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Head’s Message

On living life to the full

STEM Careers Night 2017

STEM Careers Night 2017

From the Head of College, Graham Leddie

STEM Careers Information Night Success

A careers information night was held in the Performing Arts Centre (PAC) on Tuesday 30 May, attended by more than 50 senior students from Years 7-12 and their parents. These events aim to guide and inspire our students in their high school studies.

This year the college was very lucky to have four speakers working in STEM careers – all past students – who generously volunteered their time.

The speakers were:

  • Richard Zhang (Class of 2010) – Richard completed undergraduate studies at UNSW, which was a concurrent Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with Master of Biomedical Engineering. He completed an Honours thesis and then a Masters thesis in the Conductive Polymers research group, which collaborated on the Bionic Eye Project to develop neuro-active surface coatings for implantable electrode technologies. Richard is currently a PHD student in medical sciences at the University of NSW, focusing on Ophthalmology and Pathology.
  • Chris Miletich (Class of 2010) – Chris is an Information Security Analyst for Westpac Group, having completed their graduate program. Chris completed a Bachelor of Information Technology from UTS in 2013.
  • Tim Spies (Class of 1993) – Tim is the Director in Charge for Sydney for Norman Disney Young. He completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and among some of his most notable projects are the Barangaroo development and the Fox Studios redevelopment.
  • Bart Kratochvil (Class of 2013) – Bart is currently completing 4th year at UNSW – Bachelor of Actuarial Studies and has worked at World First in Corporate Foreign Exchange in FX Sales.

The quality of information from these speakers was outstanding and their insights were invaluable. I cannot thank them enough for inspiring our students.

Thanks must also go to the many parents who brought their sons along; the transition from school to study or work isn’t easy and students benefit greatly from looking at a very broad range of possibilities. It is both exciting and daunting for students to make these choices and having a well informed and supportive parent on hand makes all the difference.


Association of Catholic School Principals Conference

Last week I attended the Association of Catholic Principals (ACSP) Conference in the Hunter Valley, along with 400 principals from across NSW, both primary and secondary. Hillary Cameron of St Charles’ Waverley and Antoinette McGahan of St Clare’s College Waverley also attended.

Presenters at the conference were inspiring and included:

Dr Pasi Sahlberg

Pasi Sahlberg is a Finnish educator, author, and scholar. He has worked as a school teacher, teacher educator, researcher, and policy-maker in Finland and has studied education systems and reforms around the world. His presentations focused on how we can learn from successful education systems, with a focus on Singapore and Finland.

Prof Stephen Dinham OAM

Professor Stephen Dinham OAM PhD is Associate Dean Strategic Partnerships and Professor of Instructional Leadership in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. He examined the research evidence on teaching for learning and highlighted the strategies and approaches that have most impact on student learning and development.

Dr Pak Tee Ng

Pak Tee Ng is Associate Dean, Leadership Learning at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He teaches in executive programmes for school leaders including Principalship and Head of Departments. The Singapore education system is changing to focus on quality instead of quantity.  Professor Ng explained how Singapore reformed curriculum, teaching and learning in its schools. He shared the key success factors, reform challenges, and the lessons learned along the way.  In particular, one of the policy initiatives in the Singapore education system is to encourage teachers, paradoxically, to “teach less” so that students can “learn more”.  “Teach Less Learn More” encourages educators to reflect upon the why, what and how of teaching and learning, and encourages students to become engaged learners.

Prof Chris Sarra – Indigenous Education

Professor Chris Sarra is the founder and Chairman of the Stronger Smarter Institute Limited and Professor of Education at the University of Canberra. In 2016, Chris received the prestigious NAIDOC Person of the Year Award as recognition for ongoing and relentless efforts to positively change educational expectations of Indigenous children throughout Australia. Professor Chris Sarra’s work at Cherbourg State School, an Aboriginal community school in South East Queensland, was groundbreaking, exposing the teaching profession and Aboriginal communities to a newer, more positive and honourable reality in which Aboriginal children could be stronger and smarter. He invited us to contemplate how we as educators we might set about purging the problem of low expectations in our own schools.

The conference inspired and challenged all of us, as school leaders, to remain vigilant for proven techniques which can be applied in our own schools to maintain excellence through ongoing innovation in teaching and learning.


More than an everyday hero

This morning on his way to school, Year 12 student Daniel Morris noticed a car stopped on Southern Cross Drive with a driver slumped over the wheel. Daniel used his own car to push the other vehicle out of the way and then proceeded to remove the driver and call for an ambulance. Whilst waiting, Daniel applied CPR as the driver was showing no signs of life. After four minutes of CPR the driver started to display signs of life and was successfully transported to hospital in the ambulance. Although we don’t know the outcome for this patient, Daniel demonstrated notable bravery and presence of mind for a young man in Year 12. Congratulations, Daniel.


Providing a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students

In May 2017 Edmund Rice Education Australia released its policy document ‘Live Life to the Full’, the organisation’s response to providing safe and inclusive learning environments for all students, in particular for same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people. The policy notes that there has been a growing awareness in recent years that there is a strong correlation between homophobic and transphobic abuse and negative impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of victims. It also notes that schools have been identified as major locations where such abuse can occur.

In part, the Statement says:

Our sacred scripture reminds us (Genesis 1) that each and every person is made in the image and likeness of God; therefore each person has their own inherent dignity and is intended by God to grow to fullness. For EREA, this means supporting each person to achieve growth and liberation through pastoral as well as academic and co-curricular support.

Our schools have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that each student receives an education free from discrimination and bullying, irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender. More importantly, Edmund Rice inspires us to give particular care to young people who might otherwise be excluded and rejected.

Catholic schools in the Edmund Rice tradition recognise that to be inclusive communities, students, parents, caregivers and other family members, as well as staff must be valued in all their diversity.

The policy makes a number of recommendations which schools can follow to ensure they address the wellbeing and education needs of young people who are same-sex attracted or gender questioning. EREA has also provided a resource to assist the school leaders and teachers who work with these young people. The college will be following up on the document’s recommendations by reviewing our existing policies, procedures, guidelines, programs and practices to ensure that they are inclusive of the needs of these students.

You can download a PDF copy of the full policy document HERE.


CAS Ecumenical Service

More than thirty Waverley College students from Year 7 to 12 attended the 2017 CAS Ecumenical Service, themed ‘The Light of Companionship’ at St Aloysius’ College, Milson’s Point, on Monday Evening.

It was a wonderful service with an outstanding combined choir and the students sang beautifully. Following the Acknowledgement of Country Ceremony, Year 11 SRC student Joseph Moroney was the candle bearer for Waverley College, leading the College’s students into the St Aloysius’ chapel.  Year 11 SRC student, Daniel Andrews read one of the prayers in the Penitential Rite and Year 11 SRC student, Oliver Small delivered one of the readings in the Liturgy of the Word part of the ceremony, 1 Kings (19:9-13).

Thank you to Anne Fahy and Chris Balkizas for their great work on this project. Thanks also to the Year 11 SRC students who attended and the Waverley College students who participated in the combined CAS choir. This annual service is a wonderful opportunity for CAS schools to celebrate our shared faith together in an atmosphere of collegiality.


Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

National Reconciliation Week begins and ends on the same dates as significant events that strengthened the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples. On 27 May 1967 Australians voted to give the Commonwealth Government the right to make laws for Indigenous people and for them to be included in the national census. On 3 June 1992 the Mabo ruling was made, which paved the way for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples be recognised as the traditional owners of their land.  This year marks 50 years since the referendum and 25 years since the Mabo decision, making it a special milestone. This Reconciliation Week the college has taken a number of steps to mark the occasion and highlight the importance of these events:

  • Reconciliation Day messages and discussion were a feature of  Mentor groups
  • Year 12 leaders created a special presentation about the establishment of equal rights and the need for reconciliation at today’s College assembly
  • An Indigenous ceremony will be held this weekend at Queens Park with dancers, Welcome to Country and an ochre ceremony
  • Special prayers were read at noon on the anniversary of the referendum.

The following prayer was read at today’s college assembly:

Created in the image of God we pray

God, who looked upon creation and said, ‘it is good’,

help us to see your face in the faces of all people –

not just the ones ‘like us’.

Your words do not discriminate, but rather cast upon humanity

a call to justice, compassion and mercy.

Your Son made this message clear, ‘love your neighbour.’

He made this non-negotiable to those who choose to follow his way.

Not just in Reconciliation Week, but in all the weeks and years ahead,

help us challenge prejudice in all its forms within ourselves and others.

Help us to be the peacemakers you call us to be.

Help us to see your face in the faces of all people –

not just the ones ‘like us’.

We pray, through Christ our Lord. Amen

Blessed Edmund Rice…Pray for us.