From the Principal

With now only two weeks of Term One to go, I can’t get over how quickly this term has flown.  It only seems like yesterday that we were welcoming the new Year Seven students into the school, celebrating our Opening School Mass and dreaming of the year ahead. It has been an amazing term with so many things happening in such a short time.  I’m sure many in the community are looking forward to the Easter break, to spend some time with family and to catch their breath after the whirlwind that was Term One, but I remind all in the community to continue their good efforts for the remaining two weeks.

The frantic pace of Term One continues unabated, with the past two weeks being as busy as any of the preceding. Music camps, Year Nine City Experience, Learning Conferences, and a Hall of Fame Dinner have either kept all of us flat out, or will continue to keep us busy. Once again, I thank the staff who give of their time to organise and supervise these events; especially the camps, as they take staff away from their families overnight.

Pictured: Year 9 students with Archbishop Daniel Mannix’s statue, on our City Experience excursion

Last Thursday evening, the Salesian College swimming squad competed in the ACC Division 2 Swimming Carnival, enjoying unprecedented success in the water. It was a great effort by the boys, who won four of the six age divisions, all three sections; Junior, Intermediate and Senior, and ultimately took out the overall Division 2 section.  The boys were very competitive across all events and all enjoyed representing the College with a great sense of pride. Congratulations to all the boys and the staff involved on a fantastic night, and for committing hours of preparation prior to the event. I would also like to congratulate them on the way the celebrated their victory, showing great respect and humility. Well done!

My blog this week comes out of the madness that appears to be engulfing the world as it reacts to the spread of the Coronavirus. Not being able to lay your hands on toilet paper, sanitiser, nappies and paper towels, amongst a number of other everyday items, watching the bottom fall out of the share market, and observing the collapse of tourism across the globe, all make for some very interesting times. There happens to be some good news in amongst all this doom and gloom; with petrol prices falling to levels we haven’t seen for a long time. Here in Australia, this comes after what has been a terrible bushfire season. So, the question I pose is; What can we all do about it? The answer, apart from some pretty basic hygiene practices, is nothing. So where does that leave us?

As I have reflected on some of the practices mentioned above, I shook my head and asked the same question many of us have been asking; which is something like, ‘What are these people thinking?’ I am led back to two pieces of pretty sound advice I once received, and they are; ‘Deal with the facts’, and secondly, ‘Worry about the things we can control’. A third piece of advice that is also pertinent in this time of madness, is to keep things in perspective.

The outbreak of this virus has sent the world into a spin, and there will be a lot more fallout before the issue is fully dealt with. I’m hoping we will see a calm, logical approach to our response.

In many ways, the virus outbreak should act as a reminder to all of us of how we should deal with life’s ups and downs, to the numerous challenges that will come our way as a normal part of life. Too often we witness a highly emotional response to things that have happened, when a calm and considered response would have been far more effective, and certainly cause less collateral damage. Whether it be the fall out caused by the bushfires, or the reaction when a person or groups of people don’t get their way, or the reaction to a consequence for a misdemeanour that may be too harsh or too lenient, or a vegan response to the eating of meat. All these issues can have merit, however, one needs to ask oneself, is an emotional reaction going to be an effective way to respond and facilitate change?

The advice I offer to all of the boys in my care when confronted with a difficult issue, is to reflect on the elements of the issue of which they have control. I encourage them to ask themselves whether they have done everything they could to avoid the situation. I ask them to reflect on their perception, to ensure that it is based on facts and not on reading things into the situation that aren’t real or correct. Having done all of this and considered all options, we should act in a manner most likely to bring about a resolution to the issue.

This skill is one which has to be taught and developed if we want our kids to develop a mature, sophisticated response to difficult situations. If we consider a two year old toddler’s response to not getting their way; throwing a tantrum, and ask ourselves, is this the sort of response we want to nurture and continue into their adult lives? The answer is obviously not, and yet we witness adults behaving this way regularly in our world, behaving in an appalling manner, with total disregard for any other members of the community; and yet, we expect more of our kids. It’s time for all of us to take stock and to act as role models for others in the community needing leadership. This is something that I think people in the media and government should note, and perhaps also the crazy people fighting over the tenth packet of toilet paper to throw in their trolley, knowing that there will people to follow who will miss out completely.

In these tumultuous times there are many rumours and questions people are wanting answered, with regards the College’s position in light of the coronavirus. I can assure all in the community that the College is following all advice and recommendations from the Federal and State governments, and ultimately advice coming out of the Catholic Education Office. Once a change or development occurs, we will inform the College community. I ask for calm and patience in this time as we all come to terms with a very new world.

Rob Brennan