From the Principal
This week, our Year 10 cohort experienced a two day careers retreat.
This is the second year that the College has organised this event. The goal is to intentionally and methodically support our year ten students as they start the process of subject selection for year eleven. There is a deeper mission too - one in which we try to link their own experiences, their sense of self worth and self actualisation, an analysis of character strengths and, importantly, a strong comprehension of what a vocation is.
We stood on the small lawn out side the Micah Centre for prayer at the start of Wednesday. The westerly was not yet at full strength but it certainly was a crisp day. In leading the reflection, I told the students the experience of my father and his twin brother, who came home from St Joseph's College one February day at the age of 14 to be told that they were starting work the next day - one was to be a butcher and the other a barber. Just like that - their childhood was over. We are in a different world now and my goal is that all of our students feel a strong investment in their discernment and an opportunity to strive towards a vocation.
We want to give our students a deep comprehension of what a vocation is - a calling out of gifts, an exciting and fulfilling application of a sense of mission and personal strength.
In the reflection, we also focussed on the words of St Catherine of Siena, a 14th century Dominican. She wrote consistently of a closer relationship with God. One of her most famous lines is, 'Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire'. It is this opportunity to make the ordinary become extraordinary that I want our students to grasp. We all have to work - but I want our young people to have the skills and knowledge to find work that is fulfilling, engaging and enables their gifts to be called out.
Linked to this is the exciting and potentially overwhelming task of subject selection. At Mary MacKillop, we enable a free choice as much as possible, so that children get their preferred options at Year 11 & 12. I am so happy to see that our subject offerings for senior have increased further, and we will seek to deliver senior secondary learning in subjects like Physical Education, Drama, Literature and Health and Nutrition. Similarly, our planned Year 9/10 electives have new subjects like Journalism, Dance, Maths Reasoning, Ancient History and Agricultural Science. What a wonderful time to be leading Mary MacKillop! One of the challenges in growing a school is the threatened paucity of subject options. We are now at the size where we can offer a really full and rich curriculum.
As a College we farewell Ms Susie Fredline who will be relocating to a school in the Whitsundays. Her work at the College in the area of music and song has been absolutely exemplary. In particular, the presence and talent of the choir at Mass has given me real joy. This is to say nothing of her leadership of the peripatetic music programme, her preparation for Eisteddfods and her support of the musical. We wish her the very best. Music rotations in the junior College will be shared by Ms McVeigh and Ms Daniels in term 3.
In this last correspondence of the term, I want to pay a particular tribute to the staff at Mary MacKillop. Teaching is a challenging job in its best day. I know that many parents during the period of home learning gained a clearer appreciation of the quantity of work that goes into a lesson. I am very conscious that for a significant amount of this term, teachers and support staff at Mary MacKillop have been working over the odds to ensure that learning was not disrupted, the wellbeing of students was prioritised and parents felt supported. I dearly hope that during this break the teachers, support staff and leaders at our College get a full and complete rest.
Thank you as ever for your support. I do really appreciate the parents who have emailed me thanks and good wishes as the Semester has closed. I hope you and your families have a really restful and peaceful break. Please stay safe.