Newman News Term 1 Week 10: From the Principal

Dear Parents and Guardians

Welcome to the end of Term One, and what a term it has been for the Newman community!

Last year, after a particularly intense storm, had passed and once the rain cleared, I took my daughter for a drive to a popular walking spot not far from Newman. On the way there in the car, we noticed something developing out the front windscreen; it was spectacular in the sky. Against a backdrop of passing clouds, two rainbows emerged. The colours were bright and vivid. When we got out of the car, I looked around me. I saw that the storm had left behind a landscape that was both transformed and rejuvenated. The air was clean and crisp, the trees and grass were a vibrant green, the sky had cleared beautifully with the twin rainbows proudly glowing, and the birds were even chirping joyfully. I was struck by the way in which nature responded to the storm with such resilience and beauty. Despite the destruction that the storm had caused, and there was still debris around, the earth had bounced back with a renewed sense of vitality and hope. This experience reminded me of other examples of nature’s resilience that we have all witnessed over the years. We have seen trees that have been damaged by lightning strikes, fires, or heavy winds, only to grow back stronger or different and perhaps more beautiful than before. We have seen flowers that have been trampled underfoot, only to rise again with renewed vigour. These occurrences are powerful reminders from mother nature that during and after the face of adversity, there is always the potential for growth and renewal. This process of death and new life, of endings and beginnings, is evident in our Christian Easter story. The Easter story of Jesus’s death on Good Friday, followed by a 3-day period of waiting to the resurrection of Jesus, in a different form, on Easter Sunday, reflects the same theme that mother nature continually shows us. As humans, we will have difficulty in our lives, followed by periods of waiting or stagnation and with the hope and light of Christ, we overcome and rise again. We have certainly seen this pattern in our own community this term, and genuine and caring support from each other has been critical to the process.

Kindergarten to Year 12 Easter Liturgies

With the conclusion of our term, we saw all three campuses celebrating the Easter season of new life. Staff and students came together to participate in liturgical celebrations. It was a fitting way to close a rather large term.

Year 10 to 12 Parent, Teacher, Student Interviews

In the Years 10 to 12 Parent, Teacher, Student interviews provided a formal opportunity for teachers and parents to discuss student achievements and progress. Feedback was given along with actionable steps for students to meet their goals. The hybrid model of both face-to-face and online via Teams was received well by families, and we look forward to the Year 7 to 9 Parent Teacher Student interviews on the first Thursday of next term.

Zero 2 Hero Parent Series

On Monday 27 March, the College in partnership with Zero2Hero, presented our first of three events for the year. The ‘Nourishing Young Minds’ presentation provided detailed evidence-based information to primary parents regarding appropriate nutrition for young developing minds. The College welcomed leading experts Bobbie McPhail and Sarina Shirazee to the Marist Auditorium. They provided parents with practical measures on how to nourish young minds.  The two experts were joined by our Head of Primary, Mr Ryan von Bergheim who gave insights into the College’s own support mechanisms and expertise in this area.

The Zero2Hero Parent Seminar Series provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to hear from leading experts in topical and relevant areas of concern. There will be two more seminars this year, and we hope to see many parents participate in this exceptionally well-organised partnership venture between Newman and Zero2Hero.

PK-Year 2 Fathering Project

The Fathering Project recognises that fathers, and father figures, play a vital role in the lives of children. The evidence demonstrating fathers’ potential to positively influence their children’s health and mental health, social success and academic achievements is robust and compelling.

Research suggests that absent, disengaged, ill-equipped or busy fathers are a significant social issue that impacts the lives of Australian children and young people. We are living through a time of rapid social change, where community views of fatherhood are actively changing. Research suggests that many fathers and father figures are struggling to fulfil the joys, challenges, and responsibilities of being an engaged Father in the modern world. Many Fathers are struggling alone, contributing to poor mental health outcomes and higher rates of suicide and domestic violence. Delivering engaging prevention and intervention programs and research-based resources will equip fathers with the skills to be the best Father they can be and improve the lives of fathers, children, and families for generations to come.

This term, several motivated Marian parents have chosen to lead the College’s support of the Fathering Project. Their goal is to provide opportunities for fathers of Newman College students with an opportunity to engage with their children in fun activities. On Friday 31 March, the first event took place at the Marian campus, which was a Paper Planes and Pizza activity. Around 250 fathers or father figures and children attended the event. I am told that it was a wonderful and uplifting occasion which was enjoyed equally by the students and their fathers.

The goal of the coordinators is to host one event per term. Details of the next event will be made available to the community in due course.

Principal’s Assembly

At the Principal’s Assembly and Campus Assemblies in Marian and Lavalla, we acknowledged significant sporting and service achievements and contributions across the College. Students who demonstrated the Marist characteristics during the term were also recognised.  The Principal’s Commendation Award in Secondary is given to students who set an example to others in the school community.  I would like to again acknowledge and congratulate the following recipients of the awards; they are wonderful examples of our students living in the Marist way.

Jasielle Tan received the Marcellin Award (PK-2).

Oliver Slavicek received the Marcellin Award (Years 3-6)

Lucas Maher and Georgia Burt (Year 7)

Jasmine Love and Callum Bick (Year 8)

Oliver Groughan and Emma Lindsay (Year 9)

Ella Nguyen and Stefan Constantine (Year 10)

Bailey Moorfield and Faith Jones (Year 11)

Owen Hayes and Sean Heaney (Year 12)

Caritas Project Compassion

We have been raising much-needed funds for Caritas Project Compassion over the course of the Lenten season. Fundraisers have included the Primary Easter Raffle, bake sales, donations, a hilarious Staff Dance Off Concert and a Staff and Student Netball game. I have been inspired to see both students and staff get behind this worthy cause.

In conclusion

I would like to express my gratitude to the Marist Brothers, College Advisory Council, Executive and each and every member of the Newman staff, student, and parent community for your support this term, during my time as Acting Principal. It has been an incredible privilege to lead this wonderful community, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have served in this role during this time of transition. Over the last three years, I have been continually inspired by the dedication, talent, spirit and Marist heart of the students, staff and parents here at Newman. I have seen firsthand the amazing things that can be accomplished when we come together in family spirit, and I am so proud of all that we have achieved together during this term.

Term 2 will see our new Principal, Mr Andrew Watson commencing. I would like to extend a warm welcome Mr Watson. I have no doubt that he will bring new perspectives and vast experience, with a deep commitment to excellence and to the success and well-being of our students and staff. I offer my best wishes and full support to Mr Watson as he embarks on his new journey. I know that Mr Watson will find Newman to be an extraordinary community, filled with talented and passionate individuals who are welcoming and committed to excellence, family spirit and a love of work.

I have been invited to go on the Marist Pilgrimage these holidays with 30 other Marists from across Australia. We will travel to the Holy Land and Champagnat country during the Easter break for a spiritual encounter. It is a trip that I am both humbled and excited to be experiencing and I am very much looking forward to entering the pilgrim mindset this Sunday. 

Finally, I would like to wish you all a happy Easter and a restful holiday break. May this be a time for you to reconnect with family and friends, and to find joy in the simple pleasures of life. I am so grateful to be a part of this wonderful community, and I look forward to seeing you all again next term when I return as Vice Principal.

Dr Lucie McCrory