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The Ingredient to a Healthy Life

Celebration is always an important ingredient to a healthy life. As families, celebration is one of the many ways we grow closer and stronger in our relationships. Tom Peters is quoted as saying “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” For me, the notion of celebration is a time to reflect and a time for being thankful. Christmas, birthdays, weddings and even funerals are times to celebrate.

Like many of you, over the last few months, as a family we have had a number of occasions to celebrate. A couple of weeks ago we celebrated our youngest granddaughter’s first birthday. This occasion was a time to be so thankful for the joy that Georgie brings to our family and the gift we are being ‘gifted’ with on a daily basis.

It broadens from there to allow us to realise that in life we are generally so lucky. Not only do we live in the lucky country, but we are fortunate to have more positives than negatives in our lives. This week at ATC we celebrate the start of our school year with a Mass at ERPAC at St Laurence’s College. As Catholics we talk about celebrating a Mass, because it is in this same notion of celebration we apply to the Mass. In a Mass we gather as a community who are drawn together to form relationships; relationships with each other and importantly with our God. Mass is the central act of worship in the life of a Catholic. Going to Mass is about spending time with God, but also receiving his graces, an inner strength to live the Christian life. The name ‘Mass’ comes from the final blessing said by the priest in Latin ‘Ite missa es’ meaning “to send out” as Jesus Christ sent his disciples out to the world to take his teaching to them.

For many new students this may be a whole new experience or an experience that that they may not practice on a regular basis. As a Catholic school, one of the non-negotiables we have is to gather as a prayerful community and celebrate within our Catholic traditions. Regardless of being Catholic or not, there is no limits to our involvement in the Mass. Ultimately the only limitation is whether or not we can receive Communion. Communion is only available to Catholics who have taken the Sacrament of their First Communion. All other Catholics or non-Catholics are invited to come forward at this point to receive a blessing.

This Opening Mass for the school year sets an important signal for the school year. It heralds our calling as a community to live out the Gospels’ values and to care and support each other as we meet the various challenges that life presents. It challenges us to value the importance of relationships in our community and importantly it reminds us all, Catholics and non-Catholics, of the opportunity we have to form a closer relationship with ‘our’ God. Once again we are very fortunate that our College Chaplain, Father John Gillen will lead this important celebration.

Launch of our new four Houses
Tuesday will also see the launch of our new four Houses. At the completion of our Opening Mass we will return to the College to gather in our four Houses. Our new Houses have been named after the four provinces of Ireland, Ulster, Munster, Connacht and Leinster.

The Gold House will gather under the banner of the Ulster Rebels, the Red House the Munster Kings, the Blue House the Leinster Giants and the Green House the Connacht Saints. A little bit of tribal rivalry is always a bit of fun, and we hope that our new Houses will give a subtle identity to this healthy rivalry. To add to this new identity, each student will be introduced to the story of their province and the reasons for the selection of the new mascots. In the coming weeks we will share this story with the wider community.

I would encourage you to invite your sons to share some of this story with you when they get home on Tuesday. In the upcoming years, these Houses will form the basis of our vertical House pastoral care system in our Senior School across Years 10, 11 and 12.

Our House system will initially evolve around a variety of sporting and cultural challenges and will aim to provide our students with an opportunity for some healthy ‘tribal’ competition. Under the leadership of our Year 10 students we hope to have some fun and give our students the opportunity to gather across year levels and enjoy each other’s company. I am excited with the energy that our recently appointed staff House and Assistant House Leaders are bringing to this rivalry. I would like to congratulate and thank Sharni Webb and Josh Bryant (Ulster Rebels), Adrian Cullen and Sean Smith (Munster Kings), Shane Koimans and Sonya Logan (Leinster Giants) and Matt Ribeiro and Kristy Freer (Connacht Saints) for their willingness to accept this added responsibility.

New Student Interviews
It may seem strange to say that despite just starting this year, our next phase of new student interviews are just around the corner. The reality for us, is that our year is full of many beginnings and endings. In the coming weeks we will be conducting interviews for students looking to join us in Year 7 2020 and early next term interviews will be held for Year 4 2018 students. Fortunately for us, we are blessed with a very healthy enrolment demand for these interviews. The highest priority we have for allocating enrolment offers is to offer places to younger siblings of our current students. I would remind parents that an offer can only be extended if we are aware of your younger sons and you have an enrolment application lodged at the College. To avoid any disappointment (and perhaps embarrassment) I would encourage all current families with younger sons to ensure that they have a completed enrolment application lodged at the College by contacting our Enrolments Officer, Alida O’Donohue. Similarly I would encourage any families who have friends who may be thinking of ATC as a school for their sons to act on their thoughts to avoid disappointment.

Welcome for start of year
Having an involved parent body is the key to a healthy school community. This week we will hold our first P & F meeting for the year. Our P & F play a vital role in both friend raising and fund raising across the year. The P & F is open to all parents. I would invite any parent who has some energy to help the P & F and their endeavours, to consider coming along on Tuesday evening 7 February at 6.30 pm. The meetings are held in the Mt Sion staff room at the northern end of the campus. One of the major events for the P & F is the annual Welcome Night. This year we have a Mexican Fiesta theme and as usual it promises to be a great night not just for new parents but also returning parents. Contact your friends and get a group together. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday 25 February in the College Hall. Tickets can be booked by clicking here.

I would ask you to please keep Derek Trowell (IT Coordinator) and his family in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of his father following a long battle with cancer. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, may perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace Amen

With best wishes,
Michael Senior