Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of Caroline Chisholm College,
Had you visited the college last Friday you may have been surprised by the cast of extraordinary characters you would have seen wandering around the classrooms and corridors. We had Dorothy, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow and Lion. You might have seen Madeline, her classmates and Miss Clavel, along with various Harry Potters, five (yes five) Steve Irwins, a Beetlejuice and Edward Scissor Hands among hundreds and hundreds of others. Classes were being taught by the heroes and villains from Star Wars (our very polite librarian was a protocol droid called C-3PO! and her offsider: R2D2). Other students were taught their lessons by (almost) 101 Dalmatians and Cruella De Ville! There was even something strange in our neighbourhood: Ghostbusters from the TAS faculty.
You may wonder what lessons could possible have been taught during our flamboyant Literature Dress Up Day. There may have been some maths, science and other subjects taught just like normal; however, the real lessons were far more profound. The day was FUN! I fear that sometimes the fun is squeezed out of children's lives by the challenges of navigating the modern world. Friendship pressures, social media vigilance, high expectations and just the hard work of growing up can combine to crowd out the opportunity to just play and be truly present and mindful in the moment. Last Friday, fun was official and judgement was suspended. I believe that was the second lesson from Friday. By putting ourselves 'out there' in crazy costumes we were all taking a risk - but it was safe because everyone wanted the best for everyone else and we celebrated the craziness of the dress-ups together. It was a reminder that we are valued, not because of how we look or what we have, but mostly for being ourselves. As Dr Seuss says "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You". The third lesson was about the simple joy of reading! We were reminded that reading, and literature of all types (yes, even film) provides a doorway to the magical and an insight into the rich experience of being human in another time and place. I hope that, as a result of Friday, students will put down their phone / iPad / computer and pick up a book and drift away on the language for a couple of hours. What a healthy and refreshing alternative! Thank you to Mrs Dudley and Mrs O'Keefe for their organisation of Book Week.
Last Tuesday we blessed and commissioned our new College leaders at our Commissioning Mass. Fr Chris prayed for our new leaders and the whole community as we enter another year of learning and growth. We have adopted the theme: "Mercy is the foundation of justice" and we seek to teach the students and ourselves the vital importance of working for real justice. Each day we are reminded that so many in the world are crying out for justice: our aboriginal sisters and brothers, refugees, victims of family violence, even our environment. Over the next twelve months our college will re-commit itself to following in the footsteps of Caroline Chisholm as we answer Jesus' call to "Love One Another". In her speech, our new Captain Hannah Azzopardi challenged all the students to be the best they can be and to find ways of working for those in need and responding to the call to service.
She said: "This position allows great opportunity for our school community to be empowered and I therefore challenge each one of you. Unfortunately far too many of us take the extraordinary opportunity of going to a school, such as this, for granted. In a world where far too many women are denied an education, I challenge you to embrace everything that life throws at you, the positives and the negatives, the successes and the failures. God has given us today for a reason, to achieve something great and to never underestimate our strength and power when we simply put our mind to something.
I challenge you to immerse yourself into the culture and life of the college. Get involved, help your sisters and be an instrument of God's love".
As we approach the final weeks for our Year 12s, please pray for them, that God will be with them during their preparations and study. Our Year 11s, too, are preparing for their Preliminary Examinations. Our teachers do a remarkable job keeping the girls moving towards their goals and ensuring they have what they need to succeed. Hannah is right. It is a privilege to learn here.
Prayer for Justice
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
we come before you as many parts of a single body.
people drawn from every tribe,
every nation, every language;
some indigenous—peoples of the land;
some refugees, immigrants, pilgrims—people on the move;
some hosts, some guests,
all of us searching for an eternal place where we can belong.
Creator, forgive us.
The earth is yours and everything that is in it.
But we forget.
In our arrogance we think we own it.
In our greed we think we can steal it.
In our ignorance we worship it.
In our thoughtlessness we destroy it.
We forget that you created the earth to bring praise and joy to you.
That you gave it as a gift,
for us to steward,
for us to enjoy,
for us to see more clearly your beauty and your majesty.
Give us the strength to be your justice in the world.
Mr Greg Elliott