Our Opening Mass
Our community celebration last Tuesday where we formally opened 2020 and commissioned our Seniors was joyful, prayerful and true to who we are. I was delighted to see so many of our Year 12 parents and caregivers there to participate in ritual, sign and symbol. The structure of ritual and more specifically, the Catholic Mass is not necessarily something all young people are overly familiar with today. However, they rise powerfully to the occasion and the occasion is powerful as a result.
There is significant research which has found that young people have a deep thirst for spirituality and meaning.
I congratulate and thank Mr Matt Warr and our staff for the way in which they engage our students in accessible language and story which is relatable to and recognisable in the world in which they live. Our College Chaplain, Father John Gillen, who is a master teacher, is also so very skilled at this – we are indeed blessed. For me, the most telling moments were the silent ones during the ritual of the Senior tie and Mum, Dad or significant adult being with the individual young man in that moment. This ritual has no words and yet says so much. It was a privilege to witness this sacred signpost moment.
On a personal note, I was profoundly moved by the ritual facilitated to commission me as College Principal. The beautiful woodwork symbols of Saint Joseph’s carpenter’s hammer and the ATC pillars and celtic cross crafted by Mr Sean Smith and Mr Richard Bradford sit proudly in my office and will be passed from ATC Principal to new ATC Principal for generations to come. I was thrilled to be presented with the hammer from Mr Michael Senior as ATC is the house that Mike built!
I also greatly enjoyed the gift of an ATC First XI cricket cap from Charlie as even though I haven’t yet earned it, it has given me something to aspire to! Finally, I think everyone present loved seeing Year 4 boy Billy, strut his smile across the stage to present me with Obi Wan’s lightsabre as a symbol of the light of leadership. Billy has a joyful smile and we have had the opportunity to catch up numerous times since then and his gift will forever be coupled with his smile in my memory and indeed is a reminder to be joy-filled, hopeful and optimistic as Principal of ATC.
Towards five hundred parents gathered at the College on Saturday evening for some friend raising time. Thank you to the Parents and Friends team who facilitated this successful event and congratulations to the winner of the raffle, Mrs Sandy Nasagavesi. Along with our Working Bee, Year 4 and Year 7 Welcome Picnics and other upcoming smaller year level parent social events there are numerous opportunities to connect with one another in building up community and support for families. Thank you also to our Care and Concern arm of the Parents and Friends who reach out to families in need within our ATCommunity and all other very active expressions of parental engagement within the College. We are most fortunate.
Safety on our internal roads
A reminder to everyone to please be particularly mindful whilst driving on campus. Please follow the relevant road systems, stay on the correct side of the road and be patient when the system is congested; especially in wet weather.
I have noticed a significant amount of traffic coming up to the central round- about in front of the Edmund Rice Building. It would be preferred if this could be kept to a minimum please. We are now a community of 1300 students and keeping traffic in student populated areas to a minimum will be a point of review for us going forward. Thank you for your support on this important matter.
Strategic Plan 2020-2022
The third priority of our College 2020-2022 Strategic Plan is Partnerships and Sustainability.
At the core of our learning, leadership and service culture is the partnership between students, staff and parents. As I have said at our parent information evenings, this is a sacred partnership and these relationships are central to our success as a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition. We will continue to place and prize this partnership at the heart of the life of the College.
In 2020, we have launched two new partnerships which are key to the sustainability of the College. The first is our relationship with the Clontarf Foundation. The Clontarf Foundation exists to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so equips them to participate meaningfully in society. This organisation was established in 2000 and has achieved marked success in their aims through school partnerships throughout Australia. This year, we are pleased to welcome Mr Damien Zammit who is leading our Clontarf program based at the College working with our students. He joins Mr Brett Greinke in forming the leadership and support team under Mr Matt Warr’s care and the wider Formation, Learning and teaching teams. We believe that this innovation will see our commitment to recognition and reconciliation be consolidated and grow as a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition.
The other important new partnership for the College is as an associate member of the Greater Brisbane Conference for Sport (GBC). We held a Sport Forum (the slides from this evening are available on the College APP and I encourage parents in attendance to inform parents who were unable to attend about the content of the evening as we had the opportunity to answer many questions from within the community) at the College during last week and I attended the Principal and Director of Sport 2020 launch meeting last Friday along with Mr Nathan Burgess for the first time. Members of the Firsts Volleyball team joined us for an Ecumenical Service at Redeemer College to mark the launch of the year and we enjoyed our first round of competition against Faith Lutheran Plainlands College on the weekend. This partnership will complement and enhance our existing offerings and importantly, in partnership with Brigidine College, we will compete in inter-school championship competitions under the GBC banner in swimming, cross country and athletics along with other specialist sports.
I thank Mr Brendan Cahill, Principal of Brigidine College and their community for partnering with us in this way. This offering provides our first ‘macro’ opportunity to compete as a wider school community as one entity in championship marquee events. As a growing school, our capacity to form this partnership and relationships with a wide range of Colleges, schools, clubs and competitions is necessarily creative and dynamic as we forge our presence, reputation and capability in this important domain of experience in a school for boys. Strategically, the College is committed to continuing to grow opportunities for our students to have a wide range of opportunities in sport from the experiential and developmental through to advanced competitive fixtures and competitions.
We continue to be a growing school in number but at this stage of our development we are growing more in the sense of consolidating and enhancing our practices, our existing partnerships and our culture and identity in all domains of College life; mission, learning, formation, co-curricular and stewardship. This next five years is as, if not more, important in our growth as our first five years. The College Strategic Plan for the next three years and subsequent operational plans of the College Leadership Team for each year will guide and inform our actions and decision making.
Our primary partnership as an expression of the Catholic Church was on show on Sunday evening as members of the ATCommunity gathered as members of our Parish at St Ignatius, Toowong for Mass. Thank you to our singers and musicians and all students, parents and staff who joined us.