This year marks the celebration of 200 years of Catholic Education in Australia. One in five Australian students attends a Catholic school, and they are drawn from every part of our society. In recent weeks, I, along with selected Year 8 and Year 11 students, have been visiting each of our local Catholic primary schools to introduce myself and continue sharing in the story that we share. Within our College, despite our rich diversity, we are proudly an inclusive community with a common purpose of drawing out our young people’s gifts and talents and nurturing in them a strong desire to make a difference in serving others. During this season of Lent, I encourage those in a position to contribute to the valued work of Caritas Australia to play a small part in transforming the lives of those suffering poverty and injustice. The theme for this year’s Project Compassion is to ‘Be more.’
Following this theme of service, the number of ERC students who proudly represented the College was one of the many highlights of our recent ‘Try Year 7 for a Day’ event, which was a tremendous success. With over 500 students from Year 5 and Year 6 visiting the College, the high levels of interest from across the Illawarra indicate the value placed on the quality of Catholic Education on offer at Edmund Rice College. In speaking to the many prospective parents, they were delighted with the contemporary learning facilities and the wide range of curriculum and co-curricular programs. Visitors to the College commented on the genuine warmth and openness in meeting with teachers and the many proud student volunteers who generously gave their time in support of this community event. I would like to sincerely thank our students and staff who worked so hard to ensure this was such a successful day.
Reminder to Year 5 and Year 6 parents that applications for Year 7 are now being taken for 2022 and 2023
Our thoughts and prayers are with those members of our staff who have recently suffered the sad loss of dear loved ones. We offer our condolences and prayers to Trent Mitchell who lost his Father in early February and to Mark Jackson who recently lost his Step Father. May they rest in peace.
In the coming weeks, on March 25th, the College and broader community will take the opportunity to acknowledge and give thanks to Mr Sam Tadros for his 42 years of service to Catholic Education. Mr Tadros’ committed leadership and unwavering commitment to Edmund Rice College is an incredible example of service. Please see the attached invitation.
I was extremely fortunate to visit the Y10 Camp last week and witness, along with many camp groups on Tuesday evening, a ‘corroboree’ including traditional Aboriginal storytelling around the campfire. Definitely an experience for not only myself but for all present. The sense of tradition and respect from our students as a sense of occasion as we were challenged with our thinking, our possible preconceived perceptions and to recognise and embrace our loving Mother Earth for all creation. This being the last experience of the Outdoor Education program the College offers, I am certain there will be many student recounts of events throughout the week for many years to come. Thank you to all the College Staff who attended for the week away from their families and loved ones, without your ongoing commitment the students would not have had the opportunity of their camp experience.
Our students’ access to social media is often mixed with parental concerns in terms of immediate gratification through ‘likes” and a warped sense of reality, as everyone seems to be having fun and looking their best thanks to the many filters and lenses built into apps and smartphones. Unfortunately, the more outrageous or sexualised the behaviour, the more ‘likes’ are achieved.
Social media tends to reward outrageous behaviour, and the more outrageous, the bigger the likes and follows. That environment plays into young people’s underdeveloped ability to think through their actions and possible consequences.
Young people, particularly male students, tend to be more impulsive and likely to act before thinking through all of the ramifications, making social media ‘challenges’ a big attraction.
As parents and teachers, social media ‘challenges’ are something we must be across. We need to be aware and start conversations around the ‘challenges’ they may have heard of among their circle of friends. Ask them, (without judgment), what they think are the dangers behind these challenges. Google the challenges online, research them, and make sure you notify the College if you hear them being discussed (or acted out), so we know they are circulating if they are even slightly risky.
Also, consider discussing with your sons what actions they can take if they are worried about a friend or peer, and whom they feel safe to talk to should they feel pressured to join in with a challenge. If the answer is that they would tell you or another trusted adult such as a teacher, their Year Coordinator, that would be a great start.
Recently, students are videoing each other during breaks which is a breach of the College Acceptable use of Technology policy and the rules and regulations regarding mobile phones at school in our Diary.
From the College Captain & SRC
As we re-adjust back into our school routine, 2021 offers many new opportunities. As leaders we encourage each and every one of our students to step out of their comfort zone and take on something new. Guided by this Year’s focus of Gospel Spirituality we hope to continue to make our community known as one that supports the marginalised as well as striving to be our best through being faithful to our touchstones.
The start of Term 1 has been a busy time for the senior SRC leaders, Last week Social Justice Prefect Mustaqueem Turi and ERA for Change Prefect Michael Piela, launched their Campaign for Caritas Project Compassion. Aligning with the Sustainability Goals they aim to advocate to end poverty and injustice within the world. Sustainability has been hard at work organising this year’s waste audit. Guided by Sustainability Prefect Noah Perez, the Eco ERC group is building an understanding of how they can better counteract our schools environmental footprint. The Community and Culture team have also been hard at work organising St Patrick’s Day Celebrations while our Sport and House Prefects are striving to further develop the friendly competition within our College activities and the upcoming Athletics Carnival.
The SRC prefects, Harrison Agnew and Myself have also been busy setting up EdmundX, our new and improved Student Website launching next week. We believe that 2021 is the year of connection, striving to live our theme of unity, where each of us can contribute to making our community truly inclusive in which individually and as a group we can succeed.