelled in their academic endeavours or contributed to the life of the College through the co-curricula program or their commitment to the Social Justice Outreach Program.  Some of our fine young men were recognised for all the above areas and thus truly embodied themselves in “Dominus Lux Mea”.  Congratulations to all our award recipients.

A special thanks to our keynote speaker Mr Peter Leuenberger, especially for his words of wisdom and encouragement.  His reflection on ‘polished shoes’ as a reflection of the individual will live the minds of the young men who were present on the night.  The College and I are very appreciative of the great support Mr Leuenberger has always shown St Dominic’s and look forward to his guidance in 2020.

A night such as the Annual Awards Evening requires the coordinated support of so many people:

  • to our musicians lead by Mr Wilson and Ms Ede: thank you for all your work and for the way that you have motivated, supported and encouraged our boys not only tonight but throughout the whole year
  • to Mr Hine and the sound and lighting crew for the professionalism you bring that ensures that everything runs smoothly on the day
  • my thanks to Mr Gorton and our KLA Coordinators for diligence in collating all the information for our academic awards
  • to our Pastoral teams and the Pastoral Coordinators for their diligence in making the evening run smoothly
  • thanks to Mr Henderson and Mr Browne (our maintenance team) for preparing the hall and all the staging.  Your endless support of all our assemblies throughout the year is greatly appreciated by the whole community
  • to Mrs Monteleone, Mrs Baluch and Mrs Rimmer for the organisations of the awards in preparation for tonight.
  • special thanks to Mrs Tyrrell, Mrs Horne and Mrs Michaleris who have been instrumental in the organisation of this evening. Your diligence in making this awards night a huge success is much appreciated by all the school community.
  • to Mr Jansz for being the MC for the evening
  • to Mr Culican for their overall organisation of the evening. Your extensive work in making sure the evening runs smoothly provides great comfort to me
  • my heartfelt thanks must go to all the staff and students who have worked tirelessly to ensure that this evening’s celebration truly acknowledges the achievements of our award recipients.

These sentiments cannot truly express my gratitude to all members of our community for a successful evening.  I am truly blessed to be the Principal of this great community.

Our 2019 HSC result were once again outstanding with all our students pleased with their results especially those who have accepted positions in different educational institutions.  A special congratulations to Lachlan Camilleri for being a HSC All-Rounder and a ATAR of 98.3.  I look forward to our HSC High Achievers Assembly on Friday 31st January (please refer to our HSC news post)

As I sit here contemplating what 2020 may bring, I am reminded of The Trouble Tree.

The Trouble Tree

Author Unknown

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tyre made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.

On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied.” I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing’s for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.”

He paused. “Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

As we prepare for 2020, may we have fewer troubles that influenced us in 2019.  May the hope and joy of a new year provide each of us the inspiration to be the voice of change for ourselves and others.

I would like to welcome all the community back at the end of January as we celebrate our 61st year in educating the great sons of the Penrith Region.

Dominus Lux Mea

Mr Michael Ronchetti – St Dominic’s College Principal