My first three weeks as Principal of Salesian College Chadstone has been very different to the start of many principalships.
No students, just Year 12s on campus, a small number of teaching and support staff and what seems like endless guidelines and numerous discussions to support students and staff returning to school amidst the pandemic.
Despite the challenges, I feel very blessed to have been welcomed into a joy filled and dynamic community.
You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:34)
The warm welcome from students, staff and parents has been wonderful. Don Bosco’s spirit of a Salesian school being a home that welcomes is very much alive at Salesian College Chadstone. Interactions with our Year 12s has provided me with an insight into the fabric of the school – a place of welcome, community and brotherhood.
Our Year 12 students during the first three weeks of Term 4 have had the opportunity to appropriately celebrate the end of their secondary education. I am pleased that the boys were able to finish with their peers for an extended period of time that will not only strengthen friendships, but also ensure their learning is supported as they complete VCE examinations or VCAL requirements. I have witnessed the Year 12 determination, resilience and a diligent focus on their studies. It was wonderful to hear from College Captain, Steven Tran, of his enjoyment during his time at Salesian and how proud our senior students are to wear the red, silver and blue as an SCC student.
Today I had the opportunity to great our Year 7, 10 and 11 students back to school. It was energising to welcome the individual students in these Year levels back to learning in class. I was very impressed with the young men I greeted and the manner in which the uniform was worn proudly.
In speaking to our Year 11 assembly I emphasised to our young men to demonstrate understanding, compassion, care and love towards one another, just as Don Bosco did in his first Oratory to the children of Turin. I encouraged each student to come from the heart, by caring for one another and being open to promoting relationships built on mutual respect. I too challenged the boys to identify and partake in opportunities to improve learning whilst on campus with their teachers and peers.
I have been buoyed by the amazing pastoral support that is available for our students as they return to school. The return to school is a time of excitement for many students. It may be a time of apprehension for others. I encourage our students to seek support from Oratory teachers, Year Level Coordinators and Deans to develop strategies so that the relationships and learning can flourish.
“Do not lose any time. Do good, do all the good you can and you will never regret doing it.” Don Bosco