From the Principal

I would like to extend a very warm welcome back to the 2020 school year to all the students and their families in the Salesian College Chadstone community. In particular, a very special welcome to all our new students and their families, including 204 Year 7 students and 26 boys across the other year levels, as they begin their Salesian education. I hope all students have had a good break and are ready to take up the challenges the new school year presents.

We have made a very good start to the year with the boys settling back in to the routine of the school day. We start the year with just over 1130 boys on our books, with most returning in good spirits and appearing to be looking forward to a very exciting year. We can look forward to a settled year with no new developments in the pipeline. We had the refurbishment of the Murdoch and De Sales buildings completed over the summer break and the partial refurbishment of the Mannix building, which will be completed in the Term One holidays. This should mean that both staff and students can look forward to uninterrupted teaching and learning for the year.

As we begin the year, I would like to reflect briefly on the VCE results of 2019. Whilst we recognised the Class of 2019, in particular the boys who have had significant success, at our Dux Assembly on Thursday, it would be remiss not to mention what has been another successful academic year. The Class of 2019 had great results with 18% of the boys achieving an ATAR score of above 90. The Dux for the year was Joseph Cefai with an outstanding score of 98.6. The Class of 2019 also attained 8% of their study scores greater than 40, well above the state average. Further to this is the success our boys achieved in being offered university places with close to 100% receiving an offer in the first round. The College would like to congratulate all boys on their results and wish them well as they move on to the next stage in their lives. We also extend our congratulations to all schools, in particular all Catholic schools for their achievements and their great work with their students.

On Friday 31 January, the College 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 students, and the presentation to all Year 7 students and other new students with a College and House Badge. All new staff received a framed copy of the Salesian Charter, having received their College and House badges at our staff mass the day before. It was a wonderful gathering full of pomp and ceremony. Our Year 12 boys were recognised with the distribution of their special Year 12 badge. We will gather on a number of occasions over the next few weeks as we launch the school year and celebrate the achievements of 2019.

This Tuesday we met with all our parents for our Information Night, where we highlighted some new initiatives for the year and set out our directions for the coming years, ensuring we keep families well informed on the exciting educational initiatives to come in the next year or two. On Thursday, we gathered for the 2020 Dux Assembly where we recognised the outstanding achievements of the students of the Class of 2019 and the fine achievements of boys from all other year levels from last year.

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.

Teaching Staff
Anthony Anastasio Mathematics
Raffaele Battista Technology
Adele Bellizia RE and Humanities
Matthew Brooks Mathematics and Science
Monique Capomolla RE and English
Marisa Danese Assistant to Head of Learning Support
Mikayla Domini English and Humanities
Stuart Hill Mathematics, Health and PE
April Ma Mathematics
Amanda Morgan Itinerant Music, Cello
Leonie Nathan RE, English and Humanities
Gabrielle Rolfe Mathematics
John Russo RE, Science and Humanities
Serena Thean Itinerant Music, Saxophone and Clarinet
Josephine Thomson Humanities
Lexi Tsiavis English
Darren Winfield Digital Technology and Data
Support Staff
Elizabeth Hutchins Educational Psychologist
Noel Kennedy Business Manager
Matthew Little Performing Arts Event and Ensemble Director
Matthaus Phillips ICT Trainee
Lia Senatha Assistant in the Performing Arts
Trudy Skarajew Administration Officer – Student Services
Shilpa Thomas Learning Support Officer


Of particular note to start the year, has been how well the Year 7 cohort have transitioned into the College. This was evident on the Year 7 camp at Camp Rumbug, which I had the pleasure of visiting last Tuesday. It was wonderful to witness the boys fully and enthusiastically involving themselves in all the activities on offer and supporting each other as they pushed themselves outside their comfort zones. Congratulations to Ms Christina Romano and to all the staff on the camp for providing the boys with such a rich and friendly experience.

To commence the year I would like to reflect on the College core values by unpacking where they originate from, and most importantly what they look like on a day to day basis in the community.

Our core values were established eight years ago when I first arrived. They were the culmination of a series of workshops undertaken by staff, as a way of establishing five core values that we could all live by and that, if lived out would form the basis of a great community and great culture. The values themselves are not all that special, in that many people and organisations would share them, but it is the source of their origin which is of most important to our community. The values Integrity, Respect, Belonging, Joy and Dynamism are all values espoused and lived out by Jesus Christ and the founder of the Salesians, Don Bosco. They are values you will find common to all communities which have strong and positive cultures.

Core values:

  • Inform our thoughts, words and actions.
  • Are important because they help us to grow and develop.
  • Help us to create the future we want to experience. Every individual and every organisation is involved in making hundreds of decisions every day.
  • Are the things that you believe are most important in the way you live and work.
  • Determine our priorities and the priorities of the school.
  • Are what supports our vision and help shape its culture.
  • Are the essence of the community’s identity – their principles, beliefs and philosophies.
  • Help in the decision-making processes, they help us set our processes, procedures and our policies.
  • Educate staff, students and parents about what the school is about and clarify our
  • Provide the compass to ensure we remain on course to follow the examples of Jesus Christ and that of John Bosco.

At this point I want to make it very clear that revisiting our values is not undertaken from a deficit model. On the contrary, it comes in the knowledge that most, if not all members of the community uphold these values most of the time, and therefore we can advance our culture and our community with minimal changes, merely reminding ourselves that every now and again we forget to live the values and we let ourselves and our community down.

The thing organisations, and in this case ourselves, need to be wary of is that we develop a set of values and strategically place them around the school, and they cease to be lived. They become stagnate words. This year we have spent a great deal of time unpacking them again for staff and reminding them of what they look like when they are part of our everyday interactions with all members of the community. We intend to do the same with our students and then to hold them to these values in all aspects of their day. If a student has to be spoken to for a breach of College expectations, it will be because they have not lived up to one or more of the College values. So it is with every member of the community we have to hold ourselves accountable to these values. We have to ask ourselves, are our behaviours in line with the College values? Are my behaviours respectful of all members in the community? Am I creating a sense of belonging with my actions? Am I a person of integrity if I say one thing and do another? Am I being dynamic if I oppose all suggested changes? Does my demeanour bring a sense of joy to others in the community? It is when we can answer all such questions in the affirmative that we can truly say, I am living out the College core values and I am contributing positively to the establishment of a great culture.

Good luck and enjoy the year.

Mr Rob Brennan