Principal's Video Blog - Issue 10 2022

Welcome back to Semester Two. While I was away during last term, I kept up with all the College news through social media, newsletters and other communications and it was clear that the College was thriving in the face of many challenges. I’d like to thank Mark Kennedy for his leadership during this time, the other members of the College Leadership team who accepted additional duties and the staff for their conspicuous commitment to supporting each other and to maintaining a productive learning environment for all students.

During my renewal leave, I explored the life and work of St Mary MacKillop and deepened my understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and issues. While this is not the forum for an in-depth discussion of either topic I would offer the following reflections.

The life of St Mary MacKillop provides a wonderful example of the importance of discerning those elements of our faith tradition that are authentic and must be maintained and those that are not and should be challenged. Her story also serves as a reminder that we must sometimes be prepared to stand up to those in authority when that authority is based on status rather than wisdom and truth.

The issues impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities are incredibly complex. We are making very slow progress toward equality for all Australians. The key to continued and more rapid progress lies in the education of our entire population, particularly our young people who have the power to drive the changes needed.

The College navigated Term 2 without the need for any groups to revert to remote learning. As has been widely reported in the press, the current ‘wave’ of COVID-19 infection is expected to reach its peak sometime during this term. We will continue to do all that we can to keep everyone safe and continue to provide face to face teaching and learning. Thank you for all you have done to assist us in this endeavour by following all requests and directions regarding attendance at school and taking every possible precaution to minimize infection and transmission.

Thank you to all who contributed to the consultation phase of our new strategic plan. The document is now in its final stages of drafting and will go before the College Advisory Council in August for final ratification.

We are proud to maintain a school environment in which the safety of all students is paramount. Please find attached to this newsletter a document that provides the latest information on changes to the Victorian Child Safe standards which have been implemented in the College from July 1 this year.

I would like to congratulate one of the more remarkable members of our community on a significant milestone. Fr. Peter Foley graduated from St Joseph’s in 1954 and celebrates the Diamond Jubilee (60 years.) of his priestly ordination this week. A former College Captain and McNeill Cup Winner Fr Peter has been a great supporter of St Joseph’s over decades. Our strong connection to Uganda is in no small part due to Fr Peter's vision and leadership.

Finally speaking of Uganda, Parish Priest of Mannya, Fr. Emma, has been in contact. He asked that I pass on to everyone in our community the enormous gratitude of the community at St Joseph’s Vocational Secondary School Kensekka. Our support has enabled them to finish building a second classroom block which is now complete and ready to be occupied. The funds for this came from both the Parents and Friends Fashion Dinner and student donations on Edmund Rice Day.

God Bless