At the end of what seemed like a long first week back, I was reminded of the privilege I have in leading a school such as Salesian College Chadstone. Tired and contemplating the weekend ahead, the finish of the Friday school day led to a meeting at one of our feeder Catholic Primary Schools to meet the new Principal, to be quickly followed by the 25 Year Reunion of the Class of 1998, and before I could think of returning home, I had the annual Cabaret evening. While I thought this was somewhat overwhelming, I shouldn’t have worried as each in its own way was energy giving.
Spending time with the men of the Class of 1998, sharing their stories as they reminisced, and answering their questions as they set about rediscovering their school was a pleasure, a reminder of the wonderful things that have been taking place over a very long time here at the College.
Feeling like a proud father is the best way to describe the emotions I experienced as a member of the audience at the Cabaret Night on Friday evening. To witness the talent of students, staff and other members of our wonderful community as they played and sung and shared their talents was a privilege. The courage, the joy and the genuine community feel of the night was energy giving.
On this positive note I welcome everyone back to the final term of the Year. I hope all in the community were able to enjoy a restful and pleasant break, finding time to enjoy the great weather and are now looking forward to a productive end to the year. Term Four is always extremely busy with numerous events and celebrations to mark the completion of the school year. In particular, I look forward to our celebrations to farewell the Class of 2018.
Tonight, Tuesday 16 October marks the annual Salesian College Chadstone Arts and Technology Exhibition to be held in the Naylon building. The exhibition highlights the work our boys have completed in their Arts and Technology classes throughout the year and the evening is a joyous occasion as we share the boys’ work with their parents. I wish to thank all the Art and Technology staff for their work with the boys throughout the year and their work in bringing the exhibition together.
The past few weeks has provided much to celebrate. We completed Term Three with our annual Sports Award Night. I would like to thank all the families who joined us to celebrate the sporting achievements for the 2018 year. Thanks to Mr Steve Loonstra and Mr Domenic Scarpino for their efforts in bringing the night together. Our guests on the night delivered a real highlight.
This Friday, our Year 12 students will culminate their secondary schooling with the Valedictory Assembly and Mass and Dinner before setting off to prepare for their upcoming exams which begin in just over two weeks’ time. This period is a most significant time for our Year 12 students. I encourage them to focus on the advice of their teachers and to use their time wisely, making the best use of the resources available to them. I encourage parents to work with their sons to keep them on track and not to lose focus with all the other distractions that are placed in front of them at this time of the year. Celebrations should be put on hold until after their last exam.
I advised the boys to make the most of their remaining time they have before their exams, plan well, work hard and avoid distractions. Focus on the things they can control and not on the things they cannot. Exam timetables, questions on the paper and the weather are amongst many things they have to be disciplined to ignore. We advised them to create a series of short term and medium term goals, divide their work up into to doable tasks and set about putting one foot in front of the other and sticking to the task at hand.
A word of warning, as there is a tendency for some students to lose their way at this time of the year, allowing themselves to think the end of classes is the end of the year, thus starting their celebrations a bit early. We encourage the boys to study hard and place pressure on themselves to do their very best as they prepare for their exams. We reminded them that after a tough four week period preparing for their exams they will enjoy a three month break before having to think about university, so to remain focussed. Talk of finishing and celebrations, should not keep them from the job at hand. Students need to keep their lives in perspective, set their goals and go about achieving them on a daily basis.
As I have said at this time of the year each year, this time in a student’s life can be stressful, so I ask all the boys to be mindful of their behaviours in these pressured times. Staff, family and friends are all there to lend the support needed at this difficult time and the boys have to remember this. In fact, it is in their best interest that they ensure that their connectedness with those around them remains positive, as it is likely that it will be these connections which will provide the greatest support and sanity at this crazy time. I also encourage them to embrace the intensity of their existence at this time as it will be an appreciation of what they have done which will give them the greatest sense of satisfaction and joy when they reap the rewards of their labours.
Remember from a very early age we all face pressures from without and within. These pressures can weigh us down, dampen our enthusiasm and energy. Some people seem to cope well, whereas for others, even the smallest setback can prove to be a real hurdle. Struggle is part of life, no matter who we are or what stage in life we are tackling. The way we deal with pressure says much about who we are. Overcoming life’s struggles requires us to being open to new experiences, new ways, to expect the pain of growth, to nurture difference rather than to deny it. Opening ourselves up to possibilities and, from there, developing a vision and a passion for the way ahead. The pressure of exams, whilst seeming overwhelming will only last a short time and at the end of that time one can determine the feelings one experiences. I ask, will you choose to have the great feelings of satisfaction and joy knowing that you have given your best shot, or will you condemn yourself to feelings of regret knowing that you have let an opportunity pass without giving it your best shot?
At Salesian College we want our students to feel safe, supported and respected at school and to ensure that all students are treated equally. As part of our commitment to this, the College has run the ‘Respectful Relationships’ Program for all boys throughout the year. As it comes to an end we are undertaking a review to ensure we are meeting our goals. To this end we are encouraging families to have a voice by completing our Family Survey on Respectful Relationships at Salesian College. Details have been forwarded to families and we ask them to complete this valuable feedback for us to ensure we look after all the boys to the best of our ability. Please look out for information regarding an upcoming seminar, ‘Changing the Story of our Young People’.
The family survey can be completed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XRQ53JW
I wish our students well in the coming weeks and remind them that we are right behind them and that they go with God’s blessing.