Friday 5 June 2015

Another Ordinary Week?

One could be forgiven for thinking that the latter stages of Term 2 regress to an ordinariness of daily life between classwork, examinations, sport and other co-curricular activities. Not so: from the pageantry that was revealed at Joeys last Saturday that re-enacted a tradition reaching back into the 19th Century, to the panoply of events that cascaded in quick succession across a busy week inside and outside of the classroom, it is a time to appreciate the enormous depth and vitality of the educational program at Riverview.

Last Friday evening the finest works of the Graduation Class of 2014 were launched in the form of the Kircher Collection: a new publication that promotes the cause and effect of scholarship in the College. Named after Athanasius Kircher SJ, a Renaissance scholar of prodigious intellect and creativity, the publication profiles key fields of endeavour in Literature, Music, History and Art – disciplines and faculties that have been synonymous with excellence in Jesuit scholarship for four and a half centuries. Special guest, Associate Professor James Curran (OR91), who has previously accepted Visiting Professorships at University College in Dublin and Georgetown University in Washington, praised the boys whose works are published in the edition, and encouraged them to pursue their passion for learning as they move from school into undergraduate courses at university, and further down the track, post graduate work that will create new frontiers in knowledge and professional practice. Copies of the publication are on sale at Licona for those who wish to view the quality of works.

The Kircher Collection launch with special guest Associate Professor James Curran (OR91). Photos courtesy of Mariella Testa.

World Environment Day is celebrated tomorrow, 5 June. Earlier in the week, three eminent Australians – Dick Smith, Cate Blanchett and Liz Courtney, attended the College Assembly in Ramsay Hall on Monday to address the important issue of environmental stewardship and ecological conservation. Much to the delight of the boys, Dick Smith landed his helicopter on 2nd Field, availing himself of Riverview’s spacious grounds and access to the air corridor on the north shore of Sydney. Dick, Cate and Liz spoke with great passion and insight about the importance of an environmental consciousness, for it truly represents one of the most significant issues facing the world over the decades ahead. The gradual submersion of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean and the thinning of the polar caps are disturbing signs of a planet in transition; one struggling to keep abreast of population stress and resource limitations. Sincere thanks are extended to Dick, Cate and Liz for taking time out of crushing personal and professional schedules to reinforce such important messages to the boys.

World Environment Day Assembly. Photos courtesy of Greg Skeed and Max Stokes.

Students in Year 11 who are undertaking leadership formation via the Arrupe Academy were fortunate to listen to Julian McMahon (OR81) last week, who addressed the issues of social justice and faith. Julian was extensively involved in petitioning for criminal justice as the barrister working for Andrew Chan and Myurun Sukumarin, pursuing a plea for clemency from the Indonesian government in relation to the death penalty. Julian spoke with gripping insight and honesty about his life as a barrister and how his Jesuit education has assisted him to respond to the big issues in law as they address justice, across different jurisdictions and sovereignties.

Special congratulations are extended to the Year 6 boys who competed in the state wide Da Vinci Decathlon at Knox Grammar late last week. Students participated in school teams in a variety of challenging tasks involving the disciplines of English, Philosophy, Mathematics, Science, Engineering, Cartography and Creative Production. While most teams train for this event from the beginning of the year, the Riverview boys came together for the first time five weeks ago and it is for that reason that their First Place in Creative Production is particularly meritorious. This required the boys to analyse and interpret high order thinking skills in literature and respond creatively to designated performance and themes. As much as the win holds its own kudos in the public domain, the exemplary behaviour of the boys coupled with their enthusiasm and respect for the participants and officials involved in the day was palpable. Special thanks are extended to the Mathematics and Science faculties for assisting the boys in their preparation and to Ms Julia Burfitt who coordinated the event at the College.

A range of other important events were also facilitated during a particularly busy week:

  • The History Faculty presented an Extension History Master Class for HSC students from several schools in the Theatrette. Involving a panel of three senior teachers, Dr Sally Cove from Emanuel College, Matthew Esterman from St Scholastica’s and Dr Panayiotis Diamadis from Saint Ignatius’ College, they covered major themes including tackling HSC Examinations, the nature of historical endeavour and orthodox views of History provided much by way of learning for the many who attended.
  • Theatresports continued their very successful winning streak with the Intermediate Team winning their most recent competition against eight schools at Ashfield High School. They now move on to join the Seniors in the semi-finals over the coming week
  • Social justice remains high on the agenda with boys in the junior secondary school assisting with the St. Vincent de Paul breakfast in Lewisham last Monday while other boys collected for the Red Shield Appeal
  • Students involved in the Cambodia and India Immersions are undertaking their preparation for these significant social justice activities later in the year. There is much by way of fundraising and consciousness raising that will assist them to make the most of these life changing experiences

While Year 10 Examinations concluded last Friday, the relentless assessment schedule rolled on with Year 9 Examinations commencing during the week. Over the remaining eight days of term the intense process of report writing will occur behind the scenes to round off the semester prior to the mid year break.

Just an ordinary week? With so many prisms of the educational program being played out concurrently, it is worth stepping back to appreciate the richness of so much involving so many.

Best wishes for the week ahead,


Dr Paul Hine