July 31st commemorates the death of St Ignatius of Loyola in 1556, but it equally symbolises and celebrates the works of the Society of Jesus that was formally commissioned by Pope Paul lll in 1540. Since those foundational years the Jesuits have spread to every corner of the globe and undertaken ministries of service and leadership at all levels of society, most notably in education. As has been the custom over many years, staff and students gathered at the beginning of the day for a mass in Ramsay Hall, the liturgy being concelebrated by five Jesuits, which included Fr Ross, Fr Jack and Fr Gerald from the Riverview community, as well as visiting priests Fr Jeremy Clarke and Fr Myles Sheehan. Following mass the boys went off to engage in the Faith Through Service program, which was rendered with great spirit in homes for the aged, schools for the disabled, in the local community and service centres. One of central principles of Ignatian education is service and we were blessed with a glorious day to go out to the world and make a visible contribution to causes and organisations that need it most, and in the process, make a difference. Learning to serve, serving to learn is the motto of this honourable enterprise and I thank all who gave so willingly on this special day.
Leadership featured prominently during the week with the investiture of the Student Leadership team for 2016. Congratulations are extended to each and every boy who has accepted the mantle of leadership with its attendant responsibilities and demands, for they will continue a tradition that has been forged at Riverview since the late 19thCentury. Special congratulations are extended to Bennett Walsh as College Captain, Tom Osborne as Vice Captain of the Day Boys and Henry Weston as Vice Captain of the Boarders. A full list of the House Captains and Vice Captains, Proctors, Prefects and Beadles is contained on the Student Profile page of the Viewpoint.
Students in Year 11 presented a stunning rendition of the John Buchan classic The 39 Steps to an animated audience in the O’Kelly Theatre during the week. This was a particularly clever and creative adaptation of the script, allowing a cast of 19 students to entertain, amuse, confound and excite through their stagecraft and sheer enthusiasm. Some wonderfully quirky characters gave the production its own energy that, among other things, created its own sense of engagement for both the cast and the audience. While the boys, along with the girls from Marist Sisters Woolwich and Loreto Kirribilli need to be commended for such lively and sophisticated performances, the staff, particularly Ms Belinda Clark, need to be acknowledged and thanked for their measured adaptation of the play and the overall quality of performance.
Further proof of the vitality of the performing arts program was seen last weekend as the boys from Year 12 showcased their individual scripts that were honed for the HSC examiners. The skills that are on display in the crucible of the assessment regime are highly polished and refined, with each student drawing upon hours of rehearsal and constructive critique to bring out their best at the time. A feature of the showcase was the diversity of themes and contexts; a veritable kaleidoscope of scenes and circumstances that confronted and at times challenged the audience. Well done to the young men who have given themselves so completely to the discipline of the theatre and to the teachers who have given such unstinting support along the way.
Two separate Immersion Reflection Evenings were held during the week for the boys who travelled to discrete sections of Cambodia over the holidays. It is always insightful to listen to the boys recount their experiences, particularly after some considered thought and discernment has been undertaken. These evenings allow the parents to deepen their understanding of the boys’ experience while in far off lands, working for the greater good of those who have so very much less. Humbling, moving and at times emotional, the boys emerge from the immersion as graduates of the classroom of the world; in itself an inimitable educator that grinds the mill of human experience that promotes thought and action.
The Blue and White Café came to life on Wednesday as the boys from the SEIP program learned hospitality skills by attending tables, taking orders and serving food and drinks. These are essential life skills that promote mature social engagement and a capacity to attend to a simulated work environment. Two boys will graduate from the SEIP program later this year via transition pathways and they will do so having developed individual living skills and experiencing the world of work, if in a modified environment. Staff who attended are asking for a return option over the coming weeks to sample the delights of the boys’ talents and to assist them consolidate on current progress in this area.
The week ahead is indicative of the speed with which the term is proceeding. Tuesday signals the formal beginning of the Trial HSC examinations, which will continue in the Ramsay Hall for the next three weeks. Towards the end of this week the momentum intensifies with the Year 12 Mothers’ Mass and Luncheon, the Country Mothers’ Luncheon, the arrival of the boarders for 2016 on their trial weekend and the Boarders’ Parents Social on Friday, the Joeys weekend with four major school reunions and the Proctors’ Mass and Investiture and the Year 7 Mother and Son Mass and Supper on Sunday. Whew!! And, we are only five schooling days away from the ‘hump’ of the term so a great deal is happening in a short space of time. It is incumbent upon the boys to ensure that with so many events that vie for their attention that studies are given primacy of place among the myriad other demands on their time.
Very best wishes for the week ahead.