As this is the first newsletter following the feast of season, it is timely to remember that in our faith tradition Easter is not just a day but a season of 50 days in which we celebrate an encounter with the Risen Christ. One of the things that touches me the most are the stories from scripture during this time in the Church’s year where Jesus comes amongst his followers in times of doubt, fear, disbelief and reveals himself bringing both understanding and peace. It speaks of a God who never gives up on us and will keep inviting us into relationships.

This Sunday we mark Mother’s Day where we express our love and gratitude towards our mothers and those who have ‘mothered in our lives, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, fairy godmothers. There will have been many times where these women have been the face of God for us in their care, forgiveness, protection, advocacy and love. We look forward to celebrating next Friday morning with the mother figures in our lives as we gather for our annual Mother’s Day breakfast, held in the week following Mother’s Day due to the Year 12 Retreat. This year we especially hold in our prayers mothers who have been separated by the pandemic, that as our world re opens they may be reunited with loved ones. We recognise that Mother’s Day can also be difficult for some families and in our year of Compassion know that you too are especially in our prayers.

The Year 12 Retreat has been a chance for our final year students to take some time for reflection and renewal as they come towards the mid point of their last year with us. I had the privilege of joining with them on Wednesday evening at Rutherford Park for their liturgy. It was such a fulfilling experience to be in the presence of this amazing group of young people. Their respectful engagement and their connection to each other and the staff was a tribute to their character. The liturgy focused on our value of Compassion for self and others. I hear many reflecting about how they will miss the connections with each other and find it hard to believe they are coming to the end of their time at Clonard. We also enjoyed the fun of the Wellbeing Group talent quest. I am grateful to the staff who went away with the students and enabled this experience to happen.

One of our goals for the year was to offer opportunities to reconnect as a community after the last two years. Over the coming months there are a number of College events where families are invited to join with us.

Firstly, our Mother’s Day breakfast is at capacity with over 130 attendees.

Families who are attending our upcoming Subject Expo and Senior Pathways information evening on Monday 16 May are welcome to come along a little earlier for a simple BBQ tea.

Associate Professor Sandra Milligan will join us on Thursday 19 May to speak about the work of the New Metrics for Success partnership and some of the current thinking about the future of education. Please see further information by following the link.

On Monday 23 May we are farewelling the Brigidine Sisters from Geelong following 65 years of ministry and service. Mass will be held at the College followed by refreshments. We have 100 places available for community members to join us for this event. If you are interested please follow the TryBooking link. We are looking forward to finally being able to mark this historic occasion, whilst sharing memories and reconnecting with many of the sisters who have called Geelong and Clonard home.

There have been various communications to families and students regarding our uniform expectations. Expectations for uniform sit alongside our expectations for behaviour, for meeting academic requirements and for attendance. We know that the 2 years of COVID meant many of our students did not have the expectations or boundaries that the school asked of them. We also know that expectations and boundaries are supportive of young people as they develop into young adults. From next week we will be undertaking a uniform blitz to reinforce the expectations in this area. Most of our students wear our uniform well and with pride. We thank parents and families for their support in this area. Our work in preparing our Positive Behaviour for Learning matrix will further articulate the expectations we have for being a community of respect, engagement and resilience. We hope to have this work ready to launch in Term 3.

Finally, we wish to share with our community that our Stage 1 building project for a new science, technology and general classrooms has been submitted for town planning approval. Final financial costings are being provided to the Kildare Education Ministries Board for their endorsement so we can progress the project hoping to have a build start in 2023.