Friday 1 December 2017

Another First!!

Edward (OR2001) and Anton Joris (OR2004) launch the first automatic sunscreen station in Australia at Riverview, with the Minister for Innovation and Member for Hornsby, Honourable Matt Kean MP (OR1999), Principal Dr Paul Hine and CEO of Melanoma Institute Australia, Carole Renouf. 

Last Friday, the Minister for Innovation and Member for Hornsby (and Riverview Old Boy), Honourable Matt Kean MP (OR1999), joined the CEO of Melanoma Institute Australia, Carole Renouf, to formally unveil the first automatic sunscreen station in the nation, which now adorns the outer wall of the Gartlan Centre. Developed by two other Old Boys, Edward (OR2001) and Anton Joris (OR2004), after three years of intensive work, this product was released to coincide with National Skin Cancer Action Week, which is an Australia wide campaign to draw attention to the impact of skin cancer in a country that is very vulnerable to blistering summers that can irreparably damage skin. Ms Carole Renouf addressed a group of Year 10 Riverview students about the seriousness of melanomas and the importance of developing sun safety practices to negate the impact of debilitating and potentially life threatening disease. It is envisaged that sunscreen stations, which have been subjected to extensive trials at Balmoral Beach, will begin to appear alongside of parks, gardens, beaches, building sites, golf courses and all manner of outdoor activity centres across the nation over the coming years. The second installation occurred on the New South Wales Central Coast just one day later, with many local councils and recreation centres expressing interest in acquiring sun smart stations into 2018. It was humbling to have two Riverview innovators combine with a Riverview Minister for Innovation to launch this event, which will no doubt bring long term benefit to the College community and to the many who visit the grounds and sporting precincts.

The last full week of the term saw significant progress on the Therry Learning Centre, which is rapidly moving towards lock-up stage by Christmas. During the week, windows were installed in the second storey while the roofing has arrived for the western node. Tiling has begun in the wet areas of the building and many of the electrical and plumbing services are well underway, as are the very significant landscape works that articulate the Vaughn and Therry Centres and those that give access to the north east face adjacent to the Therry courts. With over 40 construction workers on site each day involving a variety of trades, it is at this time that the building program surges. All of the furniture and fittings that will be installed in the early part of next year have been ordered and these will arrive in sequenced order as the building reaches the final stages of completion, which is estimated at this point to be April 11th. This is two weeks prior to the end of Term 1, which will allow the following month, comprising the final fortnight of the term and the holiday period, for set up in readiness for Term 2. There is much to look forward to as the year comes to a close and the early weeks of 2018 are programmed to see much progress as the schedule of works continue to be adhered to.

We are currently in the final week of the Year 9 Challenge. The boys have responded with great integrity to the many and varied elements of the program, be that in and around Sydney, with the extension activities that focus on Mathematics and Science, or in that more physically demanding of pursuits, on the bikes and in the canoes in the bush. This particular program builds team work, resilience, resolve, intuition, independence and inter-dependence, along with a concern for all who set goals as part of the process and work towards their completion.

 The summer sporting season has come to a close after some competitive contests over the weekend. Boys in their various codes and activities pulled on the blue and white for the last time in 2017, some of whom compete at the elite levels, many of whom compete at a social level. In each and every case there is evidence of skill development, team work, fitness, community building and fun – all the corollaries of active and health giving sporting programs that are part of the holistic and integrated educational program. To the many who give so much to ensure that the boys are ready for action and supported each week – parents, staff, coaches, managers and first-aid staff, I extend a statement of sincere thanks. The logistics that sees the better part of 1,600 boys engaged in such a diverse range of activities each week is something that needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. And, a very special congratulations and thanks to the boys who honour the code of fair play and spirited competition, and who are fine ambassadors of their school.

A very special Advent liturgy was held in the Ramsay Hall on Wednesday that combined the significance of the liturgical season with some compelling drama, the carols of Christmas and readings from scripture. It is that time of year when one, in a Christian sense, is asked to step back from the superficiality, the gloss and the glitter of gifts – many of which are superfluous to needs, and the excesses of food and entertainment that can mask the faith dimension associated with the birth of Christ in a humble stable in Bethlehem. It is the foundational platform of Christianity where the divine meets the human, where the paradox of a king is subjected to the status of a refugee, that the true meaning of the season is lived out. And, it is a time where we can be more than have, particularly with those who are near and dear to us, as well as those who deserve our special attention and support. The boys’ respectful response to the liturgy was something to behold.

We confront the final few days of term, which will conclude with Speech Day in the Ramsay Hall next Wednesday. As we move into the twilight of the term let us be mindful, in the best of the Ignatian tradition, to give thanks for the many blessings and graces of the year as the liturgical season of Advent beckons and brings with it the joy of yuletide and Christmas.

Dr Paul Hine