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The Final Big 3

I greatly enjoyed visiting the Year 4 classes today for their ‘Day of the Infamous’. They have done a brilliant job preparing their displays, costumes and props for their projects about convict characters of Australia’s colonial history. Thank you to the boys, Mums and Dads and staff for helping them get ready for this terrific experiential learning day.

I am mindful that it has been a long term and that three weeks remains. With the uncertainty throughout the western suburbs, it is likely that many boys, families and individual staff members are finding this time very challenging whether they say it out aloud or not. It is important that we keep up our care and concern for one another that our community does so well and work together to manage this time as best as we can with optimism, perspective and genuine care for each other. There remains a lot to do in ‘school world’ for all concerned. Experience has taught me that the final weeks of Term 3 are often the hardest in a year, and in this hardest of years, these weeks may prove to be very challenging indeed. Please feel welcome to be in contact with our Formation Team, Counselling staff and relevant members of the College Leadership Team should your son require particular support.

Best wishes to our Year 11 and 12 students who begin their final full week of classes this week prior to commencing mock exams mid-way through next week. After the September break, Year 12 students have two weeks of class revision.

These next weeks are a very important time for our Year 12 students as they practice for their imminent external exams early in Term 4. We wish them the very best for this time and look forward to supporting this group that have met the challenges of this year with character and positivity. They are a wonderful group of young men. Last Friday at our Gate to Gate race final, I was particularly impressed with their sense of unity and joy. This has been a very challenging year and we are committed to supporting and working with this group of whom we are proud. Equally, it is important that they continue to communicate with the College, be safe and make positive choices during this time. We look forward to continuing to work with them to achieve their best, enjoy their time together as friends and finish this part of their ATC journey positively as they so richly deserve. Thank you to our parent body for their ongoing support of this special group and our staff.

It is also an important time for our Year 11 students as they become increasingly familiar with these processes and the design of assessment that requires recall of material from throughout the course rather than term unit by term unit, as was the case in the ‘OP’ system of the past. We wish our Year 11 students the very best for their upcoming assessment as well.

I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise and celebrate our Year 12 musicians and their families. During this term, sport has been able to proceed with a relative degree of normality but our music concerts and opportunities for performance have been greatly impacted. Our wonderful music staff have been outstanding in managing these restrictions and our music community have an upcoming opportunity to share in online performances as well as some small scale attendance at final rehearsals. For many years, these boys and their families have been at the heart of our community life bringing the ATCommunity together in celebration, liturgy, ritual and ceremony. Thank you and well done to our Year 12 musicians, committed volunteers and supporters, parents and staff on a magnificent gift of legacy you have given our community.

Ministerial Designation Signage

Many of you will have noticed the signage that has gone up around various points on the boundary of the College. These represent the public consultation phase of a Ministerial Designation application we have in place for future master planning, development and capital works. In essence, this process covers the entire campus for potential works over the next years of our establishment. It is a significant signpost of our journey as the original scope of the plans are now completed and this application is representative of potential improvement projects over the next decade. This process does not necessarily indicate that major works are imminent, rather that we are preparing for a future where some projects are carried out when strategically convenient and financially viable. Some of these potential projects in future years include the further development of infrastructure for the Jack Bowers sport area, a possible Performing Arts area, works to improve the Junior School areas which are impacted by the flood plain and the identification of land at the Kate Street end of the property as being a possible site for further classrooms if required in the future. There are also numerous smaller works identified for improvement in the coming years. This process is an exciting development in our continuing growth and is a necessary step in preparing for a bright future. During this time of the pandemic, it is important to note as responsible stewards that while optimistic, this is very much a planning process rather than immediate action process. We are hopeful that post pandemic, the College will continue to consolidate our growth and viability and be in a position to develop our beautiful site further.

Monitoring of current health situation

Thank you to our community for your wonderful communication over the past week as COVID testing has increased in the western suburbs of Brisbane. It is important that we continue this commitment to a cautious approach and your support is greatly appreciated. Please remember to let us know if your son is being tested, keep him home until his results are clear and let us know when he is returning to school. Most of all, I encourage the ATCommunity to get tested no matter how mild the symptoms.

During the past week, I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop to discuss what operationally happens in relationship with Queensland Health when there is a spot closure in a school. This was led by school administrators and leaders who have experienced this directly.

We are ready with our plans and procedures. One concern I would flag is interaction on social media. Reflections from Principals highlight the speed at which potential misinformation or anxiety can be spread by social media. If there is the need for a spot closure in the coming weeks, we will work hard to activate the procedure and communicate regularly and directly with you.

I would specifically request that should your son or a member of your family present with a positive result, please refrain from posting this on social media especially prior to my knowledge of the case and our formal communications commencing, to support the health and well-being of our students, staff and parents.

One Principal explained in the workshop that there was 15 minutes between him finding out about the case and the school being in receipt of social media commentary and phone calls. I stress that this was before he had even actioned the process for the safety and well-being of the children, staff and staff. While ultimately this sort of thing cannot be controlled, I would respectfully request the support of the community as a team in being cautious about social media information, misinformation and anxiety if we require a spot closure. In the event of a spot closure, we will actively communicate directly with you as we work in partnership with Queensland Health.

I was very happy that our attendance at school throughout the last week continued to be at high rates as well as families presenting for testing, isolating and communicating with the school. I am also very grateful to our community for your co-operation with our COVID-safe plans for co-curricular activities. Given that we are participating across several association contexts, our community support has been outstanding. I thank our players, parents, coaching staff and the excellent team of Damian Steele, Elliot Jackson and Lisa Mortlock for their committed leadership and support of all. On this note, I congratulate Elliot who has been appointed to the ongoing role of Head of Sport at ATC. We look forward to his continued contribution in this key role.

Road Safety

With over 1500 students and staff entering and exiting the campus each day, drivers’ patience and diligence is paramount in ensuring the safety of all. The speed limit within College grounds is 10 kmph and we ask that you drive slowly and carefully on our roads and in the carparks, being mindful of the energy and unpredictability of boys.

Prayers

I would ask the community to please keep Jacob, Matthew and Samuel Power (Year 11 Connacht 3, Year 10 Connacht 1 and 7 Lynch) in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of their uncle. We also ask the community to please keep Jordan Craft (7 Campbell) 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 their passing. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, may perpetual light shine upon them, may they rest in peace. Amen.

God bless

Chris Ryan

Brisbane’s Private Catholic School for boys in Years 4-12