Welcome to the 2020 Academic Year
Welcome back to you all. We were very excited to see all our students return for 2020, ready and eager for another brilliant year of learning. I offer a special welcome to our new Year 7 students and to the 20 new students who have joined us in Years 8 to 12. I also take this opportunity to introduce the new members of staff to the College Community:
Nakkita Egan: Head of Students
Tanya Almeida: Communications Coordinator
Sarah Wallace: Religious Education
Melissa Vella: Mathematics, Science, Fiontar
Pei Sun Lai: Music, Instrumental Program Coordinator
Thy Nguyen: Mathematics
Yasmin Quinlan: Humanities, English
Madeleine Martin: Learning Diversity
Caitlyn Devlin: Drama
Stephen Woodhams: Finance Officer
New Instrumental Program Staff
Andrew Day, Kathryn Cooper, Judy Ferguson, Darcie Foley, Gabriella Ibbot, Karen Ngo, Aaron Syrjanen.
Opening School Assembly
At our Opening School Assembly on Monday, 3 February, I asked each member of St Columba’s College to commit to three personal challenges that would support our community in meeting some of the goals we have set for ourselves:
- “Do One Thing” – committing to our sustainable community on behalf of our mother Earth.
- Being Compassion – taking action because we are moved by what we see and feel.
- Participation and community building – taking advantage of the opportunities that are offered at St Columba’s College.
Below is a brief excerpt of my address to the students at this assembly, providing some context to one of the three challenges we have been asked to take on.
Over time, as human beings, our ill-considered and negligent use of the earth and her resources has had an impact on earth’s capacity to sustain life. The good news is that the scientists are telling us that it’s not too late and that we can still make a difference, if we act now and act urgently. So, while the debate rages on in the background, as individuals, and as a community, we decide to take action.
This year, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” turns five years old. It’s an encyclical, a piece of writing from the Pope, in this case Pope Francis, that helps us to reflect on what our Catholic faith calls us to do, and who we are to be. Laudato Si’ is a document of breath-taking beauty. It communicates a sense of life, a real hope for the healing of creation.
But Laudato Si’ is not only beautiful. It is also challenging, and it is persistent in its recognition that creation was entrusted to our care and that we have let selfishness and short-sightedness lead to its ruin.
I turn to Laudato Si’, because, no matter what the climate scientists or the climate deniers, might be debating, it is our Catholic faith that calls us strongly into right relationship with our planet – to balance the take with the give, the use with the protect, to ensure that we live symbiotically, in a mutually beneficial relationship with our Earth.
So, back to our action. Some of you will remember that in 2018 I asked you to “do one thing”. Well it’s time to resurrect our “do one thing” to ensure that we are protecting the planet that affords us life. As a school, we will continue our focus on becoming a more sustainable community, one that is more in tune with the earth, we will work to ensure that we are protecting and nurturing our patch of the planet, being mindful of our consumption and about how our use of resources contributes to the broader global crisis. Community action requires individual commitment, so I am asking you to leave this assembly thinking about an action you will commit to. Becoming a more sustainable community is not something that we arrive at, it’s something that we are challenged by and continue to work towards every single day.