We celebrated Ash Wednesday with a student-led liturgy this week.
As we receive our ashes, we will hear the minister say one of two short prayers: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” These prayers call us to take on a humble disposition.
Jesus also calls on Christians not to wear a gloomy face while they are fasting. This admonition reminds us that Lent is meant to be a season of joy, as it is a preparation for the biggest feast in the Christian calendar. So, while we can struggle with cravings for chocolate or something else we have given up, we need to keep our eyes on the prize which is the celebration of the joy of Easter.
The baptismal element of Lent can help us appreciate the significance of water. Water is essential for both our physical and spiritual life. When Christians recall their baptism it is a time when they can become more aware of the gifts they have received from God. This process of reflection can give us joy.
In recent times, water has been a pestilence of almost biblical proportions across the state of NSW. The almost unprecedented flood activity that has occurred over the last two years, has tested our community resolve in surviving flooding events and also in the rebuilding process that has followed. These events have dramatically tested communities across the state, but it has also been an opportunity for a generous community spirit to emerge.
Aside from the destructive power of water, our experience of living in a drought and fire-prone land also helps us appreciate the importance of water to sustain and protect life. A significant theme running through the Sunday Gospel readings this Lent is the power of living water. Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well and his healing of the blind man at the Pool of Siloam, reminds us of the way that water can cleanse, renew and heal our body and souls. Let us quench our thirst for God this Lent by praying for the living water of Jesus to touch our hearts and souls for the benefit of ourselves and our Catholic communities.
Mark Hughes Foundation
The Mark Hughes Foundation funds vital research and support to brain cancer patients and it is very close to the heart of one of our parents, Anne Calendar, whose late husband Matt Callander succumbed to this insidious disease, just over five years ago.
Anne is embarking on another challenge this year pre the annual NRL Beanie Round, and is hoping for our support to raise awareness and much-needed funds. Anne is joining 21 amazing and dynamic women in the Inaugural Mark Hughes Foundation Women’s Trek to the Mt Maria Summit, Tasmania.
Please sponsor Anne by clicking the button below. Any amount big or small will help her reach her goal and raise funds for brain cancer research.
Reading Impacts on Students – College Reading Survey Results
As many parents/carers may know, in 2022 our College participated in a significant research project affiliated with Deakin University, QUT, and the University of Canberra titled ‘Teen Reading in the Digital Era.’ Research was conducted with secondary students in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, giving a broad overview of the reading habits of teenagers across Australia.
Preliminary results from Waverley are very interesting. Of the Term 4 survey results from 235 Waverley students across Years 7-11, we have gained a ‘snapshot’ of teen reading which you can view in the following graphs. Students were asked questions about their reading habits and their responses to questions 4.2; 12.1; 14.3: 13.2 and 10.4 are provided below.
Identified in the survey as well, were the popular reading genres identified by Waverley College students.
In order of most popular to least popular:
- Mystery and crime
- Science Fiction
- Graphic novels (includes manga)
At this stage, the evidence indicates that as educators and parents/carers, we need to be doing much more to get our boys at Waverley reading for pleasure. Graph 4.2 indicates that 38% of our boys do not read books in their own free time.
What you might find surprising is Graph 14.3, which indicates that families are key to boys’ reading choices and that in this space, your influential role as a parent/carer should not be underestimated.
Encouragingly, Graph 10.4 indicates that more than half of our students envisage that they’ll read more in their post-school years.
Significantly, the 3,000 survey results across participating Australian states illustrate similar trends. There is a decline in reading as students grow older and as boys grow older:
- At age 12, 30% of students read daily
- At age 16, 8% of students read daily
The results for boys indicate that:
- At age 14, 29% of boys will not read in their free time
- At age 16, 42% of boys will not read in their free time
As parents/carers, we should be encouraging our children to read each day, even if it is for only 15 minutes. Consistent reading will have a significant impact on their general communication and comprehension skills, as well as the literacy skills they will front the HSC with. If you want to have a significant impact on your son’s education, please get him reading consistently.
Ms Mary Ryan and Mr Bill Roberts have started a new reading program to encourage and support our Year 7 and 8 students with their reading. If your son is struggling to decide what to read, encourage him to see the Library teams on both campuses.