Welcome to 2024. I am pleased to report that the experience of the first few days of school have been enormously positive for staff and students. I would also like to thank and acknowledge all families for your commitment to ensuring that students returned ready for the school year. While this is the first newsletter of the year, families should have received an earlier email communication prior to school commencing, in which I welcomed those staff and students new to the school, particularly those commencing in Year 7. I also introduced the College theme for this year “Let your light shine through service to others.”
In January, young School Leaders from EREA schools across the country gathered at St Patrick’s College Ballarat. Over 50 young people from 40 schools from every state and territory across Australia participated in the conference, the theme of which was “Voice and Agency”. The Young Leaders explored an understanding of leadership from a Gospel and Edmund Rice perspective, and the importance of justice, Reconciliation, advocacy, service and global engagement. St Joseph’s was represented by College Captain, Michael Ahearn. Michael addressed all Mt Sion students last week about this experience.
During the holiday break the basketball and handball court in our Year 7 precinct was upgraded to a synthetic grass surface featuring the Aboriginal flag. This idea was originally proposed by a group of our First Nations students. It is a great example of the power of student voice and advocacy and is in keeping with our commitment to deliver an inclusive safe and diverse culture as outlined in our strategic plan. The court looks magnificent and the colours mirror those of the College. In the first few days it has certainly been well received and well utilised by our Year 7 students.
In recent days, I was delighted to receive a copy of “The Josian”. The Josian was originally the annual magazine of the old collegians, first published in 1944. The College English and Arts staff have reimagined The Josian which is now a beautifully presented hardcopy journal showcasing outstanding works of art and literature from our students during 2023. This will be formally launched at an exhibition in the Pat Bourke Gallery later this month. Copies will be available after that date.
I am pleased to announce the creation of the “SJC Parent Network”. The aim of this group is to provide a strong connection between the College and the parent community. This group is a rebranded “Parents and Friends Association” with an emphasis on connection rather than fundraising. Our initial intention is to provide the opportunity for about eight gatherings per year to discuss any relevant issues and to share information between the school and community. The SJC Parent Network will also aim to host about three social events during the year to provide further networking opportunities. A member of the College Leadership team will be present at all meetings, providing attendees with access to the decision-makers within the College. I encourage all parents, but particularly those with students new to the College, to consider attending the SJC Parent Network gatherings.
At St Joseph’s, we have always taken pride in our capacity to support students achieving excellence. From the start of this year, we have been able to provide additional opportunities to enhance academic achievement through the provision of tutoring to senior students and an academic panel to monitor the achievement levels of senior students, and sporting achievement through high-performance training support with assistance from a Federation University trainer and researcher and discrete AFL and soccer (football) pathways. Our Music students continue to excel with the choral ensemble excellent in their first commitment for the year at the Westcourt Opening Mass last Friday.
The annual inter-house Athletics Carnival was held yesterday. With high levels of participation, many excellent results and an enjoyable atmosphere, it was a great day. This gives us confidence that our Athletics squad will be strong for the ACC Athletics Carnival in a few weeks.
Finally, college tours for families who are considering applying for a place at St Joseph’s in 2025 commence mid-March and bookings are being taken now via the College website. Please encourage families of upper primary age boys to book a tour. We expect demand to be high with steadily increasing demand from students in government independent and Catholic primary schools.