There is something about the first spring sunshine. It is as though Mother nature in her infinite wisdom recognises that our spirits are becoming weary as we come to the end of winter and for us in Australia near the end of third term, and she sends us a promise of new life, hope, colour, energy and warmth. With the first day of spring we mark Brigidine Day, honouring the Irish tradition that St Brigid’s Day falls on the first day of spring.  This year, inspired by our value of compassion, our Brigidine Day liturgy unveiled our new College Peace Pole as a symbol of what St Brigid stood for as a woman of peace.

Some of our Year 8 students took on the challenge of a mindful walk embracing all that marks us as a Brigidine school. Their reflections remind us that the spirit of this place is alive and present:

Brigidine Day is a day when we can celebrate new life coming, giving a way to be thankful for the things the Brigidines have done for us. As she (St Brigid) stands watching over us on Tullow, I feel her welcome and freedom as I walk into school every day.

I’m appreciative of the Brigidine Sisters who provided us with the freedom to have an education in a beautiful school. I’m appreciative that we do things to remember the sisters, like the fire that reminds us of St Brigid. I’m appreciative of nature and how well it is taken care of. I’m appreciative that in this school they acknowledge culture and have art around. I’m appreciative for the safety the school makes me feel

Over the years generations have come and gone. Strong bonds between each other have been made. Over 65 years the world has changed but the culture and traditions haven’t. To be able to come to school every day knowing that the compassion, respect, peace and hope is there every day makes me feel free and that anything is possible. Our school may have all different students but the equality shines through. We are one as a whole school. This school is my home away from home.

We have also had the joy of listening to our prospective College Captains share their dreams and aspirations for leadership and the College community in 2023. We welcomed Renee Oberin Mission and Ministry Leader for Kildare Ministries and Jordan Chisholm Co Captain 2020 to our interview panel. The calibre of the young women who had put themselves forward to lead our school as College Co Captains was outstanding and they should feel immensely proud of the way they have presented themselves thus far. The College is in very good hands. We hope to finalise our appointments of the Year 12 Leadership team before the end of term.

Last Sunday the annual Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement was launched. This year the statement is titled ‘Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse’. It points out that the roots of domestic and family violence “lie in the abuse of power to control and dominate others” and that “this stands in contrast to the relationships to which God calls us”.

We know that most often those who suffer violence and abuse in homes and families, in workplaces, and in communities, are most often women and children. This statement and the work we do to empower our students aims to support women in calling for respect in relationships; recognising that their lives and that of their children are sacred.

The Statement affirms the work being done by faith communities and organisations to support those who experience domestic and family violence and abuse, and to address the drivers and enablers of violence. Next week National Child Protection Week also embraces the message that ‘Every child, in every community, needs a fair go’.

Thank you to families who have already contributed to the annual MACSIS survey. Over the next two weeks students and staff will also have the opportunity to provide feedback that will support us in looking at our strengths and areas for improvement. Further information about MACSIS can be found here or by clicking here.  Our students are also completing the second round of PIVOT data which is provided to teachers in relation to classroom practice. This feedback also helps us to shape and target our professional learning and provides insights for teaching staff as part of their Learning and Development Program goals.

Please note information about upcoming events this week including RUOK? Day hosted by our Year 12 VCAL class on Thursday and Tri-UMPH Lite hosted by our Tri-UMPH leaders on Friday. We invite students to make a $5 donation on Friday as part of Tri-UMPH Lite to help us reach our combined target across the five Colleges of raising $30,000 to provide scholarships for trainee teachers in Viqueque, Timor Leste.

As we come to the last two weeks of term we recognise the efforts of our senior students and teachers as they come to the pointy end of finalising courses and preparing for practice exams. The power of partnership between students and staff and the invaluable place of acting on feedback provided should be something our students are embracing and seeking out at this time. We have been working on feedback as an instructional practice this year and know that it can make a significant difference to student achievement when acted on by students to move learning forward. Next week the GAT will take place on Wednesday for Year 12 students and those doing VCE Unit 3/4 subjects. This will be the first year VCAL students have also sat part of the GAT.  I ask that you continue to hold our senior students and staff in your prayers during these next few important weeks.

In the spirit of our celebration of St Brigid we close with the Prayer to St Brigid

You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us. Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.