Many of you would be aware that the last few weeks have been extremely challenging with high teacher/staff absence due to illness. We are currently sitting close to 10 COVID cases often with 15-20 more teachers taking sick or carers leave on any given day. This is being extremely well managed by our operations team and I appreciate the fact that all staff are being called to do their bit to support those who are away unwell. I also feel our students are quite agile and resilient in this space and the skills that we learnt through remote learning has enabled the learning to continue whilst they or their teacher is absent.
Regardless of this we feel we have been able to provide all of our scheduled experiences this term all of which complement the teaching and learning. An example of this was our Year 8s participating in Year 8 Renewals from the Courage to Care team. The Courage to Care team share personal experiences from the Holocaust conveying the importance of being upstanders in our community. The students got to participate in other sessions focussing on mindfulness, respectful relationships and interfaith dialogue. This renewal compliments the learning in the Year 8 Religious Education curriculum.
We are excited to have 21 Year 10 and 11 students attending the Lake Mungo Immersion, leaving on June 20 for a week. Teachers, Ash Crook and Tania Willard along with the Red Earth Team will lead this immersion. This is the first time since COVID-19 that we have participated in an immersion and the first time we have visited The World Heritage Listed Willandra Lakes Region. Situated in South-West New South Wales, the 240,000-hectare site is home to a network of dried saltwater lake beds that provide incredible insight into the deep past of Australia. We wish this group a safe and meaningful experience.
Our students are all participating in exams this week and I thank families for helping them prepare and participate with a positive mindset. Students will be able to receive exam feedback in the final week of the term with many of our classes commencing Semester 2 units. Our staff will utilise the professional practice day on Friday 24 June to finalise Semester 1 reports that will become available for all families on Monday 27 June.
Our 2022 Annual Giving Campaign commenced this week and this initiative enables many of our students who are unable to afford an SJC education, the ability to attend and learn at St Joseph’s. Every gift, no matter the size, has a positive influence on our student's learning environment. It gives every student the opportunity to fulfil their personal potential, benefiting from the college community, learning environment and programs to “Strive for the Highest”.
I will hand back the Principal reins to Tony Paatsch at the end of the term and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to lead this great community as Acting Principal. I have felt very supported from the students, staff and families at the College and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I hope everyone enjoys the mid-year break and stays healthy and safe.