Dear Parents and Guardians
We thoroughly enjoyed welcoming everyone back to school this week. I take this opportunity to thank all students and parents for preparing well in terms of COVID for our return to school. The students have responded extremely well under the restrictions that have been put in place across the school.
Mask wearing, particularly on the Marcellin campus, has been done really well. On all campuses, students’ commitment to hand hygiene has been excellent and respective signage and reminders are placed in many areas across the College.
Further to these restrictions has been the reframing of our High Achievers and parent information events to an online forum which, going forward, is a viable means for future meetings.
The PK-12 Mass was postponed and we are looking at another time for families to gather on the grass later this year. Student Leaders will receive a blessing at an upcoming Thursday morning Community Mass, at a date to be advised. Parents of Student Leaders will be invited to attend the Mass and hospitality afterwards.
It is anticipated that restrictions will be lifted this Sunday. However, should any further COVID-19 related information be forthcoming, Newman College families will be advised immediately. (Information circulated previously can be viewed on our COVID-19 web page.)
St John Henry Newman Learning Hub – Marcellin Campus
This week, it was wonderful to see, at long last, our students in Years 3-12 enjoying this superb facility. These spaces are a reflection of our Vision for Learning – Shine through Discovery, Let your light shine (Matt 5:16) which hopes to engender a sense of collaboration, creativity and innovation. These spaces, put simply, de-privatise learning allowing for visibility, flexibility and accessibility. We are still working through some of the arrangements in terms of Homework Club and supervision. This will be communicated to families through the Deputy Principal Secondary, Ms Carla Pastorelli, in the coming weeks.
High Achievers and Student Leaders Commissioning
It was unfortunate that two of our larger events to commence the school year, the High Achievers Assembly and the PK-12 Family Mass, could not go ahead in the usual way due to the COVID-19 restrictions imposed on Western Australia.
However, we were able to compromise and combine the acknowledging of our High Achievers and Years 6 and 12 Student Leaders during an online assembly on Wednesday. Both these events are highlights in our College calendar as they represent the very best of students and their commitment to excellence.
I thank all those who contributed to the organisation of this event and for those who attended ‘online’.
In my Principal’s Address I spoke of the complexity and challenges that have pervaded the world over the last 12 months with the advent of the COVID Pandemic becoming very real for us here in WA. In a local context, the COVID crisis here has been compounded by fires and floods across the State. For each crisis there have been many who have risen to the challenge, responded with courage, acted with conviction and sought to animate others to do the same.
How we respond to challenges and how we overcome adversity is the mark of a society.
On 20 January this year we witnessed the inauguration of the new USA President Joseph R Biden. This event is a significant pivot point in the world in light of the unrest that has permeated that country …..and many would argue in other parts of the world. For example, two weeks earlier the Capitol Building in Washington DC, in which the inauguration was held, was stormed by protestors exemplifying in some ways the duress the USA has endured.
The highlight of this ceremony for me was the inspirational words – not from the newly elected president – but from a young woman, Amanda Gorman…….. the youngest inaugural poet in US History who recited her poem “The Hill We Climb”.
An excerpt from her poem:
But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption. We feared it at its inception. We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves so while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe? Now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
Amanda’s message draws upon one’s individual (yours) intent as a citizen, a member of a society who has the power to make a difference. It is incumbent upon every member of our community – for students, teachers and alumni – to know that they have the power to be the author of a new chapter, to proffer hope, to prevail over the challenges and the complexities and the opportunities that are now inherently a part of the world in which we live.
Her concluding statement draws us to our Vision for Learning – Shine through Discovery, Let your light shine (Matt 5:16) where she focuses on the power of light. She says:
“There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
Next week we commence our Lenten journey. The College will again be supporting Caritas Project Compassion which seeks to support communities across the world in most need. I encourage all students to get behind this campaign whilst at the same time continue to develop their own faith.
There are many events and opportunities for our students to let their light shine and I encourage all students to take advantage of what is on offer.
I wish all students, staff and families well for the start of Term 1.