It is with great pleasure I once again welcome all members of the La Salle College community to the 2022 academic year, especially our new Year 7 parents and students and those new to the College in Years 8-12 – welcome!
I would also like to thank all our amazing parents for their understanding and support as we continue to implement the necessary Education Protocols mandated by the State Government last week. We could not have done so without your cooperation. We pray that all our families are well, and that those with COVID positive family members and/or friends have a speedy and full recovery.
As we start a new year, I would like to encourage parents, as important members of our College community to join us in all events that are referenced in the Newsletter, College Calendar and reminder emails, even when it is an online forum. We are a living community and our life and success (and wellbeing of your children) depend on your engagement, energy and support – it takes a village to raise a child. Research indicates improved student outcomes for those students whose parents stay connected in some way to their children’s schooling. Often this is as subtle and indirect as attending meetings. We have deliberately organised parent evenings in the first half of this term so that families are kept informed of the critical elements for each particular year level. Attendance at these evenings is important to keep abreast of changes in education and is in the best interests of your children. I look forward to ‘seeing’ you at these online events.
At our Opening College Mass and Assembly on Wednesday 2 February 2022, students from Years 7 to 12 gathered outdoors to give thanks, to pray for the year ahead and to acknowledge the academic achievement of the class of 2021. I am grateful to Father Liam Ryan, Assistant Parish Priest and Deacon Aaron Peters for leading our community in the Holy Eucharist prior to acknowledging the academic achievements of the Class of 2021.
The High Achievers Assembly has featured on the College calendar since the late 1990s. Since then, the first assembly for the year has been an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate excellence and hard work. It is designed to be a moment of celebration for the recipients but also a moment of inspiration for all the students currently attending the College. We all appreciate there are many ways to measure success and accomplishment. Rightly so, we need to celebrate the achievement of acquiring outstanding academic results, however it would be short sighted to let oneself be defined by this standard construct whether it be for a student who has excelled or a student who has achieved a lesser number. Students require a myriad of skills and values that are required to build meaningful relationships in the workplace, socially and at home.
Many years of research conducted by the Gallup Organization suggest that the most effective people are those who understand their strengths and behaviours. These people are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, their careers and their families. (Gallup – Clifton Strengths). Another statement by researchers from the Demographics Group presented by Bernard Salt believes that students in the 2020s will need to develop skills in the future that will shift and shuffle… the skillset that today’s students need is the ability to be flexible and to pitch their skillset. As such today’s students’ need to be self-confident and sociable.
The College’s Onsite program provides our young people with the challenge of developing their confidence within the College and in the workplace. On Tuesday 8 February, the Onsite Induction was held at the RISE in Maylands. It was a very successful day with a variety of information provided to prepare our students as they embark on a learning program that will enable them to spend time within the workforce in an area of interest. I am grateful for the dedicated work of co-ordinator, Mr Alf Di Pino, the Onsite team and the many local businesses within the community. The generosity of the organisations that support our Year 11 and 12 students in this remarkable program, allows for the development of skills and confidence within a very different learning environment.
As all students across the College settle into a new academic year, the challenge of a very different learning environment has been the reality for students new to the College, particularly our Year 7 students. Our Year 7 students under the guidance of Ms Laura Shaughnessy, Leader of Wellbeing – Year 7, have had a very busy start to the year. Last week on Wednesday and Friday all of the Year 7 students participated in the Year 7 Experience at Ern Halliday and at the College. I was privileged to be able to spend some time with the students and was delighted to witness the new friendships and care for one another that they exhibited. I was also pleased to see that no arrows went astray during the archery competition!
From archery to Ball gowns, Week 2 was certainly a busy one. It was a privilege to attend the Year 12 Ball on Friday 11 February 2022 at Optus Stadium. The Year 12 students and their partners looked fabulous in their formal attire and were a credit to themselves, their families, and the College. This was our first formal event of the year and of my time at the College I can honestly say that I was extremely proud of how these students presented themselves and behaved. This night is always a special one for students, and myself and other staff present enjoyed it immensely. My sincere thanks to Mrs Amy Boughton (Leader of Wellbeing – Year 12) for her organisation of the Ball and all staff who attended the evening.
As we navigate through this academic year together, there will be challenges that we will all face both individually and as a community. To face these challenges, requires all within our community to do the best that they can.
In the words of Anne Frank “ Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.”
So as we experience the year together, I have every expectation that we will meet the challenges and grow to be more respectful, more kind to one another, as we learn to include each other in our deeds, words and actions, in real life, real time, and social platforms.
Best wishes and God bless!