Thursday 15 October 2015

Term 4, Week 1

Welcome back one and all!! I trust that the break provided some space to reinvigorate the spirits after the demands of Term 3 and that there is a sense of anticipation and expectation about the opportunities that lie in store over the coming nine weeks.

The final week of term was a significant one for the boys in the graduating class and their families. Each of the formalities of Valete and Graduation were undertaken in an atmosphere that dignified the boys and the exemplary contribution that they have made to the College across their schooling years. Not without expectation, there was a mixture of elation and sadness – the former being a response to the achievement that has been registered in all manner of endeavours and the frontiers that beckon beyond the HSC, and the latter, a consequence of the departure from a community that has been so very important in shaping young men of competence, conscience, compassion and commitment. And while those mixed emotions prevailed through the various graduation events, they are ultimately the moment that we prepare these young men for as they leave with gainful futures ready to take their place in, and make a meaningful contribution to, the society that they enter over the years ahead. Special thanks are extended to all who made these important rites of passage so enjoyable and so memorable.

Over the September break two different immersions headed off, one to Micronesia and the other to Kokoda in New Guinea. Different in kind and orientation, both experiences took the boys (and the staff) out of their comfort zones to explore new horizons and to produce the inimitable growth that accompanies challenges encountered and overcome, team work shared and community built. Writing of the Kokoda experience, team leader Mr Jeff Myles, reflected:

The boys embarked upon the journey with open minds and embraced the four words emblazoned on their shirts: courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice. We experienced blood, sweat, tears, injury and minor illness during the 9 days and came close to a medevac on day three, however, everyone persevered and rose to the challenge in true Riverview fashion. Each and every young man should be proud of his effort and accomplishment.

This once in a lifetime experience certainly exceeded all expectations!! The Kokoda Track Fundraising progam netted in excess of $33,000, thanks to the efforts of all.

Another of the destinations over the break was Barcelona in Spain, where the boys on the Water Polo Tour not only confronted 8 games of competitive water polo, but also visited Ignatian schools and sites, including Manresa and Montserrat. Both are significant in Jesuit history: Montserrat as the place where St Ignatius spent time in the aftermath of his conversion, and Manresa, the cave where he spent many months in discernment formulating the Spiritual Exercises. Staff and students walked in the hallowed footsteps of the founder and in so doing, brought away a deep understanding of the significance of these sites in the Ignatian tradition.

One of the more moving moments during the break was witnessed at the Sofitel in the CBD, where two boys from Riverview along with students from other schools addressed over 300 of the nations’ most prominent schools and their Heads and Principals. Jack Calderan (Yr 10) and Henry Hughes (Yr 12) spoke of their respective difficulties traversing the years of school, particularly the adversity of Jack’s cerebral palsy and Henry’s ADHD, dyslexia and Pyrrole Disorder. It is normally educators who do the talking but the audience was in awe as it listened to the raw honesty and admired the enormous courage and resilience of these young men, both of who were making their first public address. It was fitting that the conclusion to the boys’ address saw a standing ovation; such was the impact of two young men who have responded to the most challenging of circumstances with extraordinary insight and conviction.

Among many other activities across the break, the Ignatian Basketball Carnival was hosted at Loyola High School, Mt Druitt. Teams from different Ignatian schools across Australia participated in a spirit of goodwill and healthy competition but special congratulations are reserved for the boys from Riverview who took First Place in the final after an emphatic defeat of St Aloysius College: 79 to 49. Well done young men!!

Returning to another busy term had its own share of activity and occasion. Three hundred and fifty boys returned to residential living on Tuesday from the different states and territories across the nation and from eleven different countries of the world. The Boarders’ Parents Association met to consider issues that are pertinent to those who live distances from the College and how the partnership of education can be strengthened going forward. This gathering provided an ideal opportunity to share the key elements of the Master Plan that has been submitted to the State Planning Authority and to the Lane Cove Council. Parents of the boys in Year 11 gathered on Tuesday evening for an Information Evening associated with the challenges and demands of Year 12 courses of study, which the boys will progressively take up following the return of their examinations over the next three weeks. And, this was before the bell sounded for the first class of the term on Wednesday.

That an intense term beckons over the coming weeks can be attested to by the atmosphere that exists with the assessment regime of the HSC, which formally begins with English on Monday. A prevailing sense of purpose has settled on the campus in the early days of term, exacerbated by a change of seasons and the limited time frames that apply. In the younger years transitions for 2016 are already coming into effect as the boys from Regis begin to consider their move across to the senior campus in the not too distant future and the boys in Year 9 make preliminary preparation for the Challenge, which looms in just 18 schooling days.

Best wishes for the term ahead.

Dr Paul Hine