Year 12 Renewal Reflections

Our Year 12 students recently returned from their House Renewal camps.

Renewals are an important component of the Religious Education program of the College. They provide an invaluable opportunity for the young men in Year 12 to spend time in personal reflection. It allows them to renew their body, mind and spirit by stepping out of their daily routine in a natural setting, participating in the Touchstone Renewal Program sessions and each camp’s unique set of engaging physical activities. The Renewals are also the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with their friends and teachers and in the process, energising themselves for the months of study that lie ahead. The students shared their gratitude with our Faith Development Coordinator, Ms Milverton, for planning the camps along with the House leaders and attending staff.

Reflections from each House Renewal


‘The activities were enjoyable, my personal favourite was the horse riding, they were eye opening and solemn. Made me feel good at the end of each of them.’

‘Really broad range of activities, which was super unique. Horse riding and canoeing was unique and fun.’

‘I really liked the personal level from the teachers to the students, and their life stories. Shows us they were once us too. I also liked the activities in groups, they were fun and got to talk to people I normally don't talk to.’

‘The liturgy was a decent one.’

‘I liked getting the notes from other students when opening our bag. They were all pretty enjoyable sessions.’

‘I liked looking at my future and thinking about my options.’


‘I liked the rock climbing and share your story. I found the rock climbing to be enjoyable and the sharing helped people open up to each other.’

‘The sessions were a good chance to get to know people you don’t normally talk to and I think a lot of people got something out of it.’

‘I enjoyed the sessions where the teachers told us about their past and their life experiences and also the one when we were in small groups talking.’

‘Most of the sessions felt engaging and respectful.’

‘The best was getting to know the teachers better. The best activity was the adventure race and I also enjoyed the movie night. Just being with friends for a few days was really good as well.’


‘The activities were very enjoyable we were able to complete activities that we may not feel comfortable with. I enjoyed all the activities that were undertaken and I enjoyed the time that we had and even the facilities we had available.’

‘They were all pretty decent the affirmations and the letters were the best.’

‘I enjoyed all the sessions. They all made everyone have a positive reflective time and gave everyone good memories with others.’

‘All the sessions were great, and very engaging. Sharing the memento would’ve been the best as it helped all open up, even for those who you wouldn’t know as well.

'I liked the trivia because it allowed all the students in each group to work together.’


‘The hiking and mountain bike riding were both very enjoyable as I found great pleasure in both the scenery and activities that I was engaging in.’

‘I enjoyed the sessions as they felt genuine and were structured quite well.’

‘I really enjoyed how everyone participated and no one judged anyone.’

‘I liked the parent letter most as I heard things I've never heard from my parents and liked writing back.’

‘The sessions were really great, I learned a lot about my group members and I could open up about myself.’

‘I enjoyed the slow and chill pace and bonding with my class mates as well as the sessions.’

Opening our hearts and minds on Edmund Rice Day

We began our Edmund Rice liturgy by lighting our first touchstones candle, Liberating education. Education is a basic need for all of humanity. Edmund Rice’s work rests largely on providing an education for the poorest children, those that without his help, would never have received. For many years, St Joseph’s has focused its efforts on providing an education for the children in Kensekka, Uganda. And on this day, we all shared in giving them a better life and future by raising the funds needed to sustain St Joseph’s Vocational School, a school built with love and compassion.

The feast day of Edmund Rice has been celebrated on May 5 since his beatification by Pope John Paul II in 1996. At that time the Pope spoke of Edmund as, "a shining example of the fruitfulness of the Christian Life”. Although we celebrated Edmund Rice day a week later this year, our commitment to honour him was stronger than ever.

Edmund Rice was a man who lived his life in service of others. Edmund’s real legacy was building a better world for though the gift of education. His heart and mind were open to allow himself to sacrifice his wealth in order to improve the lives of so many. If we ever need an example of someone living out our 2023 theme, to ‘open our hearts and minds to build a better world for all’, we can look to Edmund Rice.

This year our focus was on how Edmund Rice was many things. He was a loving son and friend of the poor, a widower, a caring father, a person of faith, a founder of religious foundations, a faithful teacher, and a person of his times. We then delved deeper into his many roles and explored the significant women that helped him create a better world for so many. Including Edmund’s mother Margaret Tierney, his wife Mary Elliott, his daughter Mary, Mary Power the wife of a wealthy corn merchant, Nano Nagle who courageously founded the first Irish Religious Order, the Presentation sisters, St Teresa of Avila and Mary, Mother of Jesus. 

Many people, particularly women, helped and inspired Edmund to live a life of service. A musical highlight of the liturgy was a performance by Deputy College Captain, Jesse Conroy’s original composition titled, ‘I Adore You’. We concluded with Mr Paatsch sharing a video message from Kensekka to reconnect us with Fr Emma, the families that we support and the difference we are making as he was present for the opening and blessing of the latest completed classroom building. Our ongoing support allows the legacy of Edmund Rice to continue to allow others most in need to access an education to empower them to flourish and live a sustainable life. The day’s celebrations continued with the cross country run, a variety of fun and engaging activities for all, concluding with a win to the teachers in a close game of Gaelic football.

Mother’s Day Breakfast

Jodie Warrick, our Community Engagement Coordinator, successfully planned our Mother’s Day Breakfast. 600 egg and bacon rolls were cooked up by our volunteer staff to welcome our 2023 Mother’s/Carers and Sons to our St Joseph’s Mother’s Day Breakfast. Our Acting Deputy Principal, Lisa Pope, welcomed and addressed the gathering before students lead the Acknowledgement of Country and prayer reflection. Our senior band proudly shared their talents playing a selection of musical pieces.

This year our theme is to, ‘Open our hearts and minds to build a better world for all.’ We know that the Mother figures in our lives do this, and we thanked them as they teach us to do the same. They support us to be young people who show compassion, empathy and gratitude, who go out into the world with their love and support to strive to be the best version of ourselves, who contribute to making a difference in our world.