Dear Parents and Carers,
Off the back of our recent whole-school Ash Wednesday Opening Mass, and the HSC High Achievers Assembly, our College community should be proud of last week’s ‘Try Year 7 / Open Day’. While the College had very large numbers of interested students and families from right across the region, along with great media coverage and what one parent described to me as “a great vibe,” my personal highlight was watching and listening to our many student volunteers. Their quiet but articulate confidence, their energy and their genuine sense of pride in our College community were something to experience and one which I truly appreciated. This sense of authentic Catholic school spirit is only made possible through the connection and the example of many influential adults, including – parents, carers, teachers and support staff who actively interact with our young people daily.
During Open Day, there were many compliments from first-time visitors to the College on the high-class facilities, technology opportunities, and modern learning tools available to students. However, the real strength of ERC is not in the bricks and mortar but in the people who make up this community and hold true to our values and a belief that all students, given the right circumstances, have the potential to succeed. Culture has often been described as being “the way we do things around here,” however, such a simplistic definition cannot lay still in a sentimental sense of nostalgia but must be monitored and refined for ongoing improvement. The culture of an organisation is dependent on the daily interactions between the people within it. In a strong culture, many overlapping yet cohesive interactions exist among all community members. These interactions lead to a distinctive character, and what it takes to thrive is widely spread and reinforced. Perhaps this speaks to the current demand for places at ERC and the evolving waiting lists in several of our year groups. As a College in the spirit of Edmund Rice, our culture is strengthened and supported by our four touchstones: Gospel Spirituality, Liberating Education, Inclusive Community, Justice and Solidarity. Each of these drives the cultural elements that shape who we are as a College community and are a daily reminder to ensure our actions align with our words.
Within such an environment, there are inevitably times when the values, standards and expectations of a community are challenged. We live in complex times, and the importance of home and school working in partnership for the benefit of our young people cannot be understated. ERC students are encouraged to work on the small disciplines – always to be respectful and punctual, participate within a settled learning environment, and wear the College uniform with pride. Our uniform gives students a sense of belonging, unity and identity. However, at times our rules and expectations are challenged by some students as they learn to participate effectively within our culture. If there is ever a more serious student breach of College rules then matters escalate accordingly. In this way, parents and carers are encouraged to become familiar with the ERC Student Management System, which can be found on pages 28 and 29 of the student diary, and clearly outline the various “steps” involved ensuring that together we can support and guide our students to make good decisions and to learn from their mistakes.
Thank you to the number of parents and carers who participated in the recent Elevate Study seminar and Wednesday evening’s Internet Safety webinar. A reminder the upcoming Year 7 Welcome Barbeque is on Saturday 18th, March commencing at 12.00 pm, generously hosted by the Parents and Friends Committee.
On Sunday, the 5th of March, more than 300 women and children gathered at ERC for the Illawarra Women’s Day of Dance and Culture Celebration. This joint venture was held between Healthy Cities Illawarra Inc, the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong, the Catholic Women’s League, and Edmund Rice College Wollongong. I would like to acknowledge our Library Teacher, Ms Lourdes Ndaira, who was essential in providing valuable support for this event in celebrating NSW Women’s Week and our collective values.
Creator God, we thank you for your promise of fullness of life.
As we celebrate women worldwide, we pray that we each can become instruments
that dismantle unjust systems and attitudes that contribute to inequality.
We ask this in Jesus’ name.
Blessed Edmund Rice – Pray for us
Live Jesus in our Hearts – Forever