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Asking the Deep Questions

14,000 reasons why the world is a little better.

It is a funny world we live in and the level of unpredictability is ever increasing. Whilst there is often talk of the old days and how hard things were in ‘my day’; the reality I see is the world today is a lot harder to navigate. For young people growing up, life is a lot more complex and I feel that they need more than ever to be people who can look out and see what the world really is ‘saying’ to them.

Last week we celebrated our Service Awards. As a result of our students giving, I am proud to report that there were 14,000 hours of assistance, support and service to those other than our students. 14,000 reasons why perhaps the world is a little better than it could be. Whilst it is not world changing, it is a step in the right direction.

With the responsibility of helping parents journey with their children’s development in this new emerging world, schools have an important role to play. At Ambrose Treacy College we take that responsibility seriously. As a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition we have a particular lens through which we also see this role.

Charism’ is one of those unusual words that is not a common word and it is not easy to define. When you google a meaning for it you may see a definition like – “A charism can be defined as a gift of the Spirit, given to a person in a specific historical context, so that this person can initiate an experience of faith that might in some way be useful to the life of the Church.” For me this translates to the calling that we have been given through the inspiration that we have with the story and example of Jesus and Edmund Rice. At this conference Dr. Wayne Tinsey, our Executive Director of Edmund Rice Education Australia reminded us of this challenge that our charism calls us to. In his opening address to the EREBB Congress he said in part:

“The charism we share demands that we teach our young to ask deep questions of their world, not simply inhabit it. The education we offer must challenge versions of the world that define success solely in terms of money, accumulation of things and over-emphasis on status and security. It must equip young people to critique their culture and its version of the good, the well lived, the important and the meaningful life. Our charism entreats us to form students to know that the liberty and freedom that they will hopefully enjoy is not merely a license to do whatever they want; but rather, it is the freedom to do what they ought to do for the making of a more just and equitable world. Yes friends, ours is a charism that makes bold claims about the way that human beings should engage in our world. It calls us to speak for the voiceless and those who are excluded, about justice, about the way in which we are expected to relate to one another, about the dignity of every human life and about liberation for the disenfranchised.”

Dr Wayne Tinsey EREBB Conference, Kolkota

It is this challenge that will continue to drive our direction here at the College to form young men who will walk confidently into a future and it is this challenge that reminds us that we need to be creating leaders of tomorrow that need to embrace a responsibility to be outward looking and reaching rather than inwardly directed and collecting.

ATC Foundation

Last Saturday we held the launch of the Ambrose Treacy College Foundation. The ATC Foundation has been set up with a simple focus to support the College as it strives to be an inclusive community and to extend the opportunity of a quality education beyond those who can afford this education. In much the same way as Edmund Rice started his first school in Waterford in Ireland to liberate the poor young boys trapped in a cycle of poverty with an education, here at ATC we hope to be able to extend the opportunity of a liberating education to a wider base of young men who would not be able to avail themselves of this educational opportunity. The aim is not to be able to solve society’s wider problems nor is it to be a solution to everyone’s journey, rather it is a small step to being a part of a solution rather than being a part of the problem.

The aim of any Foundation is to raise funds. In our case we look to people who feel that they may be in a position to assist us. Next year we will look to invite members of the ATC community, to Old Boys and families of Nudgee Junior Community and to the wider community to consider if they would be in a position to and would like to spread the work we do here at the College to those not necessarily in the financial position to access this education. Edmund Rice talked about breaking a cycle that these students found themselves in and we would hope that for these young men and their families we could offer them that notion of a liberating education that did unshackle them from their particular situation and importantly empowered them to be not only agents of change for themselves but for those around them as well.

I am pleased to share with you the appointment of Luke Ingham-Myers as the founding Chairperson of the ATC Foundation. Luke is a former student and parent of Nudgee Junior College. Luke’s father and three brothers were beneficiaries of an education here on this campus, and he is very passionate about the role he has taken on to lead this important challenge. The Foundation has discerned a ‘softer’ approach to its fund raising endeavours and we will not be going down the path of the harder sell that is often associated with Foundations. This does not equate to a lesser determination, but rather we feel that we understand that not everyone is in a position to give large amounts of money to this cause. Our approach will be to share our story and aims and to ask our community to look at how they can be a part of a solution for these families who could benefit from this opportunity.

Year Book

At the end of next week our 2016 College Year Book will be distributed to the oldest boy in each family to take home. From a sneak preview of this year’s Year Book I feel that it has definitely captured the spirit of 2016 and conveys some of the warmth that is so characteristic of our community. Once again this year, Rhonnie Sparksman, our College Communications Officer, has taken responsibility for this important publication and I would like to congratulate her and her team on the quality and ‘feel’ of the book. The Year Book records the events, milestones and achievements at the College for history to be relived in future generations. The cost for one copy of the Year Book for each family has been included in our College school fee structure. Should any family like a second copy of the yearbook, a copy can be purchased for $25. Orders can be placed at College Reception.

P&F Christmas Staff Lunch

Over the last ten years the parents of Nudgee Junior and Ambrose Treacy College have put on a lunch for the staff of the College to express their thanks to them for the care they have extended to their sons over the past twelve months. Whilst never asked for, I know that the staff have always appreciated this thoughtful gesture. The P&F have expressed their strong desire to continue this tradition. To assist the P&F and share the workload away from just a few, I would ask any parent who felt that they had a couple of hours to assist with serving and cleaning up afterwards on Thursday 1 December to please click here to see how you can help. The old saying that many hands make light work certainly holds true here.

With best wishes,
Michael Senior