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Principal’s Blog – 19 July 2022

Principal’s Blog – 19 July 2022

My First Don Bosco Oratory Week (DBOW) Experience

A home that welcomes.

A parish that evangelises.

A school that prepares for life.

A playground where friends meet and have fun.

(Salesian Charter for Schools)

As a community we celebrated the work of Don Bosco and raised awareness and money for the Salesian Missions.

My blog this week encapsulates my first experience of Don Bosco Oratory Week celebrations. Personally, anticipation for the week began earlier in the year over lunch with our Year 12s. They shared what they looked forward to during the year, the joy was evident as they described the Don Bosco Week celebrations. Despite a delay from Term 2 to Term 3, the excitement grew amongst our senior students and staff. It was fascinating how the younger members of our community inquired about the celebrations.

Staff Formation

The College is prioritising the faith development and formation of staff as we understand the need to build capacity in religious education. As part of DBOW, staff participated in formation in the Salesian way, exploring their understanding, application and appreciation of our Salesian Charter.

Celebrating mass, led by Rector Fr Joe Binh Dinh and beautifully accompanied by the singing of Dr Daryl Barclay and music of Melissa Adela, staff reflected on the importance of the love Jesus taught us and how Don Bosco emulated this with loving kindness towards others. Whilst I attend our Friday community mass, it was wonderful to be as one community celebrating Eucharist.

Having experienced the parish that evangelises, I joined colleagues in community activities that educated us about Don Bosco’s work in Turin and had fun playing a variety of games. It was great to share stories and connect with colleagues. I also had the opportunity to put faith into action by packing care packages for vulnerable people in our wider community.

Walkathon

In addition to Salesian Festival Day, a key aspect for the students during the week was the walkathon to raise money for Salesian Missions. It was wonderful to hear of the boys’ enthusiasm as they walked the nearby streets, despite inclement weather, for a good cause. I thank students, family and friends who donated to support the work of the Salesian Missions.

Don Bosco Festival Day

The Don Bosco Festival Day aimed celebrate the work of Don Bosco, the Salesian Missions and our friendship to each other with loving kindness. It lived up to expectation!

I joined 10C Oratory group and Mrs Narwal for morning activities including the Salesian trivia. I enjoyed meeting and chatting informally to our Year 10s getting to know their interests and aspirations. Trivia results highlighted that my understanding of Marvel characters was not at the same level as the students.

A smoking ceremony facilitated by staff member David Jenkins allowed us to experience indigenous spiritually. It was a moving and profound experience to walk through the smoke, representing his ancestors, as I moved into the Kimberley Hall.

Attending the Opening Ceremony involving prayer and procession of flags was a highlight of the day and quite emotional. Led by Liturgy Captain Pramishka De Alwis, senior students, staff and I gained an understanding of our multicultural and multifaith community. Prayers in various languages and over 90 flags representing students and staff in our community highlighted relationships based on genuine affection, openness and acceptance of others. Students were reverent as our Year 12s relished the leadership opportunity to process flags in the ceremony.

Hearing from Lauren Hichaaba (Salesian Missions) and Salesian brothers from Samoa ensured our community were aware the impact of our solidarity towards communities in the Pacific. It was fantastic to make them feel welcome during our festival celebrations.

The afternoon saw festivities extend across the campus and as Year 12s previously predicted it was a time for fun and joy. I appreciated the opportunity to meet and greet students of all year levels and to have fun. It was a highlight to see our students and staff interacting, sharing and enjoying the variety of activities.

I challenged the boys to the longest kick without much success. Many boys enjoyed the obstacle run. Photo evidence highlighted my luck being the first to kick the soccer ball into the bullseye game much to the amusement of onlookers. Interaction between staff and students was highlighted with a competitive basketball game and plane throwing competitions.

A highlight was the large crowd that respectfully gathered and encouraged two students playing chess in the Bosco Plaza. However, it was the manner in which the boys then welcomed Year 7s to the game and were teaching them how to play that brought admiration.

The top yard ensured a wonderful celebration with food trucks, strongest person competition, handball competition and the dunk machine enjoyed by our Year Level Coordinators eager to chance the cold water.

I will remember my first Don Bosco Festival Day. A joy-filled day for our community!

Mark Ashmore
Principal