The Year in Review
We thought we had seen the last of COVID-19 in 2020, but the arrival of the Delta strain saw the College return to online learning for the entirety of Term 3, followed by a staggered return of students in Term 4. I would like to thank all parents who, under difficult circumstances, provided their sons with a home environment suitable for remote learning.
Evidence-based strategies were put in place to ensure a smooth transition when students returned to campus earlier this Term. There was no doubting the importance of routine and maintaining our high expectations.
The College reinforced uniform (including haircuts), behaviour to and from College, as well as in the classroom and attendance, from the moment students returned to campus. Students responded outstandingly well. Again, I thank all parents who supported the College in terms of these expectations. These are expectations that we all signed up for, that are the same on day one of the year, through until the final day. We do not believe in lowering our standards because there ‘are only a few weeks to go’.
Students can expect the same high expectations when they return to the College in January 2022.
Importance of the Three-Way Partnership Between Staff, Students and Parents
I thank all staff, students and parents, who have worked together through this challenging year. The College cannot stress enough the importance of the partnership between these three groups. This three-way partnership has the largest impact on the wellbeing of each student, and their ability to achieve their full potential at the College.
I thank the parents who took time out from their busy schedules, to attend our parent sessions on building resilience with Greg Mitchell in Term 1, and drug and alcohol use with Paul Dillon in Term 4.
Next year, we will host three parent evenings. The first is a combined event for all secondary schools in the eastern suburbs covering consent. Later in the year, Maree Crabbe will investigate the effects of pornography on young people, and finally, Arne Rubinstein will look at adolescent boys’ rites of passage. It would be wonderful if we could further build on the parent involvement at these events. We will also hold our annual parent/mentor meetings early in Term 1.
Maintaining a Growth Mindset
It would be a pity to come to the end of this year, that has been so incredible in so many ways, and not take the time to truly reflect. If we hasten too quickly to the end of 2021 to declare it ‘a wrap’, we may lose the opportunity for learning and growth.
Our Wellbeing Framework and Teaching & Learning Framework direct us to inform ourselves by accessing knowledge and experience, to transform through the deep learning of heart and mind, and to become empowered through the deliberate actions to have a growth mindset. It is through such intentional actions that we seek to live and love more fully.
Students have demonstrated so much tenacity this year; there have been moments of discomfort and difficulty, and immense growth in self-awareness and perspective. They have enjoyed opportunities to nurture family and friends, and have discovered much about what matters to them in how they learn.
Farewells and Welcomes
I conclude by farewelling Head of Brennan House, Mr James Horrocks, and Quinn House, Ms Olivia Kite, and thank them for their work in the Wellbeing team as they depart for other challenges in their careers.
At the same time, we welcome in 2022, Ms Kaitlyn Downey as Head of Brennan House and Ms Rebecca Gair, Head of Quinn House.
Grace is the greatest gift that humanity was given on that blessed day when our Lord was born.
Merry Christmas to all.
Mr Patrick Brennan
Deputy Principal (Staff and Student Wellbeing)