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Shaping and Reforming The Contemporary Student

A blog by Patrick Robinson, College Captain

While often it may seem the indignities of society are an international struggle, the harsh reality is that manifestations of inequality and injustice are ever-present in our seemingly utopian Brisbane. Through a four-day immersive leadership program run by Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA), the political, social and cultural norms of Australia were viewed under a new light – in the hopes of creating a more just future for our country.

Fifty-four College Captains from EREA schools across Australia and New Zealand assembled at St James College, Spring Hill. After a debrief we began our journey – a spiritual walk from the Brisbane CBD to Kangaroo Point, co-ordinated by Aboriginal Elder Uncle Joe Kirk. We learnt many stories of the rich Aboriginal history and heritage that helped establish the foundations of our now blossoming city. Some of the stories he shared expressed the pain and suffering all the massacres and displacement had, and still continue to have, on this nation’s first peoples. The biggest take-away from this walk was that, despite all the statues and memorials erected in acknowledgement of the past, we remain oblivious to the hurt Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still enduring to this day.

The second day was spent in a lecture theatre at St Joseph’s Nudgee College discussing the core attitudes, values and beliefs of EREA. Led by Peter Chapman, the Regional Director Northern Region of EREA, the students furthered their knowledge of the key touchstones; liberating education; justice and solidarity; inclusive community; and gospel spirituality. The likes of which encompass the charism each student should try to emulate at Ambrose Treacy College and in later life. They help us set our direction and define our goals as, following Blessed Edmund’s vision, we continue to reflect and to seek to make the Gospel a living reality in our communities.) We were tasked with the challenge of choosing the one we deemed most important. The touchstone that resonated with me was the notion of an inclusive community, two words that perfectly encapsulate our school. A place not only of learning but a diverse and welcoming community that contributes hardworking, courteous and hope-filled men into the workforce. After a long day of scheduled sessions, myself and some of the students started playing around-the-world ping pong, an activity that at one point had upwards of 30 participants. Whilst standing around the congested table it struck me that EREA managed to unite like-minded Year 12 students from all walks of life, from all over the country. If you ask me, that is something special!

We looked at ways to implement the EREA touchstones into the communities we lead and I am sure you are all asking yourselves, what will this look like for Ambrose Treacy College in 2019?

For our College in its momentous inaugural year, the EREA Touchstones will be captured through the term of ‘Brotherhood’, a phrase that calls students to exemplify Courage, Compassion and Community in every aspect of College life. In accordance with the pillars of Ambrose Treacy College – Service, Learning, Leadership – students can strive to be Signum Fidei, a sign of faith. It is an honour to serve Ambrose Treacy College as the inaugural College Captain and I look forward to the possibilities and the challenges ahead.

Patrick Robinson