This is the final formal newsletter of 2021, although there will be some additional communication to families prior to the end of the year acknowledging staff movements and advising of our VCE results. May I take this opportunity to thank those of you who have read or listened to the newsletters throughout the year. I hope you have found them informative.
Last week the St Joseph’s College Foundation held a function to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its formation. The Foundation has helped fund building projects and provided funds for bursaries to fully or partly fund the fees of families suffering financial challenges. Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University, Prof Iain Martin was guest of honour at the function and formally announced that Deakin has committed to providing five additional students with a full fee bursary for the duration of their six years study at St Joseph’s. At the start of 2022, five young men will commence their journey at St Joseph’s that we hope will culminate in a life of enhanced opportunity for them.
St Joseph’s is the major school provider of undergraduate students to Deakin University and I was delighted to have the opportunity to respond to this announcement thanking Deakin for their generosity. It is clear that St Joseph’s and Deakin share a commitment to provide opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Tomorrow night our Year 12 students and families will gather for the Valedictory Dinner. Much has been said and written about the impact of the last two years on our students and arguably, they have been the group most affected by the events of that time. I would like to share my final remarks to the class of 2021:
Dutch theologian Henri Nouwen said “we find the presence of God through service” and he spoke about the importance of responding to everyone, particularly those in need, with kindness. Your experience at St Joseph’s has provided ample opportunity for you to practice the presence of God through service. Nevermore so than during the last two years.
The sad reality is that you are better equipped for your future because of the hardships you’ve been through. As the author Christina Engela writes, “You are strong, tempered like steel in the fire and by the blows of the hammer of life. Nothing will break you again, only make you stronger and more whole”.
The events of 2020 and 2021 have made us stronger and more resilient and more flexible, we are more aware of the needs of others, we are more attuned to helping them and we are more prepared to ask for and accept help when we are in need.
You are wonderful young men, you are enormously capable, your ATAR, your apprenticeship, your bank balance won’t define your success as a man. Your commitment to others will.
Your families and your teachers expect great things of you as the Joey’s class of 2021. We salute your collective and individual achievements and we wish you well. We thank you for your time at St Joseph’s. Be assured of a warm welcome as old collegians. Visit often and stay in touch.
In the last weeks of 2021, we have started to see a return to normality at school. We look forward to 2022 being largely free of major restrictions freeing us to conduct schooling in the best possible way to maximise learning.
The successes of this year have only been possible through the close cooperation of families with the College. I would like to record my thanks to all our parents and carers for your support of the school through the challenges of the year. I wish every family a safe and happy Christmas and the blessings of the peace and joy of Christmas as we celebrate the presence of the Christ child in our lives.