For me it is the spectacle that draws athletes from so many nations, big and small, from around the world together to compete that captures my imagination. You have athletes like Michael Phelps who have done everything and in many ways they are larger than life and you also have athletes from small countries that many of us have never heard about and for them just making the Olympics and representing their country is all that matters; the fact that they will finish so far behind the ‘winners’ does not make them losers. In many ways the Olympics are very much a snap shot of life and we can learn so much from it.
It is interesting that the original Olympic motto is Citius—Altius—Fortius, which is Latin for “faster, higher, stronger.” The motto has been with the Games from the foundation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894. It was proposed by the father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, who got it from a speech given by a friend of his, Henri Didon, a Dominican priest and principal of an academy that used sports as part of its educational program. The intended meaning is that one’s focus should be on bettering one’s achievements, rather than on coming in first. This original meaning is lost for some in that winning has become the sole focus. It is incredible that for some a silver medal can mean so little.
Similarly the values of excellence, friendship and respect are the foundation upon which the Olympic Movement brings together sport and culture. These three core values of the Olympic Movement, which are an inspiration both at individual and organisational levels, can be defined as follows:
Excellence – To give one’s best, on the field of play or in life. It is not only about winning, but also about participating, making progress against personal goals, striving to be and to do our best in our daily lives.
Friendship – To build a peaceful and better world thanks to sport, through solidarity, team spirit, joy and optimism. To consider sport as a tool for mutual understanding among individuals and people from all over the world, despite the differences.
Respect – To respect oneself, one’s body, to respect others, as well as rules and regulations, to respect the environment. In relation to sport, respect stands for fair play and for the fight against doping or any other unethical behaviour.
These three core values are conveyed through the Olympic symbols. The motto embodies excellence by encouraging athletes to strive to do their best. The flame symbolises friendship between people with the torch relay usually travelling through different countries in the world. The rings represent respect, bringing all nations and all five continents together without discrimination. The principles shown are universality and humanism.
With so much emphasis on winning and losing, popularity and competition in today’s world I wonder if the youth of today are even aware of what the intent of the Olympic Games is about. Maybe rather than being critical of the youth of today we should look at what we are doing to be counter cultural to the seduction that today’s world brings in its push button instant gratification emphasis. I think that we all have an opportunity to be agents of change and often we need to see the opportunity to put a different point of view up or do we just shrug our shoulders and say we can’t win and it is all too hard. My suggestion is that forming the youth of today it is far too important to simply give up and give in to the seduction of a society that really values nothing but only cherishes things.
Celebrate Learning Week
Tuesday was an opportunity for us to celebrate the fun of learning in our Celebrate Learning Week. One of the aims of the day was quite simple to have some fun learning something new. Quite often fun and learning do not go hand in hand and the day was an opportunity to experience something new and to know that learning can take place in a variety of different ways. The success of the day is dependent on the commitment of our staff to investigate a wide variety of activities across all subject disciplines and I am grateful that so many of our staff offered so many different learning options.
Catholic Colleges Music Festival
This week the Catholic Colleges Music Festival is on again and it marks the busiest music week for the school year. The Festival is in its 26th year and it provides a wonderful opportunity for boys and girls from Catholic Schools all around Queensland to come together in a spirit of healthy competition. In an all-boys school it is great to see so many boys thrive in an environment that genuinely accepts music as an integral part of the school community. This year we will have over 300 boys performing in 20 different choral and instrumental performances over the four day Festival. I would like to wish all of our boys all the very best as they prepare for their performances and thank all of our dedicated staff who have given the boys the opportunity to live out their dreams.
Whilst we will always hope that everything runs to plan, life shows us that sometimes not everything is perfect. One of the real successes of Ambrose Treacy College has been the presentation of our new uniforms. No matter where we go our new uniforms both in our day uniforms and our various sport uniforms, the boys always attract compliments. In general we have been very happy with the quality of our uniforms from our suppliers. When something is not up to scratch, it is always good to be kept in the loop rather than kept in the dark. I would record my appreciation to the parents who have brought to my attention a few concerns with the quality of our socks both in our day uniform and our HPE sports socks. We have raised these concerns with both our suppliers and I am pleased to be able to advise parents that we can initially address the concerns regarding our long grey day socks. Specifically parents have indicated a concern with the binding of the green, blue and white banding at the top of the socks where holes have appeared between the various bands of colour. Dobsons, our day uniform suppliers, have indicated that any socks with these holes in the top banding will be immediately replaced. Socks can be returned to our distributors, the School Locker at Oxley, where they will be replaced free of charge. I would like to apologise for the inconvenience that this problem has caused and thank Dobsons for their prompt response to this issue. As always I would encourage parents to alert us to any problem that they may identify. I would hope that most parents would experience our willingness to investigate matters that parents identify, and where appropriate provide parents with either a solution to the concern raised or an explanation for what has happened.
End of term staff arrangements
As previously advised I will be taking some long service leave at the end of this term. The pace of life since the opening of ATC over 18 months ago has been pretty constant, and I have decided that a quick short break will be beneficial for both me and my family, before we wind up again for next year and another large building program. I will be taking leave from Friday week for the rest of the term. I will return back to work at the start of the second week of term 4 after attending an International Edmund Rice School Congress in Kolkata India. In my absence a number of staff adjustments will be made to cover my absence and I would like thank the various staff for their willingness to take on added responsibilities to ensure a seamless operation of the College. In my absence the following staff changes have been put in place:
• David Gardiner will be Acting Principal
• Conor Finn will be Acting Deputy Principal
• Dave Capra will be Acting Dean of Formation
• Shane Koimans will be Acting Head of Sport and Activities
I would ask you all to keep Flynn Loechel (Year 8 Nolan) and his family in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of Flynn’s maternal grandmother. We hope the journey in the upcoming weeks can be gentle as they grieve and celebrate the gifts that his grandmother brought to their lives. May eternal rest grant unto her O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon her, may she rest in peace Amen.
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With best wishes,