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On Whose Shoulders We Stand

2021 marks twenty years of Reconciliation Australia. The 2021 theme for National Reconciliation Week is More Than a Word. Reconciliation Takes Action. National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

This week and all weeks of the year, we celebrate and value our partnership with the Clontarf Academy and the gift that our First Nations boys and families are to the ATC Community.

200 Years of Catholic Education

Tomorrow we are holding a special assembly to join in celebrating 200 years of Catholic Education in Australia. The name of our College is a tremendous symbol of this journey as Br Patrick Ambrose Treacy came to Australia 153 years ago and had a most significant impact on access to quality catholic education for thousands of young people in this time. While it is true that Catholic schools such as ours must continue to address the pain and suffering caused by some in our history, it is equally imperative that we acknowledge the two centuries of creativity, relationships and quality teaching that has happened in forming young people of faith, hope and justice for our nation.

In a special way, this week I encourage all parents who were taught by nuns, brothers, priests and lay people in the Catholic tradition to remember and recall the good and great people who made a difference to our lives. My own Mother, Maureen, was a nun in the of the Daughters of Charity well before she married my Father! She served as a teacher in country New South Wales in the early 1960s and forged family relationships that exist until this day and beyond her death. We remember the good people who did so much and on whose shoulders we stand.

Courage to Care

We recently welcomed the Jewish community outreach and social justice program, Courage to Care to work with our Year 10 students. Courage to Care aims to inform Australians of the dangers of prejudice and discrimination. It educates towards an understanding of the roles of victim, perpetrator and particularly bystander. Courage to Care strives to combat discrimination in all forms by inspiring and empowering the individual to become an upstander and take positive action. A pleasing aspect of the feedback we received is that the presenters were impressed by the engagement of our students and they were surprised by the language that the boys were using -we were pleased that the boys were using the language of our Men of Courage Framework; Compassion, Optimism, Upstanding, Respectful, Accountable, Grateful and Empowering to interact with the dialogue of the Courage to Care program.

I thought that the reflections of Year 10 students, Tiago, Cooper and Tristan were very much worth sharing with the community:

“The Courage to care program was a sincerely enlightening experience for both myself, and the ATC cohort. By showing students how the Holocaust impacted the lives of actual people, and then using their stories to further the message that anyone can be an upstander, the Courage to Care organisation has most defiantly broadened the perspective of myself and my peers. The dynamic and interesting way the message is presented, through stories from actual victims, I feel gives the audience an overwhelming sense of respect for what happened, and makes the experience feel human. When the guest speaker is up front and telling their story it really hammers home the realisation that this person is human too! It allows the audience to really connect with events being discussed and makes them feel real, and tangible, and personal. Showing the actual scale things were happening at, on a family, or individual level gave me on a personal level a newfound understanding of the Holocaust and its effects. One instance this connection between speaker and audience occurred was when Peter brought out his plush blanket. Even sitting in the audience, you could see that this captured the attention of everyone at the seminar, it gave them a physical object, as an emotional link to the story Peter was telling. It’s this higher level of engagement, that an actual witness, and the emotional impact of their story provides, which serves to make the Courage to Care program so memorable. So, on behalf of ATC and myself thank you for the experience.”

Having the courage to care, to feel empathy and show compassion are life skills essential to being an upstander in society. Through the stories of the experiences the Holocaust survivors endured, the hardships, uncertainty and sadness, the Courage to Care workshop allowed us to come to terms with the reality of the Holocaust. But we also heard the stories of people who chose the upstand and help others even if it meant harsh punishment. A key message that could be taken from the presentation is that even if times are tough, the best thing you can do is persevere.”

“It is without saying that the Holocaust was one of the most trying times in modern history, and we had the luck to meet and talk with two survivors of the time. Deep rooted stories and undoubtedly strong underlying themes of perseverance and gratitude of current circumstance were brought out to accompany the gripping narratives of Peter and the cohort’s favourite plush childhood blanket. His riveting experiences of moving from country to country, while describing the unmistakably heroic character of Chiune Sugihara was perhaps the most enjoyable part of the full day experience- closely followed by group activities developing our personal responses to Pete’s experiences. Once again, the stunning minds at Courage to Care helped instil values of gratitude, determination and hope using curiosity as the medium of communication. The unique method of presentation with the presence of real survivors as well as physical objects and personal development sessions provided for one of the most entertaining and engaging incursions our cohort has been grateful to witness.”

Staffing News

Ms Belinda Emmi, our Head of Learning: Junior School, has been appointed to the inaugural position of Head of Junior School at St Rita’s College commencing next Semester. St Rita’s is adding Year 5 and 6 to their community so this is an exciting opportunity for Belinda. We thank her for her service work in our curriculum and pedagogical development and wish her well. The College has commenced our recruitment process for this role.

Mr David Sullivan, our Head of Year 7 has been appointed as a House Dean at St Patrick’s College Shorncliffe, also commencing next Semester. We will be sad to see Mr Sullivan go after over 10 years of service at Nudgee Junior and Ambrose Treacy Colleges. However, it is important that our staff are supported to grow and to continue their professional journey. We thank Mr Sullivan for his service to the students, staff and parents of our community and wish him well.

God bless

Chris Ryan