From the Head of College, Graham Leddie
Back to Waverley
On Thursday 26 October I was pleased to extend a warm welcome to more than ninety of our Old Boys who graduated 50 or more years ago. It was the 50th anniversary year of the Class of 1967. A special welcome was also extended to Mr Frank Ellis from the Leaving Class of 1936 and to Mr Phil O’Sullivan of the Intermediate Class of 1938, two of our oldest Waverlians.
Fifty years ago, the Class of 1967 were part of the first group of around eighteen thousand to sit the first ever HSC exam. There were no computers and no calculators. Language students could listen to tapes but in terms of support during exams, that was pretty much it. There were 28 subjects at a range of levels available for most subjects. Ninety per cent of students completed one of four maths courses, eighty per cent completed one of three combined science courses. There were twelve languages, with French studied by more than one third of students and only 5 out of the 18,000 or so studied Japanese … and for our current Visual Arts students, the Art exam in 1967 included a three-hour practical exam. The expectation for those students was vastly different from what our current class of 2017 faces today. There was less pressure from all sides, unemployment was low and Universities were desperate to attract undergraduates. To hear it from the men who joined us, 50 years on from their experience, there was and still is a real love for Waverley College and for the academic success that came from being a part of this school, a great admiration for teachers such as the esteemed Percy Watson, and a happiness that comes from still being an important part of their College.
The College graduates who joined us, having last attended as students fifty or more years ago, exemplify the attributes we still expect from our students:
- that they value each person they meet with respect and dignity, regardless of their resources or life situation,
- that they think critically, are hope-filled and make strong positive contributions to their profession and the broader community,
- that they are accepting and welcoming, fostering right relationships and are committed to the common good,
- and that they strive to bring the words and actions of Jesus alive within their community and society.
Our guest speaker was Mr Patrick McClure from the Class of 1967, a fine example of these attributes. As a student at Waverley College, in his final year he was Adjutant of the Waverley College Cadet Unit, College Oratory and Debating Champion and he was awarded the JJ O’Brien Memorial Prize for Leadership, Study and Sport. Upon graduation, he joined the Franciscans and, after extensive study, was ordained in 1975, As a young Franciscan priest, Patrick was passionate about working with homeless people. He resigned from the ministry in 1975. He rose to become CEO of St Vincent de Paul and Mission Australia, and continues to play a leadership role in community welfare. Patrick has been instrumental in major social policy issues, including welfare reform, privatisation of employment services, innovations in homeless services, pathways for young people and partnerships with government and business. Patrick was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2003 by then Governor of NSW, Marie Bashir.
Back to Waverley Day included a Mass, Assembly and Luncheon, all organised by the college’s Development Office. The Old Boys took the opportunity at lunch to bid a fond farewell to our Alumni Liaison Officer, Robyn Moore, who will retire at the end of this year after 15 years of working with the Old Boy community.
I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Patrick and to every one of our old boy attendees for their support of the Back to Waverley event and their ongoing support for the College.
This week the College has hosted a team from Edmund Rice Education Australia who are conducting a School Renewal review which occurs every five years. More than 100 students, parents and staff have participated in the review process.
School Renewal in Edmund Rice Schools is a process by which a school community is helped to critically reflect on its nature as a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition and to identify ways for continuous improvement. The objective of renewal is positive change for the school community.
Our four Touchstones (Gospel Spirituality, Liberating Education, Inclusive Community, Justice and Solidarity) are the lens through which the school is invited to look at its policies, structures, practices, culture and relationships.
The outcomes of the renewal process will be used by the EREA Board in accrediting the school as being an authentic Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition.
School renewal is not a process of inspection or checking adherence to curriculum or legislative requirements. These areas are monitored through school registration processes managed by other bodies. School Renewal focuses on authenticity to catholicity and charism, with schools focusing on how they see the EREA Charter being a lived reality within the school.
The external panel appointed to undertake our renewal included;
- Peter Chapman, EREA Regional Director – Northern Region
- Brian Roberts, EREA Regional Director – Eastern Region
- Noel Mifsud, Principal – CBC Adelaide
- Phil Game, Secondary School Consultant, Sydney Catholic Schools – Eastern Region.
Thank you to our review panel and to all students, staff, parents and Old Boys who participated in the process.
White Ribbon Day Support
Congratulations to Green House who are raising awareness this month about Domestic Violence. On 24 November our students will participate in the White Ribbon Day Walk which is designed to raise awareness about domestic violence and asks men to stand up and say “NO” to violence against women.
Leading up to this event, Green House will spend the month of November raising awareness around Domestic Violence and discussing the horrifying statistics that one in three women in Australia will experience physical or sexual assault from someone known to them, and that one woman is actually killed each week by a current or former partner. We will also be raising funds for the White Ribbon Foundation and a local Women’s Refuge during this period.
Anti Discrimination Forum
This week Waverley College proudly hosted a student forum with the Anti Discrimination Board (ADB) of NSW. One hundred and twenty students and staff from a number of schools in our district attended the Board’s first youth forum day in more than 10 years.
The forum was designed to give young people from the local area the opportunity to have their say and learn about their rights and responsibilities regarding bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Increasing awareness among young people of their rights is incredibly important, especially as they move out of school and into the community to become active in the workplace. The age bracket of 18-24 years actually tops the statistics for people experiencing bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Waverley College firmly believes that the lessons that students learn at school should not be solely academic, but should include lessons that are important for life after school. Every young person has the right to be treated with fairness and respect, and to feel safe, happy and sense that they belong to a community.
The Board representatives on the day were impressed by our EREA Touchstones of Inclusive Education and Justice and Solidarity, which resonated very strongly with their mission at the ADB.
I would like to thank the ADB for partnering with us on this important event. Congratulations also go to Dominic Hearne, who coordinated the forum here at Waverley.