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Fear Not, the Holidays are on the Horizon

I have been in contact with Mr Ray Celegato, the Principal of St Edmund’s College, Ipswich during the last week to offer our support and prayers during their COVID related spot closure and he has been most appreciative. He and his team have managed their process very well and it will be very helpful to gain insights into what they have learned through the process.

For now, we pray for the speedy recovery for the student at St Edmund’s and all those involved. St Edmund’s re-opened today which is good news. I again thank our wonderful staff for their leadership as we have been ready to act in recent weeks and our families for your excellent communication and cooperation. Hopefully not, but our turn may come one day!

Our Year 11 and 12 students return to classes on Thursday and Friday of this week after their exam period. As I flagged last week, it will take some time for us all to get used to the new rhythm that the new senior schooling model brings. For Year 12 students, Thursday and Friday morning are an opportunity for feedback and reflection on the mock process in readiness for the upcoming external exams. As the day progresses on Friday, Junior School students will compete in the Inter-house Sports Carnival and Middle and Senior School students will enjoy their Inter-house Cross Country. Senior School students will then prepare for the Inter-house Lip Sync Battle. The performances will be held after lunch with Years 10 to 12 in attendance along with the judges. We look forward to finishing the term with some positive and fun community time.

In the 10th week of this term, it is very apparent that everyone is in need of a rest. Term 4 will be busy as we work together to provide as much normality and opportunity as possible within restrictions and guidelines. Term 4 is a time of ritual and celebration. All of these occasions and events need to be adjusted and managed and require considerable planning and thought. I thank all of the staff who are working hard on this.

Amongst many, one of the challenges of the pandemic is the psychological shift of ‘accepting’ the presence of the virus in our lives. In workshops that I attend about leading and managing during the pandemic, we are consistently advised to ‘manage expectations’. I think it is an understandable psychological phenomenon that we hope that 2021 is better than 2020! Of course! However, the reality is that unless and until there is a successful vaccine that is produced and distributed, school communities will continue to manage activities and events within the guidelines and formal advice and very conservatively at that.

A key challenge is balancing this with the strengths of communities such as ours that thrive on socialisation, interaction and camaraderie. For some time to come, our rituals, ceremonies, celebrations, activities and events can either not happen or can only happen with our thoughtful collaboration and partnership. Our community has been excellent at this and it will get harder as we prepare to celebrate, recognise and farewell-we will do it well-we will do it together-but it will be different! Our goal is to make these occasions no less special or meaningful for our boys, families and staff. A brilliant example of this was the pre-recorded Formal Music Concert shared with the community on Saturday night. Warm congratulations to all students, parents and staff on the success of this event and a special thank you for your cooperation and understanding. To view the concert, CLICK HERE and use the password that was emailed to all families last Friday.

Day of Excellence

Our traditional ‘Night of Excellence’ will take the form of a ‘Day of Excellence’. There will be four sections run as assemblies for Junior School, Middle School, Senior School and Co-curricular which will be filmed here at the College with students and then shared with parents and caregivers via a video link at the time scheduled on Tuesday evening, 20 October. The usual presentations of some keynote speeches and performances will also be filmed and included in the package that will be shared with families. Further information concerning this will be provided early in the new term.

Year 12 Events

We wish our Year 12 students and their partners a wonderful evening at Brisbane City Hall on Friday 2 October for their Formal. I do so hope that Queensland’s health guidelines are still in order at this time to enable this special event to proceed. We look forward to seeing this group enjoy this occasion. I thank Mrs Liza Peapell and Mr Conor Finn for their liaison and organisation of this event. Details concerning the management of the Year 12 Valedictory process at Riverlife on Thursday 19 November will also be forwarded early in the new term.

Road Safety

Over the September holiday break a ‘boom gate’ will be installed at the top of the Junior School which allows traffic to proceed to the Edmund Rice Building roundabout. As we have grown, this area is a high density student and staff pedestrian traffic area and needs to be more regulated for health and safety reasons. Students with particular access needs will be identified and parents given special permission to enter the area as required via licence plate recognition software. It will still be possible to request permission to enter the area to pick up a sick or injured child via an intercom connected to reception. This new procedure will take the community some time to get used to, which is understood. Thank you to everyone as we have transitioned to this model via our signage during Terms 2 and 3 and for your understanding as we introduce this new safer model.

Prayers

I would ask the community to please keep Henry Chudasko (5 Nolan) in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of his Great Grandmother. We hope that the passage of time will help heal the pain of her passing. Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, may perpetual light shine upon her, may she rest in peace. Amen.

While we still have the week ahead, I take this opportunity to thank everyone for what has been another dynamic term at ATC. I wish everyone a safe, healthy and restful break and look forward to the journey and experience of Term 4. Thank you for your wonderful support of our boys, staff and each other.

God bless.

Chris Ryan