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An Example Worth Following

“Being a mother means that your heart is no longer yours; it wanders wherever your children do.” Author Unknown
I know many of you may not be surprised when I say that I have a casual interest in photography. Photographs are powerful in that I believe that they can capture so much in a single snap – they can be powerful in their simplicity and they can say so much without any words being said.

Mothers’ Day

On wondering what I could write for this newsletter I turned to the internet and just ‘cruised’ through the images that Google gave me on the search of the word mother. As you can imagine there was literally thousands of photos that captured so much of what it is to be a mother but one captured my attention. It spoke so much to me and I know that so much of who we will become lies in the love that we carry with us and so much of this comes unconditionally from our mothers.

Abraham Lincoln is often quoted about the influence his mother had on him. He is quoted as saying “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” and “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” In a touch of reality perhaps some mothers can more readily connect with Peter De Vries words – “A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.”

To all our mothers I would like to extend a sincere hope that this Sunday proves to be a special day for you all. Mothers’ Day is a time for us to recognise and celebrate the contribution of all mothers to our lives. Many aspects of today’s society are commercialized and Mother’s Day is sadly no different. Despite this obvious slant it is wonderful that we can celebrate a day that epitomizes the concept of love. To all of our mothers I hope that Sunday is a great family day and it is a day for the rest of us to say a big thank you for your unconditional love, your support and your understanding through thick and thin. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Martin Bradshaw and his band of helpers for their work to organise the Mothers’ Day Breakfast for this Friday and to Diana Taylor and her committed team of helpers, who have helped organise this year’s Mother’s day stall being held tomorrow.

Community Mass

This term’s Community Mass will be held on Saturday evening commencing at 5.30pm in the College Chapel. I would like to extend an invitation to all members of the community to join us.

Edmund Rice Day

Ambrose Treacy College is proudly a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition and it shares its roots with over 40 other schools across Australia. May 5th is a day we celebrate Edmund Rice’s Feast Day. Edmund’s Feast Day is an opportunity to celebrate his influence on our schools, reflect on our legacy and to creatively look at new ways of ensuring that the charism is lived authentically today. It is an opportunity to be thankful for our gifts and resources and to actively use them to be a voice for those who are most marginalised in our world. On 5th May, as we celebrate our founding legacy, we remember and recall that Edmund Rice believed in the intrinsic right of children to not just have education, but to have the basic needs required to live a life of dignity.

Edmund Rice was born in the town of Westcourt near the village of Callan in County Kilkenny in the south east of Ireland on 1 June 1762. The Ireland of Edmund’s day was an unjust place where many lived in poverty and social structures deeply oppressed the majority of the population. In 1802 he set up a free school for boys living in poverty. His aim was to promote an education that recognised the dignity of each individual and empowering them with an education which would enable them to rise from the demeaning poverty and sense of hopelessness in which they were trapped. Edmund sought to liberate individuals and to free his society from oppression.

This Friday we celebrate Blessed Edmund Rice’s life with the celebration of a school liturgy that focuses on his life, the Christian Brothers’ work in schools and ministries today and our role in authentically carrying forward his charism in our schools.

O God, we thank you for the life of Edmund Rice.
He opened his heart to Christ present in those oppressed by poverty and injustice.
May we follow his example of faith and generosity.
Grant us the courage and compassion of Edmund as we seek to live lives of love and service.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

NAPLAN

On Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 May, students across Australia in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will take part in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, or NAPLAN, as it is commonly known. The skills that will be tested include: reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy. These tests are done here at school and are considered just another part of the curriculum. It is important for you and your child to know that NAPLAN is not a pass/fail test. It simply looks at what level students are achieving in literacy and numeracy against National Standards and compared with student peers throughout Australia. Authorities would state that NAPLAN cannot be studied for and students are not expected to do so.

The best way you can help your child prepare for NAPLAN is to let them know that it is just a routine part of their school program, and to urge them to do the best they can on the day. Here at the College we value the data that NAPLAN provides to inform on a student’s progress. We agree that NAPLAN should not be taught to, it is not a curriculum and is not the most important test a student will sit for. We have adopted a philosophy that we will prepare our students for the test by making them familiar with the testing format and style of questions that will be used. I hope that no one misreads my comments here – I am not saying that NAPLAN is not important, it is a valuable diagnostic tool that provides excellent information for students, teachers and parents alike. What I am saying is that contrary to what some other schools may decide, we will not close down our curriculum and learning plans to focus solely on NAPLAN so that the publicised results for the school can be viewed in their best light. We value NAPLAN, we prepare our students to be familiar with the demands so they can do their very best on the day just the same as we would expect them to do in every piece of assessment they do.

With best wishes,
Michael Senior