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Believe, Build, Become and Belong! The Call from our 2021 Leaders

When Blessed Edmund Rice founded his first school in a renovated horse stable in New Street, Waterford in the 1790s, there were several core elements to his educational approach. Each boy was given his own tailored suit to ensure his dignity and that he would be known publicly as one of ‘Mr Rice’s’ students and it was the tradition that bread baking was taught and the boys would go out into the streets to distribute it amongst those most in need.

Service Assemblies

When I am speaking to families thinking about sending their son to ATC, one of the things of which I am most proud to tell them is that service is important enough within our community that it appears on our student report cards. More importantly, I like the fact that our opportunities for service are invitations rather than directives; each boy is encouraged and invited to contribute in a way that is workable and achievable for he and his family in an age appropriate way and with plenty of creative options.

ATC boys giving a guided tour of ATC to Montessori students.

The student response to the invitation to serve during this very different year has been marvellous. To be able to record thousands of hours of being for others while we are busy worrying about ourselves says something very positive about our boys, our families, and our school community. It will be a joy this week to recognise the young men in our Junior, Middle and Senior schools who have contributed strongly in their commitment to the ATC pillar of Service. Congratulations and well done to all students who will receive Bronze, Silver or Gold awards for Service on our assemblies this week.

We look forward to sharing an online version of these assemblies so that families can share this Good News story with grandparents, friends, and neighbours about their caring and generous son. Well done to everyone who responded to the ATC invitation to serve in 2020 and thank you to Mr Matt Warr, Mr Andrew McCrohon and Mrs Helen Hicks for their leadership of all of our service projects and all parents and staff who assisted, encouraged, recorded and supported.

Year 11 Leadership

In 2020, our Year 12 group have called on the boys of ATC to “Look Good, Feel Good and Do Good”. Over the past week, the Seniors of 2021 have begun to take up the baton of leadership as our present Seniors work hard on their exams. College Captain for 2021, Charlie Neumann and his team have unveiled their motto of Belong. The team has mapped out a plan for the year ahead with the mantra Believe for this term followed by Build, Become, and finally Belong. Charlie spoke to all students and I admired and respected his very first call to arms as he asked the students of ATC to do a very simple thing – to feel like you Belong at ATC. Charlie’s challenge for the next week is for boys to introduce themselves to two people they do not know and learn their name! So simple! But also, so difficult!

The world would indeed be a better place if our leaders cared about relationships as much as Charlie and our students take up his call. Again, in a similar vein to our Service Program, I was pleased when I heard Charlie extend this challenge as Blessed Edmund Rice used to stand at the entrance of his school in New Street Waterford, and later at his first big school called Mt Sion and greet each boy by his christian name and shake him by the hand. Both simple actions were socially unusual in 1790s Ireland and say much about why Edmund’s initial educational projects were so successful. A call to know each other by name is a humble and strong start from Charlie and his team and we wish them well.

In the Playground

Week 5 sees us come into the second half of Term 4 in what has been a huge year. Understandably, some of the boys are getting tired and that can be when the mistakes creep in. I am concerned about rough housing that can happen in the playground and on the ovals that can lead to injuries. Last week, we had some visits from paramedics from situations where safety came second when play was overdone or when trying to solve a problem or disagreement.

Mr Finn and our Formation Leaders have certainly shared the view with the boys, mainly in the Junior and Middle Schools, that safety is paramount in the playground. We have a wonderful site where there is plenty of room to run, play games and enjoy the break times but positive choices and responsible actions are important. Thank you for your support at home in reminding your son of these safety responsibilities.

Years 11 & 12

Our Year 12 students enter their second week of external exams with two and half weeks to go before Valedictory celebrations. The shape of the year, even without COVID is certainly different. Many subjects for our Year 11 students have commenced their first unit of Year 12 work this term that counts towards their final outcomes – this is a significant shift. We look forward to the Year 12 2021 Parent Information Night being held on Thursday 5 November, where the key note speakers will be Mr Matt Warr sharing the wonderful experience that is ‘Year 12 Claddagh Retreat’ and Ms Lara Morgan and Mr Conor Finn who will speak with parents about key studies and Formation matters.

God bless.

Chris Ryan