Assembly Speech & Liverpool Announcement Friday 3 February

Good morning Fr Joe, Fr Kelly, students and staff,

Welcome to our first whole school gathering of the year. It is wonderful to be here today to celebrate Eucharist together, welcome new members to our community and share a key announcement for the College.

Thank you to Fr Joe, Fr Kelly and Fr Oreste for celebrating mass with us today.

I extend a warm welcome to those new to our Salesian family, particularly our Year 7 students and their families who each add their talents and experiences to the fabric of Salesian College Chadstone. I trust that current students will welcome our newest members to our community as St John Bosco and Mama Margherita would have to those at Valdocco at Turin, Italy.

I acknowledge the First Peoples and the Traditional Owners and custodians of the Country on which Salesian is located. I respectfully acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging and remember that they have passed on their wisdom to us in various ways. Let us hold this in trust as we work and serve our community.

This year is an important year of celebration for our community. On Friday 30 March 1923, a group of Salesians arrived with high hopes in Fremantle, Western Australia later joined by Bishop Coppo. The genuine intention was to work with the indigenous in the Kimberley in the education of the young people. Hence the name of our Kimberley Hall in which we are situated today.

Due to unforeseeable circumstances and difficulties, they encountered, some Salesians returned to Europe somewhat disappointment, and others moved onto Melbourne to minister to Italian immigrants. They also availed themselves in the education of the poor and abandoned young people in Victoria. These few determined Salesians moved forward in hope, trusting entirely in God’s will, for their new mission in Melbourne.

With much gratitude to these dedicated first Salesians, the Australia-Pacific Province of Mary Help of Christians celebrates its centenary with pride. As a College we will welcome the Rector Major, the head of the Salesian order, who resides in Rome in April for a significant celebration.

I have had the privilege to attend a number of year level assemblies this week. It was here I shared the story of a young Domenic Savio who received the ingredients to be a saint from Don Bosco.

Like the cake recipe that includes sugar, flour, eggs and some leavening agent (baking powder) … The recipe for holiness Don Bosco offered his boys, especially Dominic Savio (on the evening of 24 June 1855) contained: Cheerfulness, attending to your duties of study and prayer, and doing good for others.

These three ingredients are not just to become holy. They are how each of you can become “good Christians and honest citizens”.

I encourage you to model your behaviours on Jesus by being kind and compassionate towards one another. If we can all be role models of our College values of belonging, respect, integrity, joy and dynamism and allow these to be visible to others in our actions then we are going to contribute to developing a welcoming community as well as enabling an enjoyable and successful year for all at Salesian.

You will each have goals and aspirations regarding your studies, or possibly have some idea what you may like to do after Year 12. Apply yourself to your academic studies to enjoy your learning and achieve these goals. Everyone can demonstrate commitment and perseverance to achieve personal excellence. I know your teachers have high expectations of you to learn.

The year ahead for the College is exciting as we further implement our Strategic Plan:

  • a master plan to develop our learning facilities
  • pathway conversations and learning interventions to support learning
  • student led committees to have a voice in how the school operates and to implement new initiatives
  • community engagement with primary schools and organisations
  • many learning opportunities in the classroom, on stage or on our sports fields/courts.

You each will have an opportunity to be involved and I encourage you to use you God given talents and to follow your interests.

To conclude our mass and assembly I wish to share with you an exciting community announcement.

Today is an exciting day for Salesian College Chadstone as we enter into our school partnership with Liverpool Football Club through its International Academy program.

We are grateful and proud to become the first school in metropolitan Melbourne to offer an exclusive Liverpool FC Academy high-performance soccer school program.

I stand here today as a Liverpool FC supporter who is now partnering with one of the world’s great sport clubs. Watching titles and trophies being won and lost; including the memorable 2019 Champions League finals and Premier League success in 2019-2020 highlight Liverpool FC’s endearing qualities of tenacity, teamwork and commitment; traits we hope each of you will learn during your time at Salesian.

Liverpool FC’s commitment to developing a young person’s journey wherever their pathway leads is aligned with our mission and values and this became evident the moment we began discussions with Liverpool FC International Academy. Our discussions began with a high quality and authentic LFC football program but it was the focus on the social and emotional development, career pathways and life skills such as communication, teamwork and leadership that has brought us together today.

What does this mean for you as a student?

As a student you will be able to take part in a unique full-time program mirroring the same structure and practices as players on a professional pathway at the Liverpool Academy in the UK. These programs will occur in our innovative curriculum, Sports Academy and within our ACC competition teams. This training and learning, underpinned by core values, will ensure improvement in both technical football skills, socio-emotional literacy and leadership.

As middle and senior years students you will also have an opportunity to work with Australian Council of Physical Education to support your aspirations for careers in professional sport.

This really is a dream come true for you as our students and our community.

We therefore enter this partnership as ‘this means more’.

Thank you for your participation in our assembly.

Mark Ashmore