Friday 19 June 2015

Be Calm, Be Still

A busy term has been rounded off with a flurry of events over the final week. Intensive work has been undertaken behind the scenes to ensure that reporting schedules are being honoured, with the final touches being applied throughout the week. Year 7, 8 and 10 reports were distributed on Wednesday, Year 5 and 6 reports today and Year 9 reports will be forwarded on Monday. I encourage you to look closely at the progress that has been registered across the semester to ensure that optimum opportunity is being pursued and realised through the educational program, and that where weaknesses are identified, they will be the object of redress through strategic, systematic and intensive efforts over the coming term.

Students in Year 10 spent the week in service activities, giving witness to a core element of Ignatian spirituality. From remote regions of the nation serving the cause of reconciliation to agencies that support mental illness and disability, care for the aged, the infirmed, the homeless and the friendless, the boys gave to the cause of the other, those whose life circumstance ranges from vulnerable to precarious. And as always, the boys did themselves, their families and their College proud, with many emails and letters being received praising the way that they responded with great integrity and dignity to those who they were working with. While the boys are to be commended on their response to the service program, special thanks are extended to Ms Katherine Zerounian from the Ignatian Centre and the staff who accompanied the boys throughout the week.

Talking to Terrorists, the Year 12 Play, saw some commanding performances from the cast who embraced the confronting and controversial material through monologue and stagecraft with maturity and poise. An exploration of the roles and the awareness of the life circumstance of terrorists gave full expression to the theatrics of the script, which contained a complex mixture of issues associated with incarceration, human sexuality, religious extremism and violence. All other elements of the production including lighting, sound and direction were of an exceptional quality, thanks to the talent of the boys and the coordinating expertise and energy of Mr Tom Reimer and Mr Nathan Leber.

 

At the most recent meeting of the Saint Ignatius’ College School Council, further approvals associated with the adoption of the Master Plan have been forthcoming. With many consultations involving staff, students, the OIU, the P&F, the Past Parents Association, the local Member of Parliament, Lane Cove Council and local residents reaching their conclusion, the Master Plan will be forwarded to the office of the New South Wales Planning Department – State Significant Development over the coming weeks. As the first four stages of the plan that focus on teaching and learning, administration and school amenity are so integrated and expansive, the College has been advised to seek approval for the overarching building program so that each development can proceed smoothly when that time arrives. It will also enable the many elements of the building works, including the significant heritage issues, to be identified in advance so that these can be accommodated into the design and environmental impact of building program. While these matters are considered concurrently with the Development Approval process, plans are being made for a formal launch of the Master Plan in Term 3, which will enable all in the community who have not had access to the intricacies of the work to appreciate its scope and depth. Many thanks are extended to the Plant and Fabric Committee and the Finance Committee for their outstanding work over the last 12 months in generating and delivering this initiative, one that will guide the school’s building program over the next generation.

Riverview went to Newcastle over the weekend to spend time with a community who have supported the College over generations. As is always the case, the warmth and hospitality that is abundant on these occasions was palpable with significant numbers making time to attend a dinner hosted by the Roddy family at the Wharf Hotel. It was also a good opportunity to deliver the key elements of the Master Plan to the Newcastle confraternity, who were excited by the futures that the College is pursuing over the years ahead. Special thanks are extended to our hosts and all who attended a night of conviviality and friendship. Thankyou also to Zac Roddy and George Goodfellow whose music added an extra dimension of pleasure to the gathering.

Riverview in Newcastle. Photos courtesy of Christine Zimbulis.

Over the coming weekend the Intermediate and Senior Theatresports teams compete in the Grand Final at Enmore Theatre. To have both teams in the final eight schools from among the dozens that take up the challenge is a truly remarkable achievement. Best wishes are extended to the boys as they tread the big stage against the best that New South Wales can provide. Three separate immersions will head off to South East Asia over the break while the sixth consecutive trip to Borroloola will strengthen a unique relationship that has been forged over recent years. And, approximately 80 boys will be participating in snow sports while other young men line up for sporting camps, both in Sydney and beyond. In all manner of areas, the holidays will have their own proclivities and engagement.

The coming weeks will see a different cadence of life for many of the boys as they move into holidays: a time of rest and relaxation after the demands of the last nine weeks. Students in Year 12 are advised to have a short rest but to utilise a significant proportion of the holidays in preparation for Trial HSC Examinations, which loom after just twenty teaching days following the resumption of classes. At senior secondary level, this is a time for consolidation of core syllabus objectives and intensive revision as the final term of schooling is confronted.

Very best wishes for a safe and restful break and for a smooth return to school in mid July.

 

Dr Paul Hine