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A Letter from the Assistant Dean of Formation

Dear ATC Community,

My hope as the Assistant Dean of Formation, is that I assist our students to become the very best version of themselves through optimal growth and reaching personal potential. What that looks like around the grounds is: working with Formation Leaders to monitor the mental health and wellbeing of students; connecting with teachers and families; and helping acclimate students to the ATC life. It is incredibly rewarding and challenging with each day being same, however, very different from the next. What I see is the everyday successes and tribulations of our ATC gentlemen – how they learn and grow with the hope that they are formed as a Man of Courage. I am privileged to serve and focus my leadership on creating a healthy, safe, and inclusive community to maximise the potential of your son/s. Part of this privilege is to work alongside a committed Formation Team, who consistently have a relational and compassionate approach towards your sons.

As part of a diverse community – in and outside the College – we recognise that everyone is different. This difference is a pivotal aspect of our Formation, through both the explicit nature of the Formation Curriculum, and the embedded values that are engrained in everything we do and say as part of our charism. To empower this ethos, we weave the collective wisdom of the Year 12 Senior Leadership Team through their vision for all to ‘Belong’, whilst working in collaboration with the Formation Team to develop a relevant, earthy, and challenging Formation Curriculum. This task requires continual renewal, research for contemporary and emerging paradigms, partnership with our students regarding current trends, as well as a love for seeing our boys thrive. We are presently making some renewal changes which I would like to take this opportunity to share with our families.

Rites of Passage

For each of our three Schools, we are guided by the strength and values of the College Pillars. For Junior School, the Book which resembles learning and knowledge; Middle School is the Cross where Jesus guides us as servant leaders for others; and Senior School where the Star calls us to be leaders. We find these all on our College Crest, as well as the badges that sit upon the lapels of our suit coats.

In addition, this year, we have introduced the concept of The Courage Knot. This is based on the Celtic ‘Dara Knot’. ‘Dara’ comes from the word ‘doire’, which is Celtic for ‘oak tree’. Oaks were the most blessed of trees to the Celts. The design of the knot symbol is based on the root system of the oak tree. Oaks symbolise strong, powerful, and insightful characteristics, such as wisdom, leadership, knowledge, and endurance.

The Dara Knot served a purpose, providing strength to the Celts during tough times. And so too we acknowledge that the Middle School journey is a difficult time where boys develop quickly and are faced with many obstacles, none more difficult than that the masking challenge of who they choose to become and where they fit in the social constructs.

The Courage Knot has a select set of values embedded within the interwinding loops. Each of the three-year levels have four values that Formation Leaders and Home Room Teachers explore with the boys across the course of the year. These values have been drawn from the

Men of Courage framework, which is the foundation that guides our words and actions. The interwinding loops represents the continual, and lifelong journey as learners and we have been intentional with the four house colours as we transition the Middle School boys to the Senior School. Finally, ATC recognises the respectful relationship between Student, Family, Community and Staff that binds the College together. The boys will engage in several rites of passage this year, with the hope that through these experiences, we build the capacity of our young men to rise to the challenge of the grind that is life. Afterall, life is a marathon – not a sprint.

Our Formation Curriculum

We are fortunate this year to have not only home room time to build more meaningful relationships, but we are also gifted with an extra assembly time each Friday. This time creates opportunity for Formation Leaders to work with the boys to develop their agency across various life-skill components. From social-emotional, personal wellbeing and current social trends to academic performance, rites of passage, competition and development of year level/house initiatives, the boys are exposed to diverse learning experiences which empowers them to be greater drivers of positive change for the future. In addition to this, your son/s connect with their Formation Teachers each week for their Formation Curriculum lesson.

Each year level has its own unique Formation Curriculum which is tailored to the specific time of growth and development for that age group. The overarching banner for our curriculum is Respectful Relationships’ – relationship with self, peers, others, health, learning, community and so on. The three sub-sections where we categorise the learning opportunities are ‘Men of Courage Values’, ‘College Pillars’ and ‘Wellbeing’. It looks like the graphic below and all our learning can generally be characterised under these sections. As ‘formation’ is about forming the whole student, it is crucial that education opportunities are diverse in nature, therefore allowing students to upskill their weaknesses and fine-tune their strengths. It is our hope that all boys may find knowledge and growth through our Formation Curriculum with an understanding that our world is continually evolving, and so too must we evolve with it if we are to keep up with the busy nature that is life.

ATC is an exceptional community. As our boys develop with their decision-making throughout their schooling, we will work in partnership with them on their journey, offering positively transformative results. But there may be challenges – unexpected or predictable – that will test their resolve – and yours. Trust the shared wisdom, the judgement you have helped form and the character they possess. These qualities will guide your son throughout the years ahead as they build, become, and belong in this strong community of faith and learning at ATC.

Regards

Brendan Flanagan
Assistant Dean of Formation

Celebrating 200 Years of Catholic Education