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The Energy of New Beginnings

Artist's impression of Xavier Building as viewed from IMCH.

Welcome back to the start of the 2017 school year. With the holidays for staff and students no longer a reality, and for some parents, the holidays now just starting with their children back at school, it is always an interesting time for us all.

The energy that a new beginning brings is very evident. Watching students eagerly swapping holiday stories and connecting with friends is one of my joys at this time. In an age of technology and social media, nothing beats the face-to-face conversation to bring out the best in friendships. This is what boys enjoy.

To all our new students and families, I would like to extend a special welcome to you all as you start your ATC journey. We are excited to see so many new faces within our community. This year we have 220 new students joining us across our 7 year levels. If I had some simple advice for our new boys it would be, be patient, get involved and find the courage to ask questions.

Quiet, outgoing, shy, confident, nervous – they are all real feelings. All our students, both new and returning, will feel some or all of these at the start of a new school year. Acknowledging and understanding this is important. I know a number of parents will be asking themselves, how do I support my son with this? Wherever possible it is important to try and empower him to seek out the solutions. For some this may be just a quiet conversation with him talking about options and how he might go about answering his query. For the quieter ones, it might mean going with him as he approaches the teacher for his answer. It is important that he learns that he can take responsibility to find the answer and he might just need the ‘how’ modelled with him. With our formation structures, the class teacher (Junior School) or the homeroom teacher (Middle School) is the first point of reference if you feel that your son is not settled.

ATC Connect
This year our newsletter, ATConnect will get a small ‘facelift’. This facelift will not be in necessarily the look but in the form of its delivery. At the end of last year when we sought feedback on our communication through ATConnect, one common thread was that given that so much happens at ATC it is hard to digest everything in a weekly edition when it is ‘published’ on a Thursday. This year we will be releasing various sections of ATConnect throughout the week and hopefully give busy families an easier task to keep informed. ATConnect is published in the form of a blog. This year we will send through a notification and link through the ATC App and posted on our Facebook page for our various additions. On a weekly basis we will release the following posts, Monday – From the Principal, Tuesday – Learning, Wednesday – Formation and Service, Thursday – Co-Curricular (sport and music), Friday – Deputy Principal and P&F News, Saturday, Week in Review and Sunday – Community News. The reality will be that ATConnect will still look the same but will be constantly updating as each post is released from day to day. Rhonnie Sparksman does a great job as editor of our weekly blog, and I would like to acknowledge and thank her for the wonderful work she does with all our communication at the College.

Good news
At the start of the holidays it was wonderful to celebrate the arrival of a healthy son for Darren and Kate Cullen. Noah Patrick arrived at a healthy 3.5kg and mum and son are both going really well. Dad is still walking around with a wide grin on his face, although leaving Noah and Kate and returning back to work was a little tough for Darren this time around.

Academic Assembly
This Friday we celebrate our first academic assembly for the year. In this assembly we will congratulate the efforts of a number of our students from the semester two reports from last year. These awards will include our academic excellence awards, awards recognising significant academic improvements and awards recognising high levels of engagement by students across all their subjects. Whichever of the awards a student receives there is a common denominator – reward for a very good, consistent effort. Whilst it is great to see an ever increasing number of students achieving academically at the College, I hope we have a number of other students who will set goals for themselves to try and join this group. Well done to all our academic award winners it is great to see your hard work rewarded.

Co-Curricular Activities
This year we have made an adjustment to our organisational structures for co-curricular activities. Here at Ambrose Treacy College, co-curricular activities encompass a wide range of activities including sport, music, cultural activities, clubs, tours and our outdoor education camp program. This year Dave Capra will have an expanded leadership role and will take on responsibility for these activities as Director of Co-curricular Activities. Dave will be supported by staff in two new roles for 2017. Jonathon Bolt as you would recall has been appointed as Head of Co-curricular Music and Nathan Burgess joins our staff as Head of Sport and Coaching Development. Already there has been a great deal of energy over the last week from Dave, Jonathon and Nathan. I look forward to what this new team will bring to this important area of College life.

Stage C construction news
Over the Christmas break we were able to sign a contract for the construction of our Stage C Master Building Plan. Herron Coorey, who completed our Stage B development having won the tender again for this exciting build. Construction fences have been erected around the top precinct near the old Riverglenn Centre and demolition work will commence this week. Over the next couple of weeks I will post architectural perspective images to inform parents on the new developments. Given good building weather we hope to have all construction completed by mid-November to be ready for our Year 11 students in 2018.

Start of Year Working Bee
It was great to see over 100 students and parents at the College on Sunday morning to help out with our annual start of year working bee. With an aim to help our hard working ground staff, the main task of the morning was to give all our gardens a fresh mulching and a general tidy up. All in all, it was a great success and a number of students were able to log up a couple of service hours early on. I would like to thank Steve Davidson (father of Tate Year 7) who once again assumed leadership for this operation.

Student medication
All parents should be aware that we have a Student Sick Bay Policy regarding any student who presents as unwell at the office. This policy is available within the Parent Lounge in SEQTA documents. One important reminder for parents concerns student medication. Our College Reception staff are happy to assist with student medication. Any medication including paracetamol will only be administered when we have an up to-date ATC Medication Request Form completed and lodged with Reception. It is important that a parent or guardian completes this from on an annual basis. Please see the link below to download the form.

I look forward to the year ahead. It promises to be another busy and exciting time at ATC.

With best wishes
Michael Senior