Newman News Term 1 Week 4: From the Principal

The Lenten Season commenced this week. It is a season for honest reflection, repentance and commitment towards greater intimacy with God, and hence towards a more virtuous version of self. The Lenten experience has the power to transform our lives through this deeper and more intimate relationship with our Creator, God. At the heart of intimacy is the essence of truly knowing and being known by another (in-to-me-see). We often choose measurement language to describe the space in our intimacy levels. An intimate friend is one that we feel very ‘close’ to. They know us on a true and ‘deep’ level. If the relationship diminishes in intimacy, we say our friend has become more ‘distant’. A relationship with a person who we do not know well can be described as having ‘surface’ or ‘shallow’ intimacy. 

Intimacy is not about distance or depth, it is relational. We can feel distant from the person sitting right next to us, similarly we can feel close to a person living in a different country. Being present to someone in our Marist way, promotes intimacy and is based on trust. The quality of trust is at the heart of intimacy with God. The greater the trust, the closer we allow the relationship to be. When trust is undermined, intimacy suffers. Sacred scripture teaches that God is intimate with those who trust in Him. The more we trust in God, the more intimately we come to know His presence in our lives. When we feel disconnected and distant from God it is frequently linked to a breakdown in trust, such as sin, grief or disappointment. When we repent or repair and heal in a relationship, the intimacy returns. During lent, we take the time to grow our intimacy with God. We do this through honest reflection in prayer (the Latin root word for prayer is ‘ask earnestly’), repentance, giving to those in need, exercising detachment through various forms of fasting and a commitment to be better.  

As a community we celebrated Shrove Tuesday in Marian, Lavalla, and Marcellin with pancake sales before school and at recess. Ash Wednesday liturgies occurred on 22 February in St Cecilia’s Church for our early year students, the Champagnat Chapel for students in Years 3 to 6, our College gymnasium for students in Years 7 to 11 and at the camping grounds in Serpentine for our Year 12 students who are on retreat.  We are committed to supporting the work of Caritas Australia this lent through their largest fundraising drive, Project Compassion. Caritas is the Catholic Church’s international aid and development organisation. Project Compassion through Caritas “mobilises Australians to raise much-needed funds to help alleviate poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity in the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in the world”.  

Newman students in the Game Changers group and students from Years 10 and 11 have experienced international immersions into the third world countries, like the countries Project Compassion supports. These experiences open their eyes and hearts to the needs of those in the developing world. Project Compassion has been launched at school and we encourage families to support this worthy cause.  

High Achievers Assembly  

We congratulate the Class of 2022 on their achievements as a graduating class. Their successes are evident not only in their results, but in their contribution to the College. We had an opportunity to celebrate our top achieving students last week, who returned for our High Achievement Assembly. Alumni and High Achiever, Max Hobson delivered an authentic and insightful speech at the Assembly. He acknowledged the challenges associated with the pressures of final year of school and reiterated the importance of each person finding their own pathway to graduation, one that aligns with both passion and area of skill.

Marist Association Gathering

The Marist Association gathered last Wednesday in the Champagnat Chapel.  There were discussions and a survey about the future of the Association. It was a time to reconnect as a companion group.  The Marist theme for 2023 “Created and Called: A revolution of love and tenderness” was introduced with prayer sessions and reflection.

KG -Year 6, 8, 9 and 10 Information Evenings

Thank you to students and parents for attending the Information Evenings over the last two weeks. The Information Evenings are important occasions for parents and students to attend. We take the opportunity to introduce the classroom and PCG teachers and leaders and share information about the journey ahead. These nights set the tone for a productive year.

Lion King Cast

Primary students were invited to audition for the College Junior School Production the Lion King. Congratulations to all the students who auditioned and thank you for your wonderfully positive attitudes during the audition process. Thank you to the staff who undertook the rehearsals and discernment process for selection. Congratulations to the students who have been chosen to be part of the cast. It is promising to be an amazing show. Rehearsals will commence in Term 2. Thank you specifically to Producer, Yvonne Wiese and Director, Ava Bilton. 

Fame Rehearsals

“Fame” is the Senior School Production for this year.  Auditions will take place on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March at the Marist Auditorium.  Documentation has been released outlining the Audition process in more detail.  

Rehearsals commence Tuesday 2 May followed by a compulsory parent meeting which will detail technical and dress rehearsals. All rehearsals and performances will be held at Newman College in the Marist Auditorium. 

Year 7 to 12 Swimming Carnival

The Swimming Carnival showcases the talents of many students, there is fierce competition and much enjoyment and novelty. This year eight records were broken, and many special moments occurred on the day. I am told one such moment was the spontaneous singing of the whole Year 12 cohort in the novelty pool. They renditioned the crowd with a verse of the Sub Tuum, our College song.  

Many thanks to all the staff and parents who attended to support the students. A special thanks to the Health and Physical Education, Guild, PCG and Leader of Wellbeing staff. It was the first carnival for the new Leader of Sport, Mrs Marnie Barrett, supported by our new Sporting Administration Assistant, Ms Kate Thayer and Deputy Principal (Acting), Mrs Sarah Ellam. They did a magnificent role in organising the day.     

School Curriculum and Standards Authority Exhibition and Awards Ceremony

On Friday 17 February, the School Curriculum and Standards Authority held a ceremony in recognition of students who achieved General, Subject and VET Exhibition Awards. Saskia Wigley from the Class of 2022 was invited to receive recognition for Outdoor Education ATAR. We congratulate Saskia on this significant award.

Year 12 Retreat

The Year 12 Retreat was this week, and I had the pleasure visiting the students and staff in Serpentine for the Ash Wednesday liturgy.  I thank the students for the way in which they immersed themselves in this very significant and reflective opportunity. Year on year in the exit survey, Year 12 students note that the retreat was the highlight of the final year of school life.  For many students, this will be their last opportunity to take the time to reflect on their place in the world, their connection to God and to each other.  In many ways, Retreat is a significant rite of passage for our students as they prepare to conclude their secondary education and go off to carve a life for themselves in the world beyond Newman.  

Newman College Advisory Council

The College Advisory Council convened its first meeting of the year on Thursday evening. Our Advisory Council is integral to the governance of our College. Our Advisory Council provides advice and support to me as Principal (Acting) and the College Executive Leadership Team in the governance of our school.  Each member of our Advisory Council is appointed by Marist Schools Australia and comprises both parents and community members with diverse experience in a variety of disciplines.  

The members of the College Advisory Council for 2023 are, from left in the photograph. 

Br Terry Orrell 

Ms Christine Antoine (Minute Secretary) 

Mr Stephen Lee (Chair) 

Ms Kim Boekeman 

Ms Nerreda Hillier 

Dr Lucie McCrory (Principal, Term 1) 

Mr Joseph Burke 

Mr Steve Halley-Wright (Director of Finance) 

Mr Greg Wheeler (Deputy Chair; Chair of Finance Committee)  

** Absent Andrew Watson (Principal, Term 2) 

Events Ahead

We look forward to the significant events occurring in the next two weeks, which include the Newman Parents Year Group Representative and Executive Induction on Monday 27 February, continuation of NAS Sports, the Year 7 Information Evening on Wednesday 1 March, Year 10 Allwell Testing on Tuesday 7 March, IPSHA Swimming Carnival for Primary on Thursday 9 March, Reconciliation for Year 5 and Year 6, and the Year 12 Ball on Friday 10 March.  

Wishing our families every blessing for the weeks ahead.