Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of Caroline Chisholm College,
I am so proud of the students who have presented themselves for Baptism and the other Sacraments of the Catholic church over the past two weeks. Imagine being an Australian teenager and making the bold decision to commit your life to Jesus. Some of these students made this decision even though their background was not Christian, and all of them live in a country that doesn't place much emphasis on living a spiritual life. As I stood with the students in the Church I got a clear sense of their courage and of God's grace that had moved them to this point in their life. Courage is one of our college values, and it is easy to over state the choices people make as being brave and courageous. When was the last time you did something really courageous? For some in our community, they are courageous every day in the way they face their challenges with their health, their relationships or their personal situation. But for many of us, we live a life that rarely requires a courageous response. Perhaps our challenge is to be courageous in the way we oppose injustice, in the way we speak for the voiceless, or in the way we defend the human dignity of the weakest people in our midst. The mood of our election campaign would suggest that good people need to be courageous in the way they challenge the prevailing culture of materialism that treats people as a means to an end, and hides asylum seekers on Pacific islands. Many of our Year 12 students will be voting for the first time, and I encourage them to think deeply about what Jesus taught us: to love one another, to feed the hungry, to be the source of hope and mercy in the world. That takes courage.
At our Year 12 Reflection Day, the students prepared themselves for life beyond school by considering how their lives are gifts to God. Students identified their giftedness as they described themselves as loyal friends, sources of encouragement and caring sisters. I am grateful to Miss White and Ms Murray who care so much about our students and guided them through this beautiful reflection program. I told the students that, in five or ten years time, it will be these experiences that remain with them as their memories of Caroline Chisholm College.
Students in Years 7 - 10 will soon be bringing home their Semester One reports. This is such a great opportunity for parents to help their children take stock of their achievements and engage in some reflection about their learning. It would be great to set some goals with your daughter focused on how to close the gaps in each subject, and to identify what resources might be needed to make that happen. I have the pleasure of affixing Principal's Awards to some reports. These awards go to students with reports that show they always behave appropriately and respectfully, participate in class, bring their equipment and complete all their work. This is balanced with service hours and attendance to identify the most meritorious of our students. I have been pleased to allocate many of these awards so far this year, and I encourage all students to aim for this honour in their daily work.
The college recently received the results of our Quality Catholic Schooling survey conducted in Term 1 of this year. All of our staff and students and sixty of our parents engaged in the survey which helps us to plan how best to support the students in their education at Caroline Chisholm. In a future edition of the newsletter, I will share some data for your reflection, but in summary, we learned that our parents are extremely supportive of the Catholic education we provide. Staff, both teaching staff and support staff, value the work they do, and students feel extremely safe and connected to this school community. These values have been improving over time. It appears we still have some work to do in the areas of student stress and in the way students engage in their learning in an enjoyable and relevant way. We will be working with the students and teachers to extract the wisdom from the results to make Caroline Chisholm College an even better place.
Finally, we have begun planning for our second parent forum to be held in Term 3 on Monday 1 August. The topic of the forum will be 'Assessment in Years 10, 11 and 12'. This forum will give you the opportunity to receive some expert advice and to speak with senior teachers about how to support your daughter through the sometimes overwhelming system of assessment in the senior school. Please put August 1 in your diary. This will be an important evening for parents of students in these years.
A prayer for Australia
Lord God, as the election approaches,
we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our country,
and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.
We ask for eyes that are free from blindness
so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters,
one and equal in dignity,
especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.
We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned,
men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.
We pray for discernment
so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word,
live your love,
and keep in the ways of your truth
as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles
and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Mr Greg Elliott