I can report that I am now well and truly out of holiday mode and into work mode. I know that those new to our College often feed back to us that the College has a warm, welcoming feel to it. When you have been at the College for a while, it is sometimes hard to experience that welcome because it is around you all the time. One of the real surprises coming back on Monday was to experience that feeling as I moved around the College in the morning. It certainly was nice to experience students welcoming me back and asking about my holiday. It was nice that (a) they realised that I was actually away and (b) that they were comfortable and aware enough to say something to me. It is these small things that make me feel so proud of our College and fortunate that I have a chance to work here.
One of the things that enabled me to have such a good holiday was the knowledge that in my absence there were people who would take on the additional responsibilities so competently (and sadly I have to admit more effectively than I might do!). I would like to thank David Gardiner, Conor Finn, Dave Capra and Shane Koimans for their willingness to take on the added responsibility of acting in the respective roles of Principal, Deputy Principal, Dean of Formation and Head of Sport and Activities in my absence. It was great to know that the College didn’t miss a beat in my absence although a little disarming at times. I will try and take it as a compliment when I recall a former Principal I worked for, who always said that the real test of your effectiveness as a Principal is not how the school runs when you are there but rather how it runs when you are not there. I would like to acknowledge the work of David, Conor, Dave and Shane who did such a great job in my absence. Thank you.
What is important?
The world is certainly at an interesting stage at the moment particularly when you look at the political sphere we are experiencing. Whether here in Australia or over in the United States, the situation is puzzling. The question I find myself regularly pondering is how two such advanced countries can currently have such poor options for leadership. The fact that Donald Trump is still running for office given his appalling sexist attitudes to women in particular, and his general value system, is worrying. The values held by the other choice, Hilary Clinton, are also disappointing. With a population of over 300 million in the US, are these the best candidates they can offer as leaders of the most influential country in the world? Sadly, in Australia, we are experiencing a similar vacuum. Good credible visionary leaders, who we can see operate from a strong moral compass, are not plentiful on the ground in the political sphere.
Whilst it is not my intent to dwell on the political arena, I share this because it reinforces my commitment to ensuring that we strive to make sure that the education we provide students here at the College always aims at the quality of the person who will graduate from the College and not just the qualification that students will leave with. Don’t get me wrong. We are firmly focused on building a very strong academic culture at the College, where personal excellence is the goal of all students. This, along with an equally strong moral compass, will hold the keys to our students’ future directions. The world is already overloaded with ‘successful’ Donald Trumps. Our society is desperately in need of good, strong, moral leaders in all walks of life. Our hope is that our graduating students will be ‘leaders’ of our society who will certainly be energised to help make our society a better place for everyone and not just better for themselves.
This week I was thrilled to venture down to the Westcourt iCentre to celebrate a morning tea to launch the library staff initiative to support the “It’s in the Bag” Christmas campaign. Under the initiative of Anita Brink, our library staff have taken on the challenge to support this wonderful cause. This initiative rose from the reality that we often seem to remember and manage the needs of children at Christmas, ensuring they’re cared for and made to feel special. But the same can’t always be said for those women who put the needs of others before their own. As a part of the broader “Share the Dignity” charity we are asked to donate a handbag that is no longer used, fill it with items that would make a woman feel special and even pop a thoughtful note into the bag to show her that someone cares and that she matters.
Aimed at women who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in homeless shelters or domestic violence shelters, this campaign looks to care for those who typically care for others putting their loved ones ahead of themselves. I would seek your support to consider supporting Anita and the rest of the library staff in this great cause. You can help by donating a bag, pre-loved or new, and /or donating items such as deodorants, cleansing wipes, tissues, perfume, sanitary pads, tampons, soap, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrush, hair ties and hair brush, movie voucher, gift voucher, meal voucher, poncho, scarf, jewellery or trinket, lotions, creams, smelly stuff, book, socks and undies. This a great way for us to support the vulnerable in our society and show that we care. I would like to thank Anita and the rest of the library staff for their energy around this and for modelling to our students that we are all committed to the values that we as a community espouse. Anyone who would like to support this worthy cause can drop off bags or items at either Mt Sion or Westcourt iCentre or College Reception.
Jazz by the River
I am looking forward to this Saturday’s Jazz by the River celebration. This event has certainly become one of the College’s main community events where we get a chance to showcase the wonderful cultural life of the College. It promises to be another great afternoon and I look forward to seeing many of you there on Saturday.
With best wishes