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Brennan House Report – Term 2, 2019

From Head of Brennan House, James Horrocks

Term Two started at a fast pace for the boys of Brennan House and certainly has not slowed down throughout the last 10 weeks. We have seen the beginning of the Winter Season of Co-Curricular activities and the opportunity for boys to show all the hard work they have been putting in over the summer to try and earn sought after positions in a number of sports and activities. It has been great to hear about boys being selected in teams higher than they played in last year after working hard over the summer.

Term Two has also seen the commencement of the Holdsworth Ball planning for 2019. This year’s group has begun meeting every Monday afternoon to start planning the flagship event of the Brennan House Social Justice calendar. Always a huge undertaking, the boys in Year 11 and girls from Year 11 at St Clare’s have already been hard at work putting together a great night of food, entertainment, prizes and dancing. This year’s theme is ‘Barn Dance’ and will surely be a night to remember! Part of the preparation involves the students looking to collect donations from members of the local community to use as prizes on the night. In saying this, if you or anyone you know would like to make a prize donation for the night we would love to hear from you. We are looking for any vouchers, experiences or products that we could use on the night itself. If you are interested, please feel free to email me directly for further information. We will also be looking to involve all mentor groups and our Junior School Brennan House members in the fundraising and preparations when we return for next term.

The Holdsworth Community is an incredible organisation who do some amazing work in our local community. Their primary goals are stated as: “being to support children and adults living with intellectual disabilities; families with young children; older people who may be frail, ill, lacking mobility, experiencing social isolation or living with dementia; and their families and caregivers. We aim to build a community where all people have the support and services they need in order to build their personal capacity; have a voice and make choices, and make the meaningful social connections needed to live an active and happy life in the community.” The chance for our students to work with them is such an incredible opportunity and the young men involved learn a great deal about some topics of great significance to all Australians. If you would like more information about the Holdsworth Community and their work, feel free to visit their website at: http://www.holdsworth.org.au/

This term also saw the hard work and dedication of one of our Year 12 students being rewarded by selection as a Mid-Year Prefect. Max Curry was just one of a handful of students that were chosen, after demonstrating excellent leadership throughout the first have of Year 12. Despite not being named a prefect in Term 4 last year, Max has shown a consistent commitment to a wide range of activities across the spiritual, academic and co-curricular spheres of the College. Since taking on this role Max has continued to work incredibly hard to make the most of this opportunity. Congratulations again to Max on this well-deserved appointment.

In addition to this there has been a great range of achievements that students in Brennan have experienced over the course of Term 2:

  • Will Cooley – Was recognised for his huge achievement of competing in the 2018 Youth Olympics at a recent college assembly. He was presented with an Olympic flag by a dual Olympic rower. This is a great honour and we are all very proud of all that Will has achieved.
  • Sean Govender – Has departed for the Czech Republic, where he will be competing in the Shotokan Karate International World Titles. Sean will be competing in a wide range of events including sparring and form. He comes into the event in good form after some great results in a recent NSW competition where he placed 1st in Under 12-17’s boys for Kata (form) in his division, as well as 1st in Under 14-15’s boys Kumite (sparring).
  • Ryan Abbott – Has gained selection into the Australian U17 Basketball squad to compete in the FIBA Oceania Championships this August. This places Ryan in the top 10 basketballers in the nation and will be training hard as part of this team looking to earn entry into a number of competitions over the next three years. Congratulations Ryan!

The spirituality program has also been at the forefront of Term 2, with the celebration of our 109th Annual May Procession. Even though the day was hampered by rain and had to be moved to the chapel, it was still able to go ahead and recognise an important aspect of our College’s identity.

Last Wednesday saw the running of our House Athletics Carnival which is always a great day for house spirit and a chance for all boys to show off their athletic skills. While we didn’t get the result we were hoping for on the day, it was still a fun day full of excellent house spirit from the Wolf Pack! One area that we can look to improve on for next year are our chants and participation levels throughout the day. The eventual winners of the carnival were able to achieve this result through an outstanding level of participation in all events. Generally, this is something that Brennan excels in and we need to make sure we build this back up for next time. A massive congratulations to everyone who took part in multiple events across the day and represented the Brennan Wolf Pack with pride! Our prefects did a great job of building house spirit throughout the day. Special mention should also go to Year 12 students Charley Howell, Kyle Goulding, Alex Rice and Nat Yarrow who helped out in any capacity they could and were excellent senior leaders of the house.

Other events that took place over the course of Term 2 included students running the SMH Half Marathon to raise money for premature babies. The Year 7 Social Dance run with Waverley, St Clare’s, St Catherine’s and Brigidine raised valuable funds for our Red Earth and Holdsworth Ball initiatives. The Student Wellbeing Survey allowed students to have a voice in what is going on in their school and it was great to see members of Brennan House listed as being recognised by other students as someone who stands up to bullying behaviour when they see it. NAPLAN testing took place in the middle of the term and our Year 7 and 9 cohorts should be commended on how they conducted themselves during this period. Our Year 5 and Year 10 ‘Big Brother Little Brother’ program continued with an afternoon of sports conducted on the Senior Campus. This term also had the running of our College Musical ‘Guys and Dolls’ at NIDA, with two of our Brennan mentors, Mr Balkizas and Ms Fahy being key leaders in the running of the entire event. This was a stellar production and all who were involved did an amazing job in producing a highly professional and thoroughly enjoyable production for thousands of spectators over the course of its run. Congratulations to all involved in this huge production.

Academically, Term 2 can be a stressful and busy time for students, with half-yearly exams taking place and Semester 1 reports being distributed. I hope all students were able to achieve results that they can be proud of through hard work and planning. If you fell short of your targets then I encourage you to use it as motivation to revise your approach to your study and keep working hard towards your goals for next term. Falling short of your targets, should never be a reason to give up on your goals. As Winston Churchill said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts”. When you receive your Semester 1 reports, I encourage all students to read their feedback carefully and use it to plan for Semester 2.
For those in Year 12, the conclusion of Term 2 marks the eve of their final full term of High School. When they return for Term 3, they will be beginning preparations for their Trial HSC Examinations which will begin in Week 3 of Term 3. I would like to wish them all the best in their studies over the holiday break.

As with every term, I would like to once again thank the wonderful wellbeing mentors of Brennan House. These mentors work very hard every day to ensure that they are there to support the members of their wellbeing groups and I am blessed to work with such a great group of professionals. The success of all house activities relies upon their hard work and support. Thank you for all you do.

Finally, I would like to wish all members of Brennan House, and the wider College community, a safe and restorative holiday period. Good luck to all students taking part in the Red Earth and Timor Leste Immersions. I look forward to seeing you all next term for the start of Semester 2.