Friday 1 May 2015

Lest We Forget

On the eve of the centenary of the ANZAC Day commemoration, students from St Aloysius College and Saint Ignatius’ College gathered in the pristine surrounds of the Rose Garden to formally and symbolically honour the significance of the occasion. In front of a genealogical descendant of the Lone Pine tree, led by the echoing theatrics of the Drum Line and the clipped military precision of the Cadet Unit, the ceremony attested to the gravity and the dignity of the event that has captured the imagination of Australian cultural history. It was a decidedly school event, with students taking centre stage in reciting poetry, placing wreaths and witnessing a ceremony that honoured the Old Boys from both schools who lost lives across the tumultuous events of the ANZAC campaign and in other theatres of conflict since. The prayer that was written for the occasion attests to the solemnity and the depth of emotion expressed:

God of love and liberty,

we bring our thanks this day

for the peace we enjoy –

won by all who served

and who gave their lives

in times of war.

 

We pray especially

for our brother

Aloysians and Ignatians

who gave

and did not count the cost,

who fought

and did not heed the wounds.

 

Make us worthy

of their sacrifice.

 

May their generous spirit

burn also in us

and in generations to come,

so that all things good

which they sought to preserve

be known and nourished

throughout the world’s nations.

 

This we pray in the name

of the one who gave his life

as a ransom for many,

Jesus Christ,

our brother and Lord.

A further service was held as a whole School Assembly on Monday 27 April, bookending a weekend of historic national commemoration of the ANZAC legend. In all, one hundred and nineteen boys stood as the name of each Riverview Old Boy lost in war was read out, producing a striking effect that attested to the loss that this community has experienced through war. Special thanks are extended to Mr James Rodgers who coordinated proceedings across both occasions, and to the staff and students from St Aloysius College who travelled to make the interschool event such a memorable and meaningful one for the communities of both schools.

Year 11 End of Semester Examinations continue their remorseless march in the Ramsay Hall with the boys responding well to the more exacting demands of the assessment regime. Behind the scenes, despite it being only the second week of term, Year 12 Reports are being constructed in the aftermath of the return of papers and examinations late last term. Over the coming weeks the cascade effect across the school will ensue with examinations and major assignments that round off the first period of teaching and learning. It is important that boys throughout the school make structured and systematic preparation for what lies ahead for in so doing they honour the terms of their enrolment in a very purposeful manner and participate fully in the great Ignatian virtue of scholarship.

Boys in the Agricultural Program were involved in their final show for the season at Hawkesbury over the weekend. One of the smaller components of the educational program at Riverview, it nevertheless attracts boys with a genuine interest in stock and cropping – most from the land who have a desire beyond the immediate years of their schooling to return to the farm and take over generational responsibilities. The boys in Year 9 performed exceptionally well under the watchful eye of Ms Chrstina Mickan, winning ribbons ranging from 2nd to 7th place for parading, with Conor Minogue taking 2nd place for the work with his steer. Congratulations are extended to all who contributed to the success on the day.

The Hot Potato Shop came alive to the talented acoustics of Gabriel Winterfield (OR2005) last Friday, as he addressed the boys about his meteoric rise in the music industry over the last four years. Forming a band called Jagwar ma, Gabriel has rocketed to the attention of the music industry throughout the world. Based in the United Kingdom with record labels in the United States and Europe, the band is being pursued by some of the industry’s most acclaimed critics and courted by press such as the London Times. Among many adventures and insights into the music industry, Gabriel recounted a lunch late last year where he was seated at the same table as Sir Paul McCartney and David Bowie – both leviathans in their own right in musical history. If there was one piece of advice he gave to a packed Theatrette it was this – pursue your dreams relentlessly and fail to have regrets. As a young man in his latter 20’s with so much ahead of him, it was advice that was embraced by the boys whose own ambitions are yet to clarify but whose inspiration was sparked by Gabriel’s insights and encouragement.

While last week we signalled the need for prayer in support of the refugees who vanished in their exodus from Libya in the Mediterranean Sea, this week we pause in prayerful recognition of the many who have died in the earthquake in Nepal. In its own way Nepal is close to the heart of the College as a number of boys have recently returned from their immersion to Kathmandu and Pokhara, both of which have suffered colossal damage and loss of life. There is justifiable concern for the welfare of those communities with whom the boys spent time and for them we pray in solidarity and hope. We also pray for the repose of the souls of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, and that their families will be comforted by support of all Australians during this time of loss and deep sorrow.

 

Dr Paul Hine