Welcome Back – a Year of Compassion
It has been such a joy to welcome back students for the 2024 school year. There is a palpable sense of excitement and energy around the College as students get back into their study routines.
As introduced in my letter of 23 January, this year our Mary Aikenhead Ministries and College focus value is Compassion. While none of the values we espouse and live can be separated from each other, a specific focus means that we are more aware of how this particular value becomes a part of who we are and how we live our lives. It heartens me to reflect on how I have already seen compassion in abundance around the College, especially among our students. Staff members have been quick to share their experiences of witnessing our young people make each other feel welcome and included, especially our new students, as they come to be a part of our community. Thank you to these students for understanding the vulnerability that comes with being new to a place, and for ensuring that everyone has a great start in finding their place within our community.
Opening School Mass and High Achiever’s Assembly
This week we will welcome back and celebrate our 2023 students who achieved wonderful outcomes in their senior programs of study. We congratulate all of our Year 12 students on their results last year.
There is an enormous amount of statistical information that comes with the VCE results. A great deal of which is not shared in the public domain. One element of this data is what is commonly known as “adjusted scores”, a statistic that shows results predicted through the GAT versus results achieved by students. It has been particularly pleasing to see the number of studies in 2023 where the achieved scores were much higher than the predicted. A testament to the industrious work of both teachers and students, and the culture of high expectations we promote at the College.
High expectations are also part of the uniform expectations we have of our students. Our uniform is flexible, adaptable and easy to wear. We have also made several accommodations with respect to grooming requirements in response to student requests, negotiated through one of our student leadership bodies, the Student Engagement Team (SET). As a result, students are required to be in uniform as a matter of course – the three strikes procedure we were employing will no longer be in use. Students who are unable to comply with our clearly stated expectations will be issued with a lunchtime restorative workshop on the day of the infringement. After school lunchtime restoratives will also be issued for students who are unable to meet expectations. In some instances, students will be sent home to rectify their issues before they are able to return to the College.
Our Library Team have created a Parent Resources section to support parents and families. You can access this site via the Parent Library Guide tile on the SEQTA Welcome Page. Click on the tile, enter the following password when requested: SCCparentresources. Click on the “Available Titles” bar to see the list of titles available.
Wednesday 14 February marks Ash Wednesday and the commencement of the season of Lent. Lent is a special time in the Church’s liturgical calendar for reflection and action through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The College will mark Ash Wednesday with a liturgy in each House Group facilitated by the House Group Teacher. Students will be encouraged to consider how they can contribute to Project Compassion – our focus for almsgiving. They will also be challenged to consider what they could fast from. Last year we encouraged students (and adults) to think about how their technology use gets in the way of being fully present to their families, their studies, the goals they have set for themselves. We will encourage a similar focus this year.
Pope Francis speaks about Lent as a time to “pause in prayer, in order to receive the word of God, to pause like the Samaritan in the presence of a wounded brother or sister.” He goes on to say that prayer, fasting and almsgiving are part of a “movement of openness and self-emptying in which we cast out the idols that weigh us down, the attachments that imprison us.”
Lent is a time to consider these attachments that obscure our path to living fully human lives, as was embodied by Jesus throughout his ministry, and through his passion, death and resurrection.
Over the recent Christmas and New Year break the College installed 31 CCTV cameras inside most of the College’s buildings (and the 2 lifts). In all areas where CCTV cameras are installed there is clear signage advising of their presence.
These cameras allow us to increase the security across the College, protect College assets, and as an added benefit, provide additional support for the wellbeing and safety of all members of the College community.
All students have been advised of these new CCTV cameras.