From the Principal – Father’s Day

Good morning. A warm welcome to our Father’s Day breakfast.

It is wonderful that so many fathers and boys are in attendance to share prayer and a meal.

Acknowledgement to Country

I recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ spiritual and cultural connection to Country and a commitment to reconciliation, I acknowledge the First Peoples and the Traditional Owners and custodians of the Country, the Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin nation.

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 communities.

I invite our father’s in the room to partake in a short activity.

Take a look at your son for 3-4 seconds before closing your eyes.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

Still with your eyes closed, take your thinking back to a time when your son was young. He is a young energetic and inquisitive boy.

It is the morning of his 3rd birthday.

You lean over the cot or bed and place a hand on his back on the sheet or quilt. A gentle shake and your son wakes up excited for his birthday.

Your son begins a conversation that focuses on presents, cake, hugs, kisses, cake and… presents.

Picking him up you give him a hug and prepare together for a day of celebrations. A card is given, opened and read. A present is opened to the grateful, “Thanks Dad”.

In your own time, take a moment to gently return to the space we are gathered.

Why do I share this story?

This was my experience as a father yesterday morning with my own daughter who turned 3 years old. I am blessed to have the opportunity to share the moments of joy with her.

Despite current challenges at home of an adolescent boy who grunts upon being asked a question, leaves clothing or wet towels on the ground or is fostering an addiction to social media, it is important to reflect upon the joy that your children bring you as a father.

The breathing, the story reflection and the gratitude hopefully provide you with strategies to help you regulate your emotions when working in partnership with you son.

St. John Bosco is often referred to as Don Bosco – “Don Bosco” means “Father Bosco” in Italian.

St. John Bosco was born on August 16, 1815, in the small Italian hamlet of Castelnuovo d’Asti, in northern Italy. John had two older brothers, Anthony and Joseph. Their father, Francis, died when John was still a toddler – just two years old.

John’s upbringing was difficult but he had good mentors.

Don Bosco was a man of bold courage. He was the instrument that God used to found a religious family dedicated not only to helping and educating the young and the disadvantaged but to journey with them towards heaven.

Like Don Bosco, some students at Salesian College Chadstone do not have a father figure to encourage, support, challenge and love.  We keep these students in prayers that they can gain strength from St John Bosco and the teachings of Jesus.

Boys, I hope that take some time today (and every day) to thank your dad and to show affection to him. Show gratitude for the ongoing love and support provided to you.

As a Salesian boy, I am confident you have been nurtured, cared and supported by your father, some of who are present this morning at the breakfast. To our fathers, thank you for raising good men.

Before I introduce our guest speaker, I express my gratitude to the many people in our Salesian community who have contributed to our celebration this morning; Ms Suzie McErvale and her Marketing and Development team, Trudy Skarajew, Michelle Collins, Jonathon Stevens, our College student leaders and tour ambassadors, musician Will Kolenda, Host Mr Matthew Little, Leadership Team, Faith and Mission Team including Dr Daryl Barklay, Facilities, IT including Rob Chrzanowski, Adam Croft and Administration teams.

I also thank our Year 9 & 10 students and staff members Kate Nugara, Lois Curry, Lucyanne Agius who made the thoughtful spice rub gift to our father figures today.

In preparing for today’s event, I asked the Marketing and Development Team to invite a guest speaker to focus on social justice. Our role as Salesian educators is to develop “good Christians and honest citizens”; people who welcome, do not judge, and serve the most vulnerable in our community.

In October 2022 I met with staff from the Liverpool FC International Academy to discuss offering soccer coaching ‘In the Liverpool way’ at Salesian. Later in the year, the College was fortunate to enter into a partnership with the Liverpool FC International Academy which has been an amazing experience for our students, staff and wider community.

It was at the initial meeting that I met our guest speaker for this morning, Mr Kevin Kallinko.

Interestingly, we only talked for about 5 minutes about football in the meeting. Rather, time focussed on shared values, community and supporting the marginalised in society.

Subsequently, I am excited to introduce Kevin to speak this morning.

Kevin owns and manages a portfolio of businesses across a range of sectors spanning education, childcare, energy procurement, property services and sport. Kevin owns the Australian College of Physical Education which was established in 1917 and delivers 16 Bachelor degrees in sport, health and fitness. Kevin also owns the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers and Foundation Education, based in Brisbane, which together are the leading online vocational education provider in Australia. Included in Kevin’s portfolio are childcare centres and a commercial property services business based in Sydney and a commercial energy procurement business based in Melbourne. Kevin is involved in a number of philanthropic and charitable organisations both locally and internationally. Kevin has a Bachelor of Commerce from UNSW and a Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance

Please make Kevin welcome this morning.

Thank you.

Mark Ashmore