Dear Mary MacKillop community - welcome back to our wonderful College. I hope that you have come back rested, looking forward to the learning ahead, and ready for a really exciting year.
I am sure all Australians are still in a slight state of shock by the summer we have experienced. I certainly am. It was a summer of extremes - of heat, of destruction, of anguish and at times of anger. At the same time though, we saw the best of our communities, and there were equal extremes of compassion, fortitude, service and selflessness.
One of the images that has stayed with me is of a collection of lyrebirds on a farm in New South Wales. Lyrebirds are very singular and territorial - it is extremely rare to see more than two together. As the fires drew near though, the birds all collected at one spot and stayed near to each other until the danger had passed. It stands as a metaphor for how we ourselves respond to crisis. So often, we stay alone, looking after our own patch, until there is a risk to ourselves or a risk to others. That so many people locally and internationally have acted to support Australia is a real blessing, and we should pray that seasons like this are not indeed our 'new normal'. We should also pray for the people who have to revive farms, businesses and towns now that the fires are being slowly extinguished.
Thank you very much to the parents and students who attended the Welcome gathering on Tuesday. The event clearly worked as a rain dance, as the weather offered a challenge! Regardless, those who attended heard a consistent message regarding the academic and wellbeing focus of Mary MacKillop Catholic College for 2020. The clear direction from my desk is high aspiration, positive learning, outstanding behaviour and no excuses. We have our first year twelve in 2020, and the offering of a full suite of ATAR subjects. Our inaugural year twelve class will be beacons for us, and my vision is that their attainment will be exceptional.
The culture of positive learning that I want throughout the College cannot just start in senior though. Mr Albion told senior parents on Tuesday of the Wellbeing element of the College, which incorporates student behaviour. Part of this is codifying and celebrating the types of behaviour that we want to see. We reward these under the banners of 'Heads', 'Hearts', and 'Hands'. EVERY student in our College can receive awards - because they are given for excelling - and we want our students to aspire.
We will also be submitting a grant bid for the next stage of our building by the end of June. This is really pleasing. The senior College is ready for a significant investment that better supports the learning of students, the aesthetics of the site, and the stewardship of the wider College. I have already asked a year eleven student to lead a student stakeholder group so that the College community can contribute to ideas. Parents will be consulted via the P and F in the first instance.
I have asked Mr Naiker to seek expressions of interest for a European trip in 2021. Please do look out for that in this newsletter. As we will be offering Modern History and Italian in the senior College, I feel it appropriate that we begin to look at biannual trips to Europe to access immersion.
Thank you again for your continued support. I wish you the very best for 2020.