ERC Updates

From the Director of Identity

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – Love

We speak a lot about touchstones and what values guide us in our daily lives but this week we also focussed on the heart of what it means to be a member of the Edmund Rice College community and it is fitting that today, June 24, the second Friday after Pentecost is dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The heart has always been seen as the “center” or essence a person (“the heart of the matter,” “you are my heart,” “take it to heart,” etc.) and the wellspring of our emotional lives and love (“you break my heart,” “my heart sings,” etc.) Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is devotion to Jesus Christ Himself, but in the particular ways of meditating on his interior life and on His threefold love — His divine love, His burning love that fed His human will, and His sensible love that affects His interior life. (
In our assembly that brought all of our touchstones together, we reflected on the First Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, written to help the earlier followers of Christ understand what it means to be a community. At the heart of this is love. If we live by one value, one touchstone, then love of God and neighbour should be it. St Paul tells us that love is patient, kind and forgiving, bearing all things and that even if we are the most knowledgeable or the most faithful but do not have love, it will do us no good.
In this context, we introduced the work that Ms Neal has been leading on an anti-racism policy, Mrs Hughes and I broke open the EREA Safe and Inclusive Learning Communities document that explicitly challenges homophobia and transphobia and Mrs Knowles lead the students and staff in understanding why it is important to be in solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers. All of these contexts have one thing in common: we were speaking about our neighbours in humanity. We are all challenged to be people who love God and love others. Imagine the world we would live in if we all did that. May each of you have a blessed and peaceful break from the routine of school.

Social Justice – Refugee Ration Challenge – $4849 so far!

During Refugee Week 4 staff members and 10 students are participating in the Act for Peace Ration Challenge to raise awareness of issues faced by people who are asylum seekers and refugees and to raise important funds to assist them through the National Council of Churches program. It is often easy to raise money for issues that affect us directly: leukaemia, men’s health, breast cancer and others that we may unfortunately have had a personal experience with that stirs our emotions. It is much harder to go out of your way to raise money that you know will never benefit you or even maybe nobody you know. We are grateful that the Church has made this a priority and that the following people have highlighted this issue in our community: Toby Schuback, Julian Eckerman, Oliver Campbell, Patrick Sirianni, Edward Guest, Oliver Penrose, Christian Yeo, Atila Yalcin, Asher Percival, Benjamin Zaharis, Joshua Phillips, Leo Halios-Lewis, Mr Tognetti, Mrs Timmins, Mrs Knowles and Mrs Hurley.

Julian: I’ve become more appreciative of the healthy and available food we eat and it made me think about the harsh conditions refugees have to endure constantly which I can take into account.

Oliver: The Ration Challenge really helped me to empathise with the Refugees who are currently living off these limited sources of food on a daily basis. I am truly grateful for what I have now, and have gained a much better understanding of the cruel conditions Refugees are sadly placed under.

Toby: This has been tiring and exhaustive. To endure this everyday coupled with the uncertainty of displacement makes Waiting for Godot seem like a pleasant experience. These people deserve our help, for so much has already been taken from them.

Leo: The Ration Challenge has made me realise how fortunate I am to have a nice, warm, flavourful meal on my plate every night. I can’t imagine living off these supplies for years. I’ve found the challenge hard and tiring.

You can also make a difference by donating to the team. #Justice&Solidarity #RationChallenge

ERA for Change Detention for Detention

On Tuesday we held our 9th Detention for Detention, having started in 2013 with Catholic Mission and the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum. It is a sad fact that after so many years, there are still 200 refugees stranded on Nauru and PNG; there are 1200 refugees in Australia from offshore (Medevac refugees and families who we had sent to nauru) who have no future and are being refused permanent visas; and 19,000 refugees on Temporary Protection Visas and SHEVs who are awaiting processing or visas to be able to stay, work and have the freedom that we enjoy right here in Australia.

With the Murugappan family in the news recently having returned to Biloela and the fact that some refugees were allowed out of hotel detention earlier this year, we may start to think that the problem has been solved, but they, too, are on Temporary Protection Visas. This issue speaks to the heart of who we are as people and as a nation. As we are learning in Studies of Religion, many of our families came here as refugees after World War II or after the Vietnam War and Australia has been a very good citizen in settling almost one million refugees since Federation. However, as we learned from Pam who is a member of Grandmothers for Refugees, there is so much more that we can do. Thank you to those students and teachers who gave up their time to stand in solidarity. We are always learning how to live by our values. #Justice&Solidarity #InclusiveCommunity

Sustainability – EcoERC – Prizes from Tread Lightly

Last term we all worked together to save over 1100 shoes from going to landfill and won the competition for schools in New South Wales. We have received the prizes and this week at the EcoERC meeting, drew them under supervised conditions with six witnesses, all recorded. You can watch the draw on EdmundX website. The winners are:

  • Macpac Backpack – Will Davidson (Y11)
  • Globe skateboard – Marcus Stevanoski (Y12)
  • $100 Hype DC voucher – Gabriel Arbelias (Y7)
  • $100 Athletes Foot voucher – Jonathan Bendeich (Y7)
  • $150 Platypus voucher – Krishaanth Rajkumar (Y8)
  • $100 Trybe voucher – Nathanael Shaw (Y12)
  • $50 Sports Power voucher – Jasper Jacobs (Y7)

Aboriginal Education Coordinator

On Monday the 20th of June, three University Mentors from the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre at the University of Wollongong came to speak to our Year 7 and 8 First Nations Boys as part of UOW’s My Future Matters Program.

We were privileged to have Tori and Caitlin who are currently completing their Bachelor of Physical Education and Zach Stewart who has just completed his Bachelor of Science Public Health. All three mentors shared their stories on how they came to study at UOW, how normal it is for Aboriginal people to be successful at University and asked the boys to share their hopes and dreams for the future. During this short session Zach Stewart led the boys through a quick science experiment explaining how the chemical reactions between Polyvinyl solution and Sodium tetraborate solution creates slime. Here students used food dye to each create their own slime and compare density, stickiness and colour.

ERC would like to thank the team at Woolyungah for coming out to the school and look forward to the next session in Term 3.

Mrs Hurley
Director of Identity