In the very busy lead up to Christmas, we often miss Advent's power because these December weeks are full of Christmas shopping, parties and other end of year events. Each year, the business of this month serves to distract us from having an Advent season that truly prepares us for the celebration of Christmas, with all its meaning.
This Advent let us all remember; it is the feast that sings of the gift of life. The birth of a child moves us and causes tenderness. It is a stimulus to discover the warmth of simplicity, friendship, and solidarity. Christmas can become an occasion to welcome, as a personal gift, the message of hope that emanates from the mystery of the birth of Christ.
Aquinas Building Opening
On Wednesday 16 November we celebrated the Official Opening and Blessing of the St. Thomas Aquinas building.
The Reverend Father Richard Rosse Parish Priest St Catherine of Siena Parish Caroline Springs, led us in a prayer service and then the official blessing of the Aquinas building. The building was then officially declared opened by the Honourable Brendan O’Connor - Minister for Skills and Training, who addressed the guests and then unveiled the Aquinas building commemorative plaque. We sincerely thank the Honourable Brendan O’Connor for his attendance, and we also thank the Australian Government which under the Capital Grants Program generously allocated a Grant of $1.5 million dollars towards this building project.
St. Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 at Rocca Sicca, in the territories of Naples in Italy. His family was a noble one.
St Thomas Aquinas is a saint and doctor of the Catholic Church. He has contributed greatly to the philosophy and theology of both secular and the church and developed a reputation of highly academic scholarly writings. St Thomas Aquinas is a model for both laity and clergy. As a priest in the Dominican order he was known for his Christ-like example in word and deed to his fellow Dominicans.
After his death in 1274, Pope John XXII (22nd) canonized him in 1323 and was deemed Patron Saint of Catholic schools and students. He also is known as the Angelic Doctor or the Universal Teacher. We are proud to have named this new building after St Thomas Aquinas
Finally, a special thanks to Reverend Father Richard Rosse, the College Ministry and Administration teams, Maintenance staff and to all staff and students involved in the opening ceremony as readers, musicians, performers and members of the College choir.
College Timetable 2023
As you may be aware, this year the College moved to a new timetable of 5 x 60-minute periods per day. This has been quite well received with regards to the brevity of the lesson, better supporting the ability of the students to remain fully engaged for the entire duration of the lesson. However, based on feedback from staff and students on the 5 lessons per day structure, we have uncovered some issues with the current structure that we are confident can be addressed through refinement of our timetable.
The larger of these issues has highlighted that the 5 lessons in a day structure is difficult for our students to prepare for, and can appear overwhelming both within the day, and throughout the 10-day cycle. Some students have identified that they are unable to adapt to the pace and requirements of needing to focus through five different subjects/content within each day. Additionally, our students highlight the increased pressure on them to complete homework for up to 5 subjects each evening, in preparation for the next day of 5 lessons, which can be overwhelming when considered over a 10-day cycle.
After careful consideration, supported by the feedback from key stakeholders, which has included our College Leadership Team, Teaching Staff, Year 7 to 10 Students, and School Advisory Council, a decision has been made to move to a 4 x 70-minute period day in 2023. This refinement in our timetable is further supported by the changes implemented at CRC Sydenham, which will also be adopting a similar timetable structure for next year.
We thank staff, students and parents who completed the feedback survey on the four possible timetable options for 2023. We can now announce that based on the survey feedback that the timetable for 2023 will be as follows:
Thank you for your feedback and for your on-going support.
I would like to thank our 2022 College Captain Ivanka P. Her College Captains address at the whole school assembly and Year 10 Graduation was absolutely outstanding and truly inspiring, as have all of her speeches been this year. She has been an exceptional leader and role model for all students. I also thank our 2022 Deputy College Captains Christina S, Angel Y and Meena B, for their great work as leaders in our school. They have displayed outstanding servant leadership characteristics and have led their peers with energy, passion and enthusiasm. Throughout the year they’ve contributed in a very real and practical way to making our school a great place and in ensuring that students ‘have a voice’ on many issues. I thank them for their time, generosity and willingness to serve our community.
It is with great pleasure that I can now formally acknowledge our School Captains for 2023:
College Captain – Zalaika F
Deputy College Captains – Alyssa D, Charli N, Nyankat D
These students will be formally acknowledged at the investiture ceremony at the start of next year. We eagerly look forward to working with these student leaders in 2023, and we wish them all the best in their roles.
Farewell Year 10s
The Year 10 Graduation Mass and Assembly was held in the College Hall on Thursday 24 November. It was wonderful to again gather as an entire school community on-site with students’ staff and families present.
During this evening we celebrated Liturgy together as a college community and formally acknowledged our Year 10 students who over their four years with us, have been guided by our motto of ‘Live Fully Act Justly’.
I ask our Year 10s to always remember the four relatively simple words of our College motto. Paradoxically these words are also very complex, deep and spiritual. Over their time at the College they would have heard them hundreds, if not thousands of times. These rather unobtrusive four words are truly reflected in their time at the College and we hope they are also forever etched in their mind and more importantly etched in their hearts. At the Liturgy we gathered as a Catholic community to celebrate the wonderful gifts and talents of our students and we formally farewelled our Year 10s. We hope that they take the ‘live fully’ and ‘act justly’ aspect of our motto with them on their next journey and truly achieve fullness of life.
I would also like to wish all the best to our departing, Year 10 students. This group of students is an extraordinary and eclectic group of young men and women, both collectively and individually. They are scholars, athletes, narrators, engineers, musicians, mathematicians, artists, comedians, politicians and men and women of intense faith, devotion and spirituality.
Pope Francis recently said that:
"School not only expands your intellectual dimension, but also the human heart. In a particular way, Catholic schools are attentive to developing human virtues such as loyalty, respect, faithfulness, commitment.
When I look at you our departing Year 10 students, I have a genuine, optimistic hope for your future and for the future of our Catholic church. I feel certain, that your futures are bright, exciting, and positive. Through an active focus on our College motto ‘Live Fully, Act Justly,’ you our students have embraced a community in which faith is a "hands on" experience in which you seek Christ in each other and in the world in which you live.
I would like to thank Father Richard Rosse parish priest at St Catherine of Siena parish for leading us in celebrating Mass and for his significant contribution to our College as the custodian of mission on the School Advisory Board.
Thank you also, to all the staff and students who have been involved in preparing the Year 10 Graduation Liturgy and formal presentations. Firstly, our Head of Faith and Mission Mr Paul Sammut and his Ministry team and Year 10 student leaders for overseeing the Graduation Liturgy. I also thank Head of Music Performance Dr Chris McGillen and Performance and Events Coordinator Ms Katie Franzone for their contributions. Thank you to our Deputy Principal Wellbeing Ms Katie Murray Fawcett, Year Level Leaders Mr Heath Aitken and Mr Xavier Hayes for overseeing a whole team of staff involved in organizing the Graduation ceremony. And a special thank you to the College maintenance and I.T teams who were actively involved in setting up and ensuring that all the technology components of the evening ran smoothly.