Newman News Term 2 Week 10: From the Principal


A favourite read of mine has been Shackleton by Ranulph Fiennes. It is the story of the English Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Last year, his ship Endurance was discovered in almost perfect condition, 106 years after it sunk in Antarctic waters. He and five others sailed in a whale boat for 16 days across 1,300km of dangerous ocean to South Georgia in a desperate attempt to find help to rescue his crew who had all made it safely to Elephant Island after the sinking of the Endurance. At one point, after days without the sun to orient them, Shackleton stood at the bow and pointed through the sea mist; “It’s this way men.” He could not have known what direction they were heading, he was simply aligning his crew in a common purpose. Throughout the 16-day ordeal, not one of Shackleton’s crew of Endurance perished.

As I reflect on the past term, I see numerous examples of staff and students leading the way and aligning in the common purpose of living our Marist characteristics and engaging in our pillars of Challenge, Collaborate, Create and Celebrate. Just this week, Dr McCrory and I were fortunate to be in the audience for our Year 5 & 6 Grand Final of the Speak Up competition. The eight finalists were drawn from a wider pool of students who all gave their best in creating well-crafted speeches. The quality of the speeches surpassed the age of our students and the audience were fully engaged with the topics and the speakers. Public speaking consistently ranks in studies as having the highest identified phobia for people. Congratulations to students for taking on this challenge and succeeding!

Champagnat Day

Last Friday, we gathered for Champagnat Day with the celebration of the Eucharist, a fete and fun activities across the College. Throughout June, Marist communities across the world have embraced the gift of Marcellin Champagnat, the founder of the Marist Brothers. Archbishop Timothy Costelloe and the Very Reverend Fr Vincent Glynn celebrated Mass at Marcellin and Fr Kaz celebrated Mass for our Lavalla students.  We joined with our own Marist Brothers’ community to welcome Dr John Kyle-Robinson, Acting National Director Marist Schools Australia and Mr Darren McGregor, Regional Director Marist Schools Australia to give thanks for the work of Marists and for the Principal’s Commissioning.  Following this, we met as a community to recognise students and staff in the annual Champagnat Awards. These awards are presented to a student from each year and staff members whose actions, service and commitment have displayed our Marist characteristics. We also recognised staff members who have served the College for 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40 years. Congratulations to all students and staff who were recognised.

Fun activities and the fete that followed the early morning events allowed us to focus our support on raising funds for Marist Solidarity projects. Our students were so proactive in organising alongside staff activities to events of the day. There was a great understanding that we were expressing our commitment to our values and aligning the celebration with our heritage and outreach to others who need our help. The Social Justice Captains announced at our Secondary Assembly yesterday that we had raised over $10,000 for Marist Solidarity on the day.

The celebration of our students’ engagement with College life has continued in recent weeks with great personal achievements in the Shine program and outstanding team performances in ACC Hockey carnival highlighted at the Principal’s Assembly this week. The Year 6 students shone at the Winter Sports Carnival held at John XXIII College. Newman had teams competing in Netball, Hockey, Soccer and AFL. Throughout this term, students have been training and preparing for this carnival during Unit Sport each week. The focus for the day was to enjoy their chosen sport and to engage with the other schools in a supportive playing environment. Overall, it was a fantastic day with excellent participation from all students involved. The AFL team was participating in the Dockers Cup and we are extremely happy to announce that the boys came away victorious, playing some superb football and beating Court Grammar in the final.  

A big thank you to teachers and parents that coached on that day and to staff at Marcellin who have coached and managed over the NAS winter season.  

Marist Netball Carnival

The Marist Netball Carnival was a great success and celebration of our Marist Family and Family Spirit. Thirteen schools across Australia came together in Perth to enjoy a week of games, camaraderie and community living.  I know that our team thoroughly enjoyed competing against the best.  A national carnival takes many months to create and then co-ordinate. Thank you to Carnival Convenors, Mrs Marnie Barrett, Ms Tasha Richards, Mrs Amanda Johnson and Ms Kate Thayer.

Semester Reports

During this week, Semester Reports will be released and this gives families the opportunity to convene with their children and discuss the feedback provided in the documents. One very constructive strategy I find useful in unpacking the report, is for parents to let their children lead the conversation about successes, challenges and opportunities. Tuesday, July 18 is set aside for parents to book times with teachers to gain further insights into the academic and pastoral progress of their children.

The semester has finished and it is time for our students and staff to enjoy a well-deserved break. Thank you for your support of the College over the semester. Many parents will continue to work in the coming fortnight while some have planned breaks to enjoy. Whatever the situation, I do hope every family finds some time to be together and enjoy precious moments.

Andrew Watson