You will have received this week an email from Mrs Radley, the College Director of Formation, encouraging students to wear masks this Tuesday. Australia doesn't really have the same traditions as countries like Italy or Brazil, where 'Mardi Gras' or 'Fat Tuesday' is a pretty big deal. Like so many Catholic traditions, this is rooted in the European seasons and the liturgical calendar. So, on 'Fat Tuesday' the winter stores of butter and sweets that were considered too luxurious for Lent were eaten. We also get the word 'carnival' from 'carne levare' - to remove meat - as meat could not be eaten during Lent.
We deny ourselves a lot less now but Lent remains a really special time. Inspired by Jesus's preparation for his ministry, it is a time where we can focus on what we can do to continue that message and support others in our community. So, in addition to acknowledging Carnival - we will also be asking our students to engage in a genuine Lenten focus, no matter what their age, themes like sacrifice, selflessness and service will be discussed as we celebrate Lent together.
You will soon be hearing from me about a survey related to the College's Catholic identity. It is a real big-hitter, and I ask please that you complete it. It is the keystone of all of our strategic planning for the next ten years, and is your chance to inform the makeup of that plan. I will be doing a little podcast to announce it as well as a news section on the College website.
You may have noticed that the newsletters this year have had a lot more content than those last year. We are really blessed to have a staff body and wider community who want to promote good news, and parents who want to read about it. I was told by a parent last year that 'nobody reads the newsletter' but we know from our tracking that 640 people (at least) read the last one. In a community with less than 450 families, that's a great result. It is our best medium to get general information and key messages to you, so do please put aside some time every other Friday to read it.
I would like to draw your attention in this newsletter to the articles by Mrs Adler and Mr Naiker. Their individual messages regarding teaching and learning are really key. I have set the expectation this year of really positive, engaging lessons and positive academic growth for every child. Mrs Adler and Mr Naiker summarise elements of this expectation and how we will start to achieve it very well.
Finally, thank you very much for helping us to have started 2020 so well.