ERC Updates

From the Director of Identity

August 19 is #WorldHumanitarianDay is coming up! The theme this year is that, around the world, #ItTakesAVillage of humanitarians to deliver life-saving assistance every hour of every day. During this term our Religion classes have had a focus on learning about Catholic Social Teaching and understanding that having a commitment to social justice is core to our faith.

First Nations -Ms Neal
This week we had local Wodi Wodi woman Tess Allas visit ERC with proud Yuwaalaraay man Uncle Vic Chapman. Uncle Vic Chapman was the first Aboriginal Principal in New South Wales and was recently honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition for his life’s work as an educator, visual artist and mentorship since 1932.
Together we looked at the current artworks displayed within the school and began planning for future projects and artworks to be developed and displayed across the school grounds. The College is privileged to have connections and future opportunities to collaborate with both Tess Allas and elder Uncle Vic Chapman.

ERA for Change & Social Justice Whole School Lesson
On Tuesday, every Pastoral Care class participated in a lesson to learn about the issue of homelessness and poverty, connected to the Sustainable Development Goals 1. No Poverty and 3. Good Health & Wellbeing. The SRC students created videos that showcased the work of Orange Sky Laundry and Vinnies Van. The lesson helped all of us to consider the two aspects of social justice, advocacy and charity. Our advocacy activity asked each class to have a discussion and to literally add a brick to build our wall of advocacy, which is being built outside the Identity Office on the ground floor of Building D. The important aspect of this lesson is understanding that each of us has a responsibility to put our faith into action to change the structures that make or keep people poor. We invite parents and carers to talk about these issues at home and how we can work for a world where no people are homeless.

Winter Sleep Out – $5294 – so far!!
On a cold Thursday evening, 36 students and staff slept out at home to support the work of Orange Sky Laundry. We listened to Victoria from Orange Sky on Zoom and even had some fun games,even though we could not sleep out all together at school. Then we gathered for a bacon and egg roll BBQ breakfast. Thanks to all the staff, students and families who have supported this initiative, helping us to support people who will never be able to pay us back.

Vinnies Winter Collection – CSL Activity
Each student is asked to bring an item to support the Vinnie’s Van and Shelter here in Wollongong. We have a number of warm blankets donated by Mr Bates and the Clark family (Flynn in Year 10). We want to acknowledge their tremendous contribution of care and love over the past number of years. Donations are being accepted over Week 6. Please bring donations to your Pastoral Care class.

Religious Education – Mr Toohey
On Thursday 11th August Year 10 participated in the ERA for Change and Human Rights Day on the theme ‘Using Your Voice for Good’.
The day began with an acknowledgement of country, opening liturgy and introduction with the boys reflecting on the idea that each person has the opportunity to leave a unique print on the world for good. . Students then heard from keynote speaker Ian Powell from the Orange Sky Laundry. The boys were inspired by the story of Orange Sky, the initiative of two Edmund Rice students from Brisbane in 2014, that has since spread across the country providing laundry and shower services to those in need.
In their Religious Education classes the boys then engaged in workshops as they learned about the many ways that people in our local area, from a variety of local charitable organisations, are making a difference in the lives of others. The workshop presenters included;
● Caritas
● Vinnies
● Supported Accommodation and Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra (SAHSSI)
● Homeless Hub
● Ms Nadia Neal – First Nations Justice
● SCARF Refugee Support
● Wollongong Bushcare

Following a sausage sizzle lunch the boys heard from Peter and Robyn Presdee from Wollongong Diocese Prison Chaplaincy. Students were challenged to consider the redemptive power of forgiveness and mercy in their lives and the call to remind all people of their inherent dignity and worth irrespective of the mistakes they may have made in the past.
To conclude the day, all Year 10 students had the opportunity to use their voice for good by creating a speech bubble of support using the Catholic Social Teaching Principles and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and participating in a group photo that has been sent as a message and encouragement to the various agencies that contributed to the day.
A special thanks to the presenters, volunteer parents, Religious Education teachers and Year 10 students for your wholehearted participation and making the day an enjoyable and beneficial experience for all.

Students comments:
The day helped raise awareness about the different initiatives taking place and how we as young individuals can get involved – Isaac
The day was great, the activities were interesting and I’d like to thank the guest speakers that came to teach us what they knew.. The Orange Sky presentation was great. – Bobby
The Reflection Day was very beneficial for the year 10 students including myself. It helped us realise what other people have to go through and how hard their lives can get. The guest speakers had a positive impact in the workshops because they provided us with real stories and scenarios that volunteers go through to help people. Overall the day had a positive impact on year 10 students and we learnt a wide range of quality information to help us in future life. – Taj
The ERA for Change Human Rights Day was a great opportunity for us to reflect on not only ourselves, but the lives of others around the world who may be in difficult situations. – Oliver
The reflection day allowed me to think about the difficulty people are facing. – Raul
The reflection day 2022 was a great experience in which we were challenged to reflect on social justice issues in the world, encouraging us to take action and make a positive impact in the world. – Zane

Mrs Hurley
Director of Identity