This year we begin the 65th year of providing education for the young women of Geelong and surrounding districts. Just over 200 years ago 31 students gathered in a small schoolhouse in Sydney to begin the first Catholic education in Australia. A national theme, “Faith in the future” has been developed to mark the 200 years. This theme reflects the purpose of Catholic education to form students in their faith, and to provide an education that enables our graduates to make a meaningful contribution to the world, along with a commitment to build on the great work of those who have come before us, and to provide a Catholic education for future generations of students. The story of Catholic education includes the arrival of our own Brigidine sisters. The first arriving in 1883 in Coonamble and then in 1886 when four sisters from Tullow came to start a school in Echuca. I often marvel and feel humbled by the faith of these young women (and men) of faith who left everything known to them, often at such young ages to come to the other side of the world, answering the call to minister in the vocation of education. How extraordinary. We have much to be grateful for and a legacy to treasure and continue to steward.

 In our 65th year, we are exploring the Kildare Ministries value of ‘Wonder’. Throughout the year in College events, conversations, our classrooms and staff meetings, our prayer and rituals we will stop to ponder both the gifts and challenges this value brings to who we are and how we are as a College community. A dictionary definition of wonder uses words such as amazement, surprise, fascination, astonishment, or sometimes admiration. It may also be a point of questioning or curiosity or maybe even doubt. In our faith tradition, wonder is more, it’s about going beyond, being more than meets the eye, a moment of pause, a moment of transcendence. It is in these moments a trace of God is revealed to us. In these moments we are invited into God’s grace and desire for us to have a life of abundance, liberation, justice and peace. So often with the noise, screens and busyness that can define western culture we can forget to stop or miss moments of pause and wonder.  

Maybe this week you will find just one moment to stop and marvel at a sunrise, find amazement in your children’s magnificence, be disturbed by a deep question or reflect on the qualities of someone you deeply admire. 

Staffing

Kildare Ministry schools and community works value ‘Hospitality – welcoming all’ and in that spirit we extend a warm Clonard welcome to our new students and staff. This year we welcome 168 new year 7s, 12 new students in Years 8-12 and the following new staff:

– Rachael Baker (Learning Support Officer)

– Meagan Canaway (Teaching Staff – RE/PE)

– Aimee Pabst (Administration Officer – Front Office)

– Karlie Robinson (Teaching Staff – Science)

– Jade Schultz (Counsellor)

We also welcome Laura Brockway, Donna Lannan and Kate Connor who will be with us Term 1. Over the break, we learned that Ian Callahan will be retiring at the end of Term 1 after some time of leave.   

Our Wellbeing leadership this year will be shared by Tania Anticev and Andrew Damon. Wellbeing teachers are always the first place to go if you have questions or concerns as they have the most contact with students. They are supported by the Year levels Wellbeing and Community Leaders (WELCOMs).

We thank Ian for his dedication to the College and commitment to the students and wish him every blessing in the next stage of his journey.

Family Engagement

We know that research tells us that family engagement has a positive impact on student outcomes. We were thrilled to see almost 200 members of our community attend our Years 10-12 information session on Tuesday evening. This session aimed to provide information to support both families and students in further understanding elements of the various senior pathways and the supports we provide through our Careers Practitioner Gab Mahon. This coming week Year 7 parents/carers have the opportunity to come and meet each other and staff and gain further information to support their daughter’s transition. We thank all families who take the time to engage with these College events.

College Celebrations

Next week we will celebrate our 2020 VCE and VCAL High Achievers, our Opening of the Year Mass and commission our College leaders. Due to COVID Safe protocols these will have varying formats to previous years with either caps on numbers or restrictions on visitors. We are grateful that we can mark these rituals in our College year. We welcome, Fr Minh Tran, one of our College chaplains who will lead us in our College mass. We congratulate the class on 2020 on their achievements and acknowledge our Dux Sidney Hoei who received an ATAR of 99.8 and our Year 12 VCAL award winner Chloe Senkans. On Tuesday at our High Achievers we will congratulate the Year 11 and 12 VCAL Award recipients and the students who received the top study score for their subject and those students who received an ATAR above 90 – an outstanding achievement.  

COVID Safe Updates

We continue to monitor and respond to requirements and protocols as the advice changes. This week showed us how quickly things can change. We maintain a commitment to the health and safety of our community and are working to ensure all College events and processes meet the stated requirements. Visitors to the College are asked to sign in and wear a mask whilst in any indoor area. Staff are currently completing an online training module on Infection Prevention and Control for COVID 19.

There has been a great energy this week, as we look forward to the year ahead. We go into the year with the confidence that we met every challenge and obstacle that 2020 presented to us.  

And so we begin with hope and purpose.

Blessings

Luci Quinn, College Principal