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The Dream Enablers

I was brought up to believe you should always live the most interesting life you can.’ Nick McDonell
I think I must have been thinking of McDonell’s quote when I decided to take up teaching as a career. Come to think of it, it must have been a part of my decision-making to accept the challenge of leading the ATC community as Principal.

I am certainly blessed with a very interesting and rewarding life – from my family, to my friends, to my work colleagues, to the students I work with at ATC and to the ATC community itself, I have always something happening around me. Some of the things are predictable whilst others are very much unexpected.

This last week has been very much a week that revealed many magic moments for me. Unpredictable, satisfying, challenging, hilarious, sad, surprising and funny are just some of the moments I was fortunate to experience. From celebrating Mother’s Day with family, to supporting students around the NAPLAN journey, to smiling broadly with pride at the ATC / Brigidine Showcase Spectacular, to curiously researching the details of the new Federal Government funding arrangements, to happily snapping photographs at Soccer on Saturday morning, to being energised by prospective students in enrolment interviews, to exploring options for student pathways with a corporate business partner and to just dealing with the usual things a week brings up – I am gifted with a truly rewarding life. The old saying that no two days are the same is very much the challenge and the reward of teaching.

Just like many of you I try and catch up on my connected world by flicking through Facebook to see what my ‘connections’ are up to. I am probably one of the more ‘boring’ friends in my Facebook world, I very rarely post but I love to see what catches my friends’ interest. I am thankful that they don’t follow my lead with regards to posting. This last week one particular post caught my attention. The shared post related to a quote from a rugby parent who was responding to the question – “Why do you pay so much money and spend so much time running around for your son to play rugby?” For me the interest was not on the actual topic of rugby but perhaps why we look at providing extra opportunities for our children in the broader pursuits they follow. While this particular account was about rugby, rugby could have been replaced with cricket, basketball, AFL or any sport, similarly it could be any cultural pursuit, club or anything that is offered outside the academic school curriculum. Here at ATC there are so many opportunities offered to challenge and extend our students. For me this rugby parent’s answer captured the essence of why I believe our co-curricular program plays such an important part in our ATC education. In making the decision to ’pay’ for the co-curricular activity the ‘rugby’ parent shared that they felt they were paying for: (Apologies for those who may have already read this in a Facebook feed)

- I pay for those moments when my boy becomes so tired he feels like quitting but doesn’t.
– I pay for the opportunity that my boy can have and will have to make life-long friendships.
– I pay for the chance that he may have amazing coaches that will teach him that rugby is not just about game plans but about life.
– I pay for my child to learn to be disciplined.
– I pay for my boy to learn to take care of his body.
– I pay for my son to learn to work with others and to be a proud, supportive, kind and respectful team member.
– I pay for my child to learn to deal with disappointment, when he doesn’t get that try he hoped for, or dropped the ball despite having practiced a thousand times, but still gets up and is determined to do his BEST next time…
– I pay for my boy to learn to make and accomplish goals.
– I pay for my son to learn that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours of hard work and practice to create a champion, and that success does not happen overnight.
– I pay so that my son can be on the pitch instead of in front of a screen…
I could go on but, to be short, I don’t pay for rugby; I pay for the opportunities that rugby provides my child to develop attributes that will serve him well throughout his life, and give him the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen for many years, I think it is a great investment!’

At Ambrose Treacy College we often say that the education a boy will receive is just as important as the qualification that he is working towards. We believe that our pillars of learning, leadership and service are experienced in the classroom and out of the classroom, they are experienced before school during school and after school, they are experienced here at school and away from school, they are experienced on their own, with their friends, with their family and with their teachers, and they are experienced in their success, their challenges and their failures. Helping our students to grow up into young men who will make a difference in our world, is our core business. I believe that this ‘rugby’ parents’ thoughts captures the essence of why we look at encouraging our young men to dream and follow their passion.

Brigidine / ATC Showcase Spectacular
On Saturday afternoon I was thrilled to be able to attend the Showcase Spectacular at Brigidine and to watch our students perform with the girls of Brigidine College. The event was an opportunity for the Middle School students of both Colleges to come together and share their passion around music. The fact that there was an opportunity to work with the girls no doubt added an extra attractive dimension to this event. One of the best and worst things about working with young men is that they can surprise you. On Saturday it was nice to be surprised at the level they performed at. I know that our boys are musically very talented, but I was not ready for the way the boys performed. There was a maturity and assuredness about their performance that really caught me. Boys who previously would have been seen as somewhat shy and certainly not risk takers, on Saturday showed courage and a presence that really impressed me. I look forward to seeing them build on this ‘confidence’ as they move forward not just with their music but in all their future pursuits.

Cast members and Music Support Group mums backstage at Showcase.

Our dream enablers are our staff, whether it is in the field of music or other endeavours we are very blessed to have staff who are generous with their time and energy to invest in our students. Talented staff are essential for unlocking potential in students. Inspiring students requires passionate and committed staff. Here at ATC we are very blessed in music to have staff who are very much inspiring students and unlocking their potential. I would like to thank and congratulate all our music staff and the music staff of Brigidine who generously made the Showcase Spectacular such an outstanding success. In particular, I would like to thank Jason Goopy, Jonathon Bolt, Cath Esbensen, Michael Bannon, Mary McGuinness and Adam Kehl for their involvement in this exciting concert. As is always the case there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and I would like to acknowledge the work of Dave Capra, Natalie Scalia, our Music Support Group and the ATC parents that helped make the evening the success that it was.

I would also like to thank the Brigidine College community for their invitation to join them in this wonderful opportunity. To their Principal, Brendan Cahill and their staff I would extend a sincere thank you for their energy not only in this event but more broadly in their energy to make our growing relationship between the two Colleges so vibrant. I share their passion and look forward to exploring further opportunities for our boys and their girls to work, learn and grow together. Tomorrow we will once again team up with Brigidine as we compete in the Co-ed QCIS Cross Country Championship in Warwick.

I would like to acknowledge and congratulate the overall effort of our Year 5, 7 and 9 students in last week’s NAPLAN tests. Our Year 5, 7 and 9 students were given a simple challenge to give their very best effort for their tests. Whilst results will be revealed at a later date, I am happy to report that with very few exceptions most of our students achieved this goal. Challenging yourself to be persistent and to work through to the end is an important skill to learn and I certainly received very positive feedback from our staff on the overall effort of our students. I would like to congratulate all our students on their application. I would also like to acknowledge the work of Kath Little our Dean of Learning and her assistant Michelle Pearl whose energy and organisation ensured that these days went through so smoothly. Kath’s dynamic vision for learning is very evident and I would like to thank her for the leadership she extends to staff and students.

With best wishes,
Michael Senior