Lent has come and gone with the College spending most of this period off-site. What a strange and unfamiliar Lenten period we have just experienced. I would like to sincerely thank Mr Culican and our Y12 College Prefects who so eloquently provided us with a memorable Stations of the Cross experience and ensured we maintained this long-standing tradition at the College.
Though we were away from the College, in the physical sense, the message of Easter remains the same as we respond to the invitation of living the gospel in our daily lives and welcome the new possibilities for living our shared mission. We did this whether we were at school or in our own home. Jesus proclaimed a message of justice, peace and forgiveness. As witnesses of this message, we are challenged to bring this message to life through our own lives, no matter where we are or who we encounter on a daily basis. “Peace be with you,” are words that lie at the heart of Christianity. This is the Lord’s gift to us. These words are easy to say but they can seem like empty words to those who have no peace in their lives. Therefore, Easter teaches us that our mission is to bring about a community and a world built on human dignity and peace for all people. This message is even more prevalent than ever before with our social distancing.
The month of May is a significant time in the life of our College as it reminds us of the lives of three significant figures who have helped shape our community. Mary, our heavenly mother, Blessed Edmund Rice and St Dominic Savio were challenged to proclaim the message and openly became witnesses to the message through their own lives. They were all challenged by events of their own time but managed to overcome these and forge a new path that supported so many people within their own community. Their impact continues to bear fruit today. I hope our experience with COVID-19 assists us in this ‘new’ world environment and brings us closer as a community, living Jesus in our hearts and continuing in our journey in following in the footsteps of Mary, Edmund and Dominic.
Our Term 2 celebrations and commemorations have and will continue to take a very different view to previous years. However, every effort is being sourced to provide a meaningful and reverent experience for our community, especially for those new to St Dominic’s like Year 7 and those who will finish their experience with the College such as Year 12. Though we can provide an online teaching and learning experience, the College cannot provide a genuine College life experience but I am ever grateful for the staff and students who are working exceptionally hard at trying to make this a positive experience while we are off-site. I am heart-felt by the enormous support the community has shown each other.
A special thanks to Mr Rawding and Mrs Michaleris who put together a beautiful commemoration of ANZAC Day. Though we commemorated this day off-site, the values and message of the day always remains with us. We are always 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 bestowed 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. Every 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.
Therefore, I pray that all the ordinary men of St Dominic’s continue to achieve extraordinary feats in their lives. May all our sons demonstrate the values that exemplifies the ANZAC’s throughout this term especially while we remain off-site.
The first term Diligent and Sustain Effort Reports have provided families to review the current progress of their son(s). I will be reviewing these over the next week. I am hopeful that most students have performed at least to the best of their ability, if not beyond their expectations, under the current circumstances. These reports provide a great opportunity for all students and parents/guardians to evaluate their goals set at the beginning of the year. Setting revised achievable goals for term 2 will provide students with a greater sense of purpose and motivation to continue their learning journey. I will encourage all parents to maintain communication with their son’s teachers if they have any concerns or if they wish to have updates of their sons progress throughout the term. This is even more relevant considering the current teaching and learning environment.
The annual Mother’s Day Mass has become a tradition at the College over the past seven years. It is with a heavy heart that we are unable to celebrate this significant day as a community. Though we cannot be together, I know that the sons of St Dominic’s will endeavour to demonstrate their love for their mothers, grandmothers or the significant women in their lives in a manner that will continue to uphold the traditions we have established. May all women be blessed during these unfamiliar times. Please know that our love for you is enduring and though we may not be able to ‘physically’ show this love, we will always love you. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers in the St Dominic’s community.
When I reflect on my own schooling, the memories that stand out the most are those that I shared with my friends and other members of my school community whether it was on trips away, excursions or retreats. It truly saddens me that moments like these have been taken away from our students, especially our Year 12 students. However, we have new experiences that we will be able to share in future years and this COVID-19 experience will be one for all ages. May we continue to reflect on the memorable aspects of our off-site experience and share these in the years to come.
Term 1 was usually a time for students to settle into the routines to meet the challenges of our blended learning environment. I would normally have the opportunity to walk around the College and experience the teaching and learning environment, first hand. Over the past six weeks, students have had to establish new ‘at home’ routines and I have had to revert to video meetings with staff and students. Though this has been good, it definitely does not replace the ‘real’ human interaction. I would like to thank and congratulate the staff and students for their diligence in ensuring the teaching and learning agenda continues considering the challenges we have been faced with over this period.
As we move into Phase 3: Transitioning back to On-Campus Teaching and Learning, may we remain safe and healthy so that we can return to the new ‘normal’, sooner rather than later.
Let Your Light Shine
Mr M. Ronchetti