“Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, and look forward to the future with confidence” John Paul II (2001)
These words of wisdom from Saint John Paul II capture the essence of our recent Feast Day of Blessed Edmund Rice. In acknowledging our founding patron, we gathered as a College to give thanks for being part of such a vibrant and inclusive Catholic community. In doing so, we also stood united as a larger family of over 200 schools across the world.
The charism of Blessed Edmund Rice continues to be woven throughout the spirit of this community because the story of Edmund is a central part of our history and an expression of our triumphs and struggles. But while it is important to always remember our origins, it is even more important to reflect on who we have become by the grace of God.
Many thanks to our ‘Spirit of Edmund Rice’ Community Award winner, Mr Larry Jennett, for his inspiring words. Congratulations to the following students and staff who were recognised for their contribution to ERC during our Feast Day Liturgy:
Staff: Mr Rocco Polidoro (25 years Service) and Mr Darren Jeffery (25 years Service), Mr Simon Tognetti, nominated for the Justice & Solidarity Touchstone Award
Parent: Mr Robert Tomasiello
Students: Henry Jones (Year 8), Alexander Attorre (Year 9), Jack Stigler (Year 10), Nathanael Shaw (Year 11) & Mustaqeem Turi (Year 12)
The Mother’s Day celebrations last week were extraordinary! It has been a long-standing tradition for the boys of ERC to share a high tea with their mothers and say “thank you” for all they do each day to nurture and support them.
As this was the first Mother’s Day I have spent at ERC, I was genuinely touched by the large number of mothers and grandmothers who were available to take part in the celebration. Our numbers surpassed that of previous years and are another sign of the strong sense of community we share.
I would like to extend a special thank you to the members of the P&F, under the guidance of Mrs Francis Fenech and Mrs Anna Tomasiello, for hosting this wonderful celebration; and inviting our guest speakers Michelle Glasgow and Kelly Clifton from the Wollongong Women’s Information Service. I also acknowledge the hard-working students from the Year 11 Hospitality class for their skillful preparation and professional serving of the food. Thank you also to the Hospitality staff of Mr Kris Sjostedt, Ms Sheree Codey, Mrs Trish Reynolds and Mr Donovan Pierro for providing excellent guidance and support to our students. I would also like to thank all of the mothers who attended for showing their support to both the boys and the wider ERC community. The celebration was a huge success, and the tradition certainly continues.
During the recent Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Pope Francis declared a “Year of the Family” to celebrate family life’s ‘beauty and challenges’. Next week is also the annual National Families Week (15-21 May), when we celebrate the vital role families play in providing the most fundamental units in Australian society. National Families Week is sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, and the enduring theme is ‘Stronger Families. Stronger Communities.’
With this in mind, I offer you the following reflection on the Edmund Rice College community.
UPCOMING EVENTS AND/OR DATES
18 May – College Advisory Council Meeting 6.00pm
20 May – College Photo Day 1
21 May – Year 10 Immunisations
24 May -11 June – Years 7-10 Semester One Assessment/Examination Period
27 May – College Photo Day 2
1 June – Parents & Friends Meeting 7.00pm
14 June – Queen’s Birthday (Public Holiday)
18 June – Final Day of classes for Term 2
From the Deputy
Founders Week, Blessed Edmund Rice Feast Day
Last week we acknowledged and recognised Blessed Edmund during Founders Week, after the celebration of his Feast Day. We also remember that during the month of May, we are reminded of the lives of Mary, our heavenly mother, as well as Blessed Edmund Rice. Both of whom are significant figures in our community. We are challenged to remain faithful witnesses to the message of Christ and it was their faith in Christ, and through the work of the Holy Spirit, that inspired them to proclaim the good news for all. We too through the EREA touchstones are challenged and called to be the voice for those who may seem voiceless. Sharing the story of Jesus and inviting all into the story of Jesus. Striving to make his message of compassion, justice and peace a living reality within our community.
Let us live Jesus in our hearts, as we follow in the footsteps of Mary and Edmund; Founders’ Week is a special week for the College as we recall the stories of the founder of the Christian Brothers and as always the Divine mother.
Safety when travelling to and from school daily, must remain at the forefront of our thinking.
Throughout the past fortnight we have had commuters, message us positively and negatively with regards the conduct of ERC students travelling on public transport. Whilst it is always extremely pleasing to receive feedback or a report outlining students are offering a seat for someone else, or attending to the rubbish collection without being asked or prompted – and YES community members will go out of their way to let us know. Looking through the same lens – 99% of community members have phones (with cameras) and are often more than happy to
provide information and footage of unsatisfactory behaviour. Again, we encourage all students to conduct themselves in a responsible manner which is respectful at all times, with students remembering just how many people they are representing, themselves, family, peers and college alumni. Their presence in ERC uniform, travelling to and from school each day is noted very clearly within the community and along with this comes extra responsibility. Remember you are our best example, the latest feedback sends us a clear message around the acceptable level of behavioural expectations of an ERC student not only from within the community, but this message should be echoed amongst us all to highlight the great things happening at the College.
Pedestrian safety – especially during the wet conditions
Please avoid driving down the College driveway to drop students off from the Mt Keira Rd entrance. Parents are reminded that with increased volume of traffic at both drop off areas especially recently due to the inclement wet weather, there are a large number of students in these areas. We have communicated with the bus company to avoid continual frustration, by blocking the driveway on Mt Keira Road, evidently creating a traffic jam. Can I please also request that parents/drivers take extra precautions entering and exiting the drop off area, at the car park on Keira Mine Road, as the amount of traffic congestion there is increasing. Student drivers have been requested to ensure they are being responsible with parking around the neighbouring streets as well as ensuring they arrive and depart at an appropriate speed, ensuring everyone is safe.
College Deputy Principal
From the Director of Pastoral Care
Dear Parents and Carers,
Over the past few weeks we have consistently encouraged the boys to ensure that they are wearing their uniform with pride. The College uniform plays an important role in establishing our identity as a community both inside and outside the College gates. Maintaining high expectations in relation to uniform helps to increase a young person’s focus on school work by decreasing the distractions resulting from a poorly worn uniform. A uniform worn well is a tangible reminder to students of their role as a student, that being to engage in the learning process. Research suggests that when a student is well attired they are generally more confident and more committed to working hard with allowing them to achieve better academically.
Wearing the uniform well helps us to foster a commitment to that which defines us as an Edmund Rice community. At Edmund Rice we receive considerable positive feedback about the boys in our community. I have no doubt that the boys stood out because they were wearing their uniform well, had they not been wearing their uniform well I am sure we would not have received this positive feedback. Students who take pride in the way that they wear their pride help you to buy into what the school is about, it assists students to establish a routine and assists in encouraging the boys to dress smartly and take pride in their appearance post school. I take this opportunity to thank families for their support of our policy, ensuring that the boys are well attired and have all the required elements of their uniform, including belt. Please refer to page 17 of the Student diary for the College Uniform policy.
The collective pride and identity gained as a result of wearing the uniform well affirms our commitment to the values of inclusivity, respect and justice which are pivotal to our community. However, our identity extends beyond our uniform. Last week we celebrated the feast of Edmund Rice, the focus of the celebration was on the houses and what it means to be a member of each house. I was particularly struck by what it meant not just to be an Edmund Rice student but also to be a man of each house. I encourage you to discuss these qualities with your son, as we work together to develop men of good character.
To be a Waterford man is to be kind, to be a welcoming beacon to those who need safety or are lost, just as Edmund did to so many in Waterford.
To be a Rice man is to be humble and to accept all people at our table – to be truly inclusive, just as the Rice family did.
To be an Ignatius man is to be strong and loyal, creating an inclusive community that is supportive, forging unity towards a common goal of being men for others.
To be a Crown man is to be a man of honour by living with a vision of the common good, to strive for liberation, improving the world for everyone: this is victory.
To be a McMahon Man is to be faithful in service to God living in service to God living in the hope and desire that the world will reflect the gospel values of Jesus.
To be a Keira man is to be dependable and steadfast, just as the mountain will always be there, a Keira man stands in solidarity with his neighbours, daring to challenge when we are not being true to our heritage.
From time to time, the boys will find it difficult to live up to these ideals and as parents it can be difficult to navigate the path of adolescence. Michael Grose from Parenting Ideas provides some great advice for parents to assist with the development of emotionally healthy children. Please see the article attached below.
Congratulations to the following students in Year 7 who have achieved Commendation Level.
Daniel Duggan C14, Andre Dzeparoski C14, Eli Hobbs C16, Saxon Gerovasilis C10, Liam Hall C10, Oliver Johnson C14, Christian Yeo C13
These students have achieved 10 or more Merits for outstanding behaviour, consistent effort and application to their studies, represented the College in a number of extracurricular activities and sports at different levels of competition during the first semester.
We encourage all students to strive for excellence and success and their reward is this first step which should be attainable by all students during the year.
When a student receives a further 15 merits he has attained the Principal’s Award.
If the students continue to exhibit further outstanding contributions across all facets of school life they are eligible for the Principal’s Badge at the end of Year 8 and Year 10.
The month of May is traditionally the month of Mary and as the Brothers had a special devotion to our Lady of Perpetual Help and the rosary, I commend Pope Francis’ request that people pray the rosary to assist the community in the face of the Covid 19 pandemic. There is a list of Shrines and prayer intentions HERE.
The Year 11 Studies of Religion classes are currently learning about Jesus as a role model for all Christians. As people who are part of an Edmund Rice community, we seek to understand how we can be visible signs of the Gospel in the world today. Likewise, the Studies of Religion 2 classes are learning about peace in Christianity and Islam, while the Year 12 students are learning about Hajj and Environmental Ethics in Islam. The aim of this kind of education is to help us to learn more about our shared humanity. Jesus said ‘I came that all may have life to the full’ (John 10:10), so we must reflect on whether we are people who make the conditions of the kingdom of God a reality in the lives of more people.
We wish Ramadan Mubarak to our Muslim brothers and sisters as they conclude their fasting during Ramadan. As President of Illawarra People For Peace, representing ERC, I attended several iftars this month, including one with Bishop Brian and Fr Bernard, hosted at a former ERC student’s house, Ahmad & Maryam Sawan. We are grateful for the blessing of peace and the fact that our faiths bring us together, not draw us apart. This is the heart of Gospel Spirituality.
Mrs Hurley Director of Identity
All students are encouraged to get involved in their local community through looking for service opportunities. This is an important aspect of becoming a person who contributes to making the world a better place. We have all been the beneficiaries of volunteers in junior sport and other club programs such as Scouts, Cricket and Surf Life Saving.
The requirements for students in Years 7 – 9 are to do at least 10 hours of service per year. Of course, all students can continue beyond this and many of them do. While the Senior students do complete a project, usually in Year 10, they are also encouraged to continue to look for opportunities to serve throughout their time at school. Here are some opportunities this week.
Vinnie’s: Return and Earn – It feels good recycling!
Instead of receiving a voucher or money for your eligible containers, you can choose to donate your earnings to St Vincent de Paul and other charities. You can do this at each Return and Earn Vending Machine by pressing ‘donate’ when putting your containers through. The current donations are going to The Royal Flying Doctor Service. Another option is that you can take your containers to the Return and Earn point at Vinnies Collection Point in Unanderra. CSL hour for every $5 donated. Take a screenshot of your receipt.
Wollongong City Council Dunecare
Dunecare involves volunteering to help clean and protect our coastal beach dunes in the Illawarra area. As a volunteer you could be involved in: Planting suitable native shrubs and grasses to reduce erosion, helping control weed or removing rubbish to enhance our beaches’ natural ecosystems. If you sign up as a Dunecare volunteer, you will be provided with:
Free training and technical assistance
All the equipment you’ll need, such as plants, gloves, tools and personal safety gear
Removal of any rubbish you collect
All you need is a couple of free hours a month to take part in this program. Call Dunecare on (02) 4227 7111 to find out about volunteering in your local area.
National Sorry Day is held on May 26 and marks the day that the ‘Bringing them Home’ report was tabled in federal parliament in 1997.
It is not only a time to remember the past policies and reflect on the sad and painful stories of the Stolen Generations but a time to recognise the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across this nation and the power of saying Sorry.
The first National Sorry Day was in 1998, and it wasn’t until 2008 did we receive Kevin Rudd’s National Apology to the Stolen Generations. We have a long journey ahead of us in reconciling and healing our nation.
Our thoughts and prayers with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders families here at Edmund Rice and the broader community. May we continue our journey of healing through Makarrata (truth telling).
This week Year 10 students have been learning about the options that will be available to them in 2022. Each of the Heads of Department have had the opportunity to talk to the year group about the subjects on offer next year.
This was followed by a parent information evening on Wednesday the 12th May. This evening was presented as a zoom webinar due to COVID restrictions. A recording of the webinar along with further information can be found HERE
I would like to wish all of the students the best in their deliberations, with first round preferences due by Wednesday 26th May (Week 6).
Change in Student/Family Circumstances/Contact Information/Medical Conditions
If any change has occurred/occurs in your family – separation, divorce, serious illness, the College should be notified as soon as possible. The College seeks to be supportive of families in such circumstances and such events always have a bearing on a child’s education. Likewise, a change of address, email or phone number (work, home or mobile) or emergency contact should be advised immediately.
If your son suffers from a medical condition it is vital that you inform the office of his condition and what treatment is required in an emergency. An emergency management plan must be developed for any students with serious conditions.
Parents and Friends Committee
To all the parent helpers, students & staff, to all the lovely mothers, grandmothers and carers that joined us – the Edmund Rice P & F would like to thank you for helping make the Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea a great success.
A special thank you to the Year 11 Hospitality students and their teachers for their amazing and delicious food and service provided, it really was outstanding and we received so many complements on how great the food was.
We would like to thank all the families for their donations on the day which totalled $1125, this will be donated to the Wollongong Women’s Information Service (WWIS).
A big thank you to our special guests Michelle Glasgow and Kelly Clifton from the Wollongong Women’s Information Service for taking the time out to speak with us and sharing what they do for the women and children of the Illawarra.
The P & F is always looking for volunteers, so please get involved if and when you can or come along to our next event the 2021 Gala Dinner on Saturday 21 August – it promises to be a fun night – Save the date and more details to come.