As we complete Week 5, thus half way through the term, I hope that each student has settled into some good routines in regards to their studies. This is extremely important for Y12 who are three weeks away from their Semester 1 Assessment Block. This forms a significant part of their Semester One report and marks the halfway point for their HSC assessments. For all other students’, good routines now will support their learning for the remainder of the year. As I reflect over the past five weeks and the array of events that have consumed the College, I am totally grateful to the fantastic staff that have supported our students and the College during this time. Let us commence our reflection at the Opening College Mass which was a wonderful liturgical celebration to signify the official commencement of the College academic year.
At the College Opening Mass, we were blessed and honoured with the presence of his Excellency, The Most Reverend Vincent Van Long Nguyen, Bishop of Parramatta. Bishop Vincent’s homily provided great encouragement for all our students as we become the voices of truth, solidarity and justice. His homily connected beautifully with our 2020 College theme “Voices for a Better World” and inspired us all to see ‘Jesus Christ as the true source of our hope’. I would like to thank Bishop Vincent and Father Gregory on behalf of the College Community for a wonderful celebration of the Eucharist.
Below is part of my address to the College community outlining my hopes and aspirations for the St Dominic’s community as we commence the 2020 school year and how we can be faithful to our College theme:
The College theme for 2020 “Voices for a Better World” is a calling to all of us, to use our voice to support the voiceless. Through our voice and conviction:
We must profess our faith to all
We must look to encourage others and be positive influencers
We must, with confidence and unashamedly, proclaim the gospel values
We must seek to use our voices to:
Be the Lord’s light
And as St Francis said: Be instruments of peace
We need to be voices that illuminates the goodness that lives within the hearts and minds of everyone.
We need to listen, truly listen to:
The despair of the marginalised
The pain and suffering of the refugees
The hunger of the poor
The suffering of the victims of crime and domestic violence
The struggles of women
Not until we become the advocates for those who have no or a limited voice, can we truly be the voices that will make a difference in this world.
How have you commenced 2020?
How have you used you voice so far?
Is your voice the only voice you are hearing?
Who will you be a voice for in 2020?
The beginning of a new school year provides great optimism and opportunity for every member of the College community. We need to unite and seize the day, for we have the power to liberate our hearts and minds so that we are inspired, empowered and ‘hope-filled’ for a better world in 2020. Change comes from within, for greatness lies within the palm of our hands.
Let us continue to be the voice of change and face the challenges of 2020, with conviction, determination and dedication; therefore, it is in Dominus Lux Mea we must trust.
Let us all keep Jesus in our hearts as we make this world a better place.
May God keep you all in the palm of his hand and may his peace reign within you throughout 2020.
Thank you and may God bless you all.
Sometimes when speaking to an audience you are not sure how they have received the message. I hope and pray that all our students and teachers realise the fortunate position we are in in bringing about change for those who truly need our support.
I would like to especially acknowledge our special guests who were able to be present with us at our mass:
To Mr Leuenberger (EREA Eastern Regional Director). His ongoing support of the College has been reassuring as we move forward. To Mr Rosato, Principal of Bethany Primary School.
Our connections to the local catholic primary schools are essential as we endeavour to educate our children in a Catholic environment spreading the Good news. To all the parents who were present especially our Y12 parents who may be attending their last Opening College Mass. This may have ignited a number of emotions especially if they have had a long association with the College. I thank all parents for their support of this special occasion. To our wonderful staff who made this such a special Eucharistic celebration:
- To our musicians lead by Mr Wilson and our singers lead by Ms Ede. Thank you for your continual support and encouragement of all our boys.
- To Mr Hine and the sound and lighting crew. Thank you for ensuring our assemblies/masses run as smoothly as possible.
- A special mention to our two servers, Athum Athum and Riley Fahey.
- My thanks to all our support staff and in particular Mrs Tyrrell and Mrs Michaleris who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring the mass to fruition.
- To all our maintenance team who dedicated many hours to ensure the Br Warner Hall is presented as our sacred space.
- To our wonderful staff, for being so accommodating in supporting our Opening College Mass and for your continued support of our students and their aspirations.
- A special thanks of appreciation and congratulations to our Director of Identity, Mr Culican, who worked diligently for many weeks to ensure we had a meaningful liturgical experience.
Over these first five weeks, staff and students have been actively involved in numerous events that are typical for this time of the year. We have:
- Celebrated the 2019 HSC High Achievers at our opening College assembly.
- Welcomed Y7 and their parents at our Y7 Welcoming Liturgy where families were asked to write down their hopes for their sons as they enter our College. These will be saved and given to the students when they are in Y9. This was followed by a family BBQ and then parents were able to meet their sons Embark Teacher.
- Provided support for our Y12 parents at our informative Y12 Parents Surviving the HSC evening. It was great to see so many parents who were engaged in their sons education as they enter into their final 10 months of schooling. The sharing of valued information by Mr Walsh, Mr Jansz, two past students Lachlan Camilleri and Joshua Haydon, our school counsellors Mrs Haydon and Ms Polidano provided reassurance to all parents that the College and it’s staff are here to support their sons and them during this challenging year.
- The Y10 Record of Student Achievement (RoSA) Information Evening provided essential information. Mr Borg outlined all the assessments schedules and procedures; Misadventure procedures; N Warnings; Malpractice and how parents can find the curriculum matters on CANVAS. Along with the RoSA information, Mr Gerlach explained our learning Management System, CANVAS, and how parents are able to engage in their sons learning through this platform. All matters dealing with the curriculum are now available in CANVAS.
- The Y7 camp was a fantastic experience for all our students. The friendships and memories from this experience will remain with all the students and become part of their folklore when they have reunions in the future.
- Cooked our annual pancakes for Shrove Tuesday and raised over $300. The prefects were outstanding in their cooking of these pancakes. They were able supported by Mr Jansz and Mr Culican.
The College community commenced the Lenten period with Ash Wednesday liturgies for all year groups in the Christian Brothers Chapel or the Br Warner Hall. Students received ashes on their forehead with the words “Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel”. I encourage all students to hear these words and to look deeply into their hearts and minds as we are called to contemplate the Good News so that we make this world a better place.
As we conclude our summer competitions, our winter season trials are in full swing. I would employ all students to use their talents for the College so that they can contribute to our cocurricula program. One of the most pleasing aspects of the College is the willingness of students to use their God-given talents and support the great culture we have to offer in so many cocurricula areas. Can I please remind all students and their families of the compulsory nature of using these talents for the College. This commitment includes trialling, training, rehearsals, performances and playing in sport games. If boys are unable to participate in any cocurricula activity, a note is to be addressed to myself outlining the reasons for his non-participation. If we are to be the custodians of the traditions of St Dominic’s College, we all have a role to play in supporting the cocurricula program. I look forward to continued support from both students and parents.
The College Open Day (Sunday March 8) is an extremely important part of the College calendar as it provides prospective families an opportunity to visit and experience the College. It is during this day that both boys and their parents get a genuine feel of the College and a greater understanding of the spirit of the College. The day is divided into two sessions (10.00am and 12.00pm) each commencing with a brief information section before moving to the tours lead by the student of the College. It is the tour guides, our student volunteers, and the classroom presentations that truly influence the prospective boys and their parents, of the quality that exists here at the College, and why they should apply to be enrolled into this great College. Please encourage your friends to attend the Open Day even if St Dominic’s College is already the preferred school for their sons.
Congratulations to all our Grand final teams in Basketball and Cricket
Congratulations to all our Grand final teams in particular to our MCS Premiers:
A Grade Basketball: Mr Hine (Coach) and Ms Atkinson (Manager)
B Grade Basketball: Mr Godsell (Coach) and Ms Lans (Manager)
Y10 Basketball: Ms Cook (Coach) and Mr Kennedy-Gould (Manager)
Though our Y9 Basketball (Mr Kilbourne and Mrs Birkett) were not winners on the day they should be congratulated for their outstanding achievement over the course of the season. Y9 were a far smaller side, than their opponents, but their tenacity and determination was amazing. Great College spirit. I was privileged to watch all our Basketball teams and was once again overwhelmed with the manner in which all the teams competed. They showed great skill and determination while displaying great sportsmanship both in victory and in defeat. Congratulations and thanks to all our coaches and managers for supporting the teams and for giving of your time.
The College Swimming Carnival was held on Monday 24th Feb at Ripples, Penrith. This year Y7 and Y8 students along with those students who nominated for an event attended the carnival. The great House spirit evident throughout the day allowed for a great time to be had by all students. Congratulations to Mr McKay and the Surawski House for being victorious on the day. Congratulations also to all the Age Champions:
- U12: Oliver Nekic (Dharuk House)
- U13: Hunter Bell (Tench House)
- U14: Jaxen Edgar (Dharuk House)
- U15: Nicholas Csillag (Dharuk House)
- U16: Declan Quirk (Rice House)
- U17: Oskar Staniucha (Surawski House)
- U18: Jack Benson (Dharuk House)
Thank you to Mr Peake and Mr Churchill for their organisation of the event. Also, special thanks to our four House Coordinators Mr D’Souza (Dharuk House), Mr Zammit (Tench House), Mr Cummins (Rice House) and Mr McKay (Surawski House) for their enthusiasm and the great colour they brought to the carnival.
The College has commenced its Master Building plan with the construction of the yarning circle. Though it has yet to be completed, this yarning circle (meeting place) will become a focal point within the College Quadrangle. The College is committed to its ongoing improvement of the College facilities to support all aspects of College life for our community. The yarning circle will provide not only additional seating and quiet space for our students and staff but will also be an additional learning space especially in celebrating and recognising our indigenous history.
As we continue to improve our College in a physical sense, all students are encouraged to continue to develop into the fine young men we are expecting.
Dominus Lux Mea
Mr Michael Ronchetti