Refugee Week 2017
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas,
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
Dear Parents, Students and Friends,
I would like to thank everyone in the College community for their support over the last few weeks while I have been Acting Principal. In particular, I would like to thank the MCC Leadership team, Tonetta Iannelli, Heath Neville, Laura Vardanega, Mel Blanco, Belinda Aventi and Joanne Smith for their continued support. These past few weeks have been amazing and it truly has been a gift to lead these wonderful staff and students. We are looking forward to welcoming Alan back on Monday and to hearing about what he has learned from his visits to schools in other systems in the United States and Canada.
This week the College celebrated national Refugee Week. This included prayers and videos to raise awareness in Homeroom, as well as a display in the Library. I would like to thank Sue Hone and the Year 10 Justice Matters Team for their active citizenship in acknowledging and helping the College to commemorate this event. The theme for this year is “With courage let us all combine” which are words taken from our National Anthem, Advance Australia Fair. In the current climate, where there are so many negative and divisive messages pervading our media and communities, this choice of theme is very appropriate and the second verse of our national anthem is worth reflecting on.
Next Friday 30 June, we are holding our College NAIDOC assembly at 10am. Parents and members of the local community are invited to attend. On this day we will be launching the first phase or our Aboriginal garden including a fire pit for traditional smoking ceremonies and an array of native plants. We would like to thank our Aboriginal Education Worker, April Leigh-Smith, local artist, Hape Kiddle and our maintenance staff, Simon Aventi and Warren Bock for their efforts in bringing this project to fruition. This will be a NAIDOC celebration to remember.
Congratulations to all of the award recipients at the Year 11 and 12 Semester One Awards Ceremony this week. These awards are an acknowledgement of the hard work, dedication, determination and commitment of these students to their studies. There are many other students, who may not have a received an award, yet are still worthy of acknowledgement. The HSC journey is a challenge, and upon that journey individual students are faced with a variety of challenges. It is so pleasing to see so many of the Marian students meeting that challenge and giving it everything they’ve got.
I often tell the students that the HSC journey is like a marathon. Long distance runners manage their energy levels throughout the race and save enough energy for that final sprint to the finish line. The interesting thing about marathons is that most people enter these races to challenge themselves, and the focus is on achieving a personal best. It is not necessarily about winning but more about personal accomplishment.
Year 11 are now over a third of the way through the race. When they return next term, they will have 8 weeks until their final Preliminary exams. As Betsy Farrugia explained to students at the Preliminary Support evening last Thursday night, these Preliminary exams are important for anyone who may be wanting to apply for early entry. These are the marks that are requested by universities to make these decisions and are therefore very important.
Some Year 11 students may be pleased with their Half Yearly Exams results. Some may have learned that they need to do more to be prepared for Stage 6 exams. These exams were the first practice in preparation for the HSC. In a sense, this is the time for Year 11 students to perfect their marathon running style. They need to work out the study techniques that have greatest impact on both their ability to recall and apply relevant information and communicate their understanding in written responses. It is also important that students listen to the feedback from their teachers. Students need a growth mindset and must make an effort to apply that feedback. This effort will improve their results.
Year 12 students are nearing the end of the race. Many students have major works to complete and early next term they will sit their Trial Examinations. We strongly encourage any students with major works to take advantage of the next holiday period to get them finished. Students should also make sure that all of their summaries or study notes are completed before they return next term. A conscientious effort now will ensure that they still have the energy left for that final sprint to the finish line.
There are 16 weeks and two days until your HSC commences. That is 114 days to go. My advice to students is to make every day count. Make these holidays count. Some students are already running a good race, others may need to change their race tactics NOW – it’s not too late. Regular consistent study is the way forward to conserve your energy for that final sprint.
Time and time again, we teachers see that the HSC pays for effort. It is not a test that necessarily rewards those who are innately bright – but more so we see that the students who make the most effort are the ones who succeed. It’s the ones with the growth mindset that succeed. It’s the students who practice exam questions, it’s the students who turn up to writing group, it’s the students who seek out the teachers for extra clarification – they are the ones who succeed. It is the students who find a way to do 3 hours of study every day, as well as complete all of the assessment tasks.
So I want to say to both Year 11 and Year 12 – take this opportunity that has been presented to you. Do everything you can to make your HSC count. You have this one shot to shape your future. It’s not the only pathway – but it’s the pathway that you are currently on so make it count. Trust your teachers, lean on your family and friends and dig deep and be your best self.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to farewell Mr Chris Brown who has been with us for two years working in the Science Department. We would like to thank Chris for the expertise he has brought to school and we wish him and his family all the best for their move to Melbourne. Thank you also to Lisa Davis, who has been acting Year 11 Coordinator while Mrs Louisa Patten has been on maternity leave. Louisa will be returning to her position next term. I would also like to thank Lisa and Aaron Lawler who have stepped up to fill the position of Science Coordinator during the absence of Mrs Esther Dumbleton. Esther returns next week.
And finally, I would like to say farewell. It is certainly with a very heavy heart that I am saying goodbye to the Marian community as I take on a new position at the Catholic Schools Office. My time at Marian has provided me with some of the best moments in my career and life. It is a wonderful community and I am going to miss all of the staff and students immensely. I am hoping to continue a close working relationship with the school in the future. Thank you for having me.
Peace and Best Wishes