From the Principal

I would like to extend a very warm welcome back to all the students and their families in the Salesian College Chadstone community, for what is shaping up to be a very exciting 2019 school year. A very special welcome to the boys and their families who join us for the first time, as they begin their Salesian education (this includes our 202 Year 7 students and the 23 new students across the other year levels).  It is my fond hope that all students have had a good break and are ready to take up the challenges the new school year presents.

One of the more exciting events for the year will be the completion and opening of the new Student Services and Administration building, which is on target to happen late this term, with full operations to commence as of Term 2. It has been a long process but one that I think will be well worth the wait. I thank all in the community for the way they have adapted to the inconvenience and adjusted where needed to ensure the school continues to function as normal.

Reflecting briefly on the VCE results of 2018 we are pleased that there was some improvement made on our previous year’s results, knowing, however, that there is still plenty of room for improvement. We will work with our staff, with a particular focus with the VCE staff, to look to make adjustments where needed in our pursuit of academic excellence.

The improvement last year came as a result of more boys in the middle band achieving stronger results more in line with their capabilities. When this factor was combined with a good number of individual high achieving boys, the College was able to improve a couple of key indicators, and hold ground in the other areas. I would also like to acknowledge the group of boys whose results didn’t quite meet the criteria to be recognised at the Dux Assembly but are also worthy of note. Unfortunately there are still too many boys underachieving, who I’m sure will reflect on their results knowing they were capable of so much more and will be disappointed.

The College was generally pleased with the academic achievements of the Class of 2018, with nineteen boys (13%), performing exceptionally well, achieving an ATAR score of 90 or above. The College Dux for 2018, with an ATAR score of 99.6 was Anthony Sirait. Other pleasing aspects of the VCE results include; 34% of the boys obtaining an ATAR score over 80 and more than half the cohort of Year 12 boys gaining an ATAR of 70 or over.  The College average ATAR score continues to be well above the state average for boys.

On Thursday 14 February 2019 we will gather for the 2018 Dux Assembly, where we will recognise the outstanding achievements of the students of the Class of 2018 and the fine achievements of boys from all other year levels last year. We extend an invitation to all in our community to join us for these celebrations.

Last Friday, the College community celebrated the opening school Mass where we welcomed in the new school year. Included in our celebrations was the welcoming ceremony for new staff and new students. All students new to the College were presented with a College badge and their House badge. All new staff received a framed copy of the Salesian Charter having received their College and House badges at our Staff Mass earlier in the week. We also inducted the 2019 Year 10 and 11 College leaders. It was a wonderful gathering full of pomp and ceremony.

Next Tuesday the College will run a Parent Information Night for all year levels, to highlight our plans for the coming year.  We are hoping as many parents as possible will be able to join us to ensure we keep families well informed on a number of very exciting educational initiatives and remind all in the community of our expectations. Of particular importance is the new curriculum framework and processes for dealing with boys not meeting College expectations which are to be unpacked at this gathering.

Whilst we understand that the vast majority of the boys settle in to the routine of the school day easily, the new measures in our student management processes are for the small minority of our boys who need reminding of the expectations we have of all boys in the community. With 1075 boys commencing the year with us it is imperative that our basic rules and values are respected to ensure we maintain a productive and joy filled learning environment. To this end there will be a number of new initiatives implemented over the year that we believe will assist us in further improving the learning culture of the College and assist all boys in getting themselves organised and ready to participate fully in their learning. All families have received an outline of the changes to the student management process and I encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the changes and contact the College if there is anything unclear. Attendance at the Parent Information Night will help unpack this further.

The Year 7 boys and their teachers headed off on Monday for their three day camp at Camp Rumbug. I visited the camp on Tuesday to witness many happy boys enjoying getting to know each other and having a great time in all the different activities. We hope they all have a wonderful experience and get to make many new friendships.

The College would like to welcome the following staff, who either join us for the first time or are returning after a long break from the College.

Nesrene Barakat Savio English, Oratory, Humanities
Samuel Bentley Savio Humanities, English, Oratory/RE
Dylan Chow Moroney Humanities, English, Oratory/RE
Sally Cox Savio Science
Mary Cox/Loonstra Savio Oratory, Humanities and English
Samantha Curran Collinson ICT
Alana Dare Itinerant – Vocal
Chris Donaldson Savio Oratory, Re and English
Georgina Dow Moroney Oratory, Science, Maths
Simon Greely Savio Oratory, RE, Engish and Maths
Jayden Hawkes Moroney Sports Assistant
Atul Khambete Annecy Physics, Maths
Linzy Marsden Annecy Outdoor Education Assistant
Sean Mundy Collinson Maths, Science
Tristan O’Brien Savio Science and RE
Nicholas Place Annecy Technology Assistant
Allan Qi Collinson Technology Assistant
Emily Roach Collinson Oratory, English and VCAl
Tori Whitten Moroney Humanities, English, Oratory/RE

I hope all in the community are looking forward to the new school year with the same sense of anticipation and hope I have, as I look to what is to come. Whilst I understand that pondering a new year can be somewhat daunting and can bring a sense of anxiety, we encourage all in the community to see it as a time of great joy and excitement, a chance to implement new changes, a chance to get things right for those who may not have had a great year in 2018 and look forward to the new experiences that they that may encounter in 2019.

My reflection to start the year picks up on the theme of journey. Each year as I welcome the new Year 7 cohort I explain to the parents that they and their sons are about to commence an exhilarating journey. A journey that is sure to have highs and lows, ups and downs, times of challenge and times of great joy and achievement. So how does one prepare for such a journey?

I present a few ideas that may increase your chances of a successful journey.

I believe the key to any journey being successful is firstly knowing where we are going, why we are going and what we would like to have achieved when we finally get to our destination.

Identifying where we are going in the first instance allows us to set a clear path and identify what we must do in order to get there. Each boy, whilst sharing similar destinations, will have their own specific end point or purpose and it is important they clearly understand the implications of setting out on their personal passage. Regardless of the final end point, all journeys require a plan and some key markers on the way to ensure we are on the right path. So I ask all the boys to think seriously about where they want to go and identify what they will need to do to get there. Remembering that all long journeys are broken into smaller achievable sections, and students terms, semesters and years are good ways to break down the six year long journey. So identify clear markers at these points to ensure you are on the right track.

I also want to highlight a very important element of any journey, and that is to enjoy the experiences and adventures along the way. Sometimes we get so focused on the final outcome that we forget to take in the wonderful scenery along the way and ignore the significant people who are there to ensure we are successful in getting to where we set out to go. With this in mind I give the following pointers which I picked up from an article I read the other day, that may help us in setting our path for the journey ahead regardless of where we are at the moment.

  1. Focus on commitment, not motivation.

Just how committed are you to getting to your final destination? How important is it for you, and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to get there? If you find yourself fully committed, motivation will follow.

  1. Seek knowledge, not results.

If you focus on the excitement of discovery, improving, exploring and experimenting, your motivation will always be fuelled. If you focus only on results, your motivation will be like weather—it will die the minute you hit a storm. So the key is to focus on the journey, not the destination. Keep thinking about what you are learning along the way and what you can improve.

  1. Make the journey fun.

It’s an awesome game! The minute you make it serious, there’s a big chance it will start carrying a heavy emotional weight and you will lose perspective and become stuck again.

  1. Get rid of stagnating thoughts.

Thoughts influence feelings and feelings determine how you view your work. You have a lot of thoughts in your head, and you always have a choice of which ones to focus on: the ones that will make you emotionally stuck (fears, doubts) or the ones that will move you forward (excitement, experimenting, trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone).

  1. Use your imagination.

The next step after getting rid of negative thoughts is to use your imagination. When things go well, you are full of positive energy, and when you are experiencing difficulties, you need to be even more energetic. So rename your situation. If you keep repeating I hate my work, guess which feelings those words will evoke? It’s a matter of imagination! You can always find something to learn from even from the worst boss in the world at the most boring job. I have a great exercise for you: Just for three days, think and say positive things only. See what happens.

  1. Stop being nice to yourself.

Motivation means action and action brings results. Sometimes your actions fail to bring the results you want. So you prefer to be nice to yourself and not put yourself in a difficult situation. You wait for the perfect timing, for an opportunity, while you drive yourself into stagnation and sometimes even into depression. Get out there, challenge yourself, do something that you want to do even if you are afraid.

  1. Get rid of distractions.

Meaningless things and distractions will always be in your way, especially those easy, usual things you would rather do instead of focusing on new challenging and meaningful projects. Learn to focus on what is the most important. Write a list of time-wasters and hold yourself accountable to not do them.

  1. Don’t rely on others.

You should never expect others to do it for you, not even your parents, friend or teacher. They are all busy with their own needs. No one will make you happy or achieve your goals for you. It’s all on you.

  1. Plan.

Know your three steps forward. You do not need more. Fill out your weekly calendar, noting when you will do what and how. When-what-how is important to schedule. Review how each day went by what you learned and revise what you could improve.

  1. Protect yourself from burnout.

It’s easy to burn out when you are very motivated. Observe yourself to recognize any signs of tiredness and take time to rest. Your body and mind rest when you schedule relaxation and fun time into your weekly calendar. Do diverse tasks, keep switching between something creative and logical, something physical and still, working alone and with a team. Switch locations. Meditate, or just take deep breaths, close your eyes, or focus on one thing for five minutes.

You lack motivation not because you are lazy or don’t have a goal. Even the biggest stars, richest business people or the most accomplished athletes get lost sometimes. What makes them motivated is the curiosity about how much better or faster they can get. So above all, be curious, and this will lead you to your goals and success.

I finish with a couple of quotes that may help motivate us along the way:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”  —Aristotle

“There is no passion to be found in playing small—in settling for a life that is less than what you are capable of living.” —Nelson Mandela

And finally, to get from where you are to where you want to be, become acutely aware of the choices you make each day that lead you away from your desired goals. Become conscious of every single choice you make today, so you can begin to make choices that fall in line with the direction of your dreams for tomorrow.

Mr Rob Brennan