Our Gospel this week comes from Luke, and despite it's brevity we are drawn to reflect on the importance of advocacy and perseverance. The woman who comes regularly to the judge can easily be seen in any one of us who advocate for a right and just decision. The role of advocacy for the marginalised, indeed for the future of our beautiful world, is a vital, yet often thankless task. In Luke's Gospel we are encouraged to be advocates; for us the greatest challenge is making sure our voices are heard when the messages often coming from mainstream media, and at times even our own government, are contradictory to what we believe are the fundamental rights of all. It is this notion of advocacy and a call to action, that inspired many of the young women of Killester to attend the Climate Strike in Melbourne CBD late last term, these students were supported at school by our Year 8's who added their appeal for action. A Killester education is one that enables and empowers, and in doing so encourages all in our community to demonstrate courage, and fight for justice. What I found particularly compelling and joyful was listening to our students at Killester speaking about their futures with hope; they dream a world where what they learn at home and at school can be transferred to doing good in our world and making a difference. Much has been said about how young people in society are experiencing sense of hopelessness about what lies ahead for them, this is not the case for the young woman of Killester who can see that participating in meaningful social action, and using their hearts, minds and voices to help shape their future, is both a fundamental responsibility and privilege. It is our joyful work as members of our College community to continue our work, in partnership with families, to develop the God-given gifts and talents of the students at Killester so, like the woman in Luke's Gospel, they can continue to advocate for change and just decisions.
The conclusion of Term Three also saw us come together to celebrate the rich diversity of our College community at our annual Multi-cultural dinner. We were treated to cultural dances, song and food from all corners of the globe, one of the greatest components of the evening was sharing a meal and conversation with so many Killester families. I would like to thank the students who so willingly gave their talents and who represented their cultural heritage with great pride, the staff and students who worked tirelessly to prepare the space and our meal, and in particular Ms Loreto Cannon who co-ordinated the entire event.
The start to Term Four has seen an abundance of activity, and opportunities for engagement and success. On an individual level I would like to congratulate Alice Nhim from Year 11 who submitted an entry in the "Make Silent Films" competition. Alice was selected to be one of the sixteen finalists in the Victorian Regional Finals to be screened at the Astor Theatre on the 25th of October. We wish Alice the best of luck for the evening, Mr Vi Lam, Alice's media teacher will be attending with Alice's family. The VCAL students hosted a very informative VET expo with representatives from a number of TAFE providers attending the College to explain the myriad of TAFE options to our students. The VCAL class were also very successful in organising Peter Hitchener, of news-reading fame, and former student Ms Dianna Nguyen, to speak about future directions. I congratulate the students and their teachers on the endeavour and enterprising nature of the event. Last Thursday we welcomed the students of our 2020 Year 7 class, along with their families, to the College. The evening was an opportunity for families to meet key staff and for the students to start to get a feel for life at the College. Our transition program continues throughout this term and I thank Ms Michel Kennedy and the Year 7 team for their work in this process.
We were fortunate enough last week to host Susan MacLean who is a leading expert on Cybersafety Education. Susan spoke to our Year 7 and 8 students about their online profiles and how they can make sure they stay safe in this vast space. The students found her talk to be very informative and challenging. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all parents to visit the Schoolstv link on our website to find a significant array of advice and tips for parents about topics such as Cybersafety, all delivered by experts such as Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and Suasn MacClean. The link can be found directly under the parent portal on our website.
One of key focus this past fortnight has been preparing our community and our graduating class of 2019 for the next few weeks. When I had the opportunity to speak to the Year 12's late last week about the final few days of school, I simply explained that our expectation of them was that they continue to be the young women of integrity and right decision making they have already proven themselves to be. We had the pleasure of listening to some our Year 12 leaders speak at our final leaders assembly this Wednesday, Jillian, Veronica, Isabella, Sneha and Sarah spoke each about how at Killester we exemplify the Kildare Ministries Living Justice Principles. Each of our leaders spoke to one element of the principles; Jillian talked of being guided to "Be the hands, feet and eyes of Jesus; of being the heart of Jesus and of being the voice of Jesus". She reflected on how students at Killester are empowered by their education to "create endless opportunities to support a hope-filled future". Sarah reflected on building right relationships and how this is at the core of all we do here in our College community, she encouraged us all to bring to school the "love and compassion from parents, the patience of siblings and the gentleness of a loved one". Greta Thunberg, Joey's Van and St Vincent De Paul were foundational in Isabella's reflection on how we 'walk in solidarity'. Isabella's speech concluded with her exhortation that the Year 12's will "leave here..knowing how a world of strength and kindliness can be achieved". "Welcome without predjuice" was the cornerstone of Veronica's reflection as she challenged us to think carefully about "what we do?..How we can improve?...and how can we continue beyond the gates of Killester?" Veronica explained that "to welcome without prejudice is part of our own Killester identity". Fittingly the concluding speech came from Sneha who's "call to action" had us all considering how we can embrace our passion and use it to "make the world better". I congratulate our College leaders who, along with our House leaders, Acacia, Joanna, Serena and Cythanian, have done a wonderful job leading our school community. There will be ample opportunity to reflect on your contributions in the coming weeks and I look forward to this with great pleasure. The final days of classes are upon us for our Year 12 students. We wish our VCAL and VCE students the best of luck as they complete their final competencies and busily prepare for exams.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the staff and members of our College community who joined our working bee last Saturday in preparation for Open Day this coming Sunday, and encourage all families to join us this evening for a stroll through the jungle at the opening of the annual Art and Technology Exhibition.
Principal, Killester College