It is hard to believe this is the last newsletter for the semester. With school life being at its fullest expression over the past 20 weeks I know that students, staff and most likely families will be looking forward to the holiday period for a reset and a gentler pace.

There is much to be grateful for as we look back over the semester. This morning I met with our Year 11 SRC Leaders, Summer and Kate who are leading our Student Led Assembly next week. There were so many aspects of College life that they wanted to reflect on and also advertise in terms of opportunities for Semester 2 that we couldn’t fit them all into the time we had!! I want to acknowledge the collaborative nature of our student leadership group who have worked to ensure our broader student body can be engaged in a broad range of extra curricular activities that reflect our College values. Most recently we have hosted Sustainability Week, the Geelong Schools Rainbow Alliance meeting and today our first multicultural festival day.

This week the Trustees of Kildare Ministries released their position on the Voice to Parliament Referendum. They have asked that we share this with our communities. The full statement can be found with this newsletter and on our website following the link. The following is a brief excerpt from the statement. It is an expression of the courage of our trustees as the faith leaders of our ministries and has been the fruit of a significant period of prayer discernment and dialogue.

The Trustees of Kildare Ministries are steadfast and consistent with their commitment to inclusive and empowered communities and see this as a fuller expression of our Vision and Mission statement and a reflection of our Values in action. The Voice to Parliament is a first step towards a better Australia. It is one that unites us and one that respects and dignifies the oldest culture in the world. In the tradition of the founding charisms, Kildare Ministries acknowledges the sacredness of the land known as Our Common Home.

The Trustees of Kildare Ministries support the referendum on the Constitution.

                                Taken from the Statement from the Trustees of Kildare Ministries 13 June 2023

We are thankful for the wisdom and leadership of the Trustees and their ongoing commitment to our ministries.

Last night I attended the annual general meeting of the Board of Kildare Education Ministries (KEM). The Board is the governing authority of our College. The Board reflected on its development and achievements over the past year and outlined key areas for focus during the forthcoming 12 months to:

Develop an ongoing professional learning program

  • Review annually KEM Board’s mission, strategies and goals
  • Establish and review processes for the ongoing care of Principals and senior leaders.
  • Influence and support the effective operation of Stewardship Councils in their advisory roles
  • Establish, clarify and refine processes for the oversight of physical, financial and environmental resources
  • Identify potential Board directors and Stewardship Council members through auditing of skills and personal competencies
  • Develop understanding of contemporary education initiatives for all Board members
  • Promote a planned and systematic approach to leadership development throughout KEM schools and across TKM networks.

Increasingly the relationships and clarity of interface between the Board and the College is improving as we grow in our understanding of governance responsibilities and implications.

Our College Stewardship Council, which acts as an advisory body to the Principal at a local level, welcomed four new members this year to ensure it remains a dynamic and supportive group in the leadership of the College. We welcome:

Patricia Boom – past Director of Mission, St John of God Hospital

Linda Bentley – past Clonard staff member and College Alumni

Scott Bowman – current parent

Rob Shields – current parent

Greer Lamaro Haintz – KEM Board Rep and College Alumni

I am extremely grateful for the energy, passion and insight they bring to our work for the College.

Much of the work of the Stewardship Council over the past few years has been supporting the development of our Master Plan with both financial and architectural planning. I am pleased to announce that the finalisation of contracts on Stage One of our next master plan is imminent. Stage One will see the build of a two storey $8 million Science and Technology space. Our wonderful architects CHT have described the project as follows:

The STEM Learning Hub at Clonard College in Geelong is an exciting new project that received planning approval in late 2022. This project is the first stage of a Master Plan that aims to connect the north and south sides of the school. The design was developed through extensive consultation with multiple stakeholders, including the school community and leading educators, to ensure that it captures the College’s pedagogic vision and attracts the wider school community.

The design of the building incorporates state-of-the-art STEM spaces that reflect the latest trends and best practices in STEM education. The aim is to provide a world-class learning environment that prepares students for the future and equips them with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

The building is also a sculptural response designed to connect with the natural landscape, maximizing views to Corio Bay, and enhancing the existing significant landscaping. The design intent was a continuation of the sites’ cloistered campus, creating intimate gathering spaces between existing campus buildings that will provide covered outdoor space and view line connection. The design of the building also takes into consideration the natural surroundings, creating a seamless connection between the indoors and outdoors.

The STEM Learning Hub at Clonard College is an exciting addition to the school’s facilities and reflects the College’s commitment to providing a modern and dynamic learning environment for its students. The building’s design, facilities, and technology infrastructure aim to inspire and engage students in all STEM subjects.

It is anticipated that works onsite will commence early Term 3 and take approximately 12 months to complete. The new building will be situated at the west end of the Tullow Lawn. Fortunately, there will not be any disruption to current classes however there will be some changes to student pathways moving across Tullow Lawn to the southern side of the campus grounds.

With the commencement of the new build it is timely that we seek the wisdom of our community in inviting possible names for our new space. The Trustees of Kildare Ministries have a ‘Naming and Renaming Policy’ that outlines the principles by which a new name is determined.  We welcome your suggestions by completing the Clonard College – Science and Technology Building Naming form by clicking here.

The chosen name is to be in keeping with Kildare Ministries’ Vision, Mission and Values and reflect our Catholic Identity and ethical standards. The name might also align with the charism and tradition of the Brigidine and Presentation Sisters. It is our intention to seek input from students, staff, families, Stewardship Council and the broader Clonard community including alumni. The final decision about the name is made by the KEM Board after recommendations have been made following a discernment process at the College by the Leadership Team and Stewardship Council. We welcome ideas from our community which can be contributed through the following link. Suggestions are to be received by 17 July. We look forward to sharing the progress of this exciting project with our community over the coming 12 months.

I close this week with the prayer we prayed as a College community this morning to celebrate the cultural diversity of our College. It takes courage to embrace difference and so it is timely that in a year where we are challenging ourselves to ‘be not afraid’ we welcome the opportunity to learn and grow together as an inclusive community. I think the highlight of our lunchtime celebration was the Open Mic in different languages – a true Clonard tradition taking on a new form! We thank Lana and Jacqueline our Year 8 Liturgy and Identity Leaders for creating this prayer for us:

God of all,

Thank you for giving us a great community where we can share our diversity through culture and traditions.

Guide us in our minds and actions to recognise and respect our differences throughout this day and all our lives.

Enrich our lives by ever widening circles of friendship and show us your presence in those who are most different from us.

We are grateful for our advantages in our developed country while we pray for those in parts of the world where hardship and loss occur.

You call us to live in peace and harmony within our beautiful multicultural country, and may we show true justice as we are called to recognise and respect the importance of each and every culture in society.

Help us to love and care for each other just as you care and love each one of us.

May the God of all love join us as we come together to share and celebrate the diversity of the people world, as one.