Friday 7 September 2018

Generational Change

Late last week, Bruce Turnbull (OR1995) visited the College to speak to the First Nations boys about the opportunities that accrue from an education at Riverview, despite the challenges that are part of leaving home at a young age to board and being immersed in a demanding educational program. Bruce, who is one of the earliest graduates of the Indigenous Bursary Program (as it was then called), is currently the Aboriginal Education Officer at Bourke High School. His second daughter is enrolled at Loreto Normanhurst, forming part of a family and generational change that is aimed to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, one that the College has been committed to over the last 20 plus years. Bruce’s words of encouragement and support provided inspiration for our young men, as they form the next generation who will add to the exponential redress of the current inequity in outcomes for First Nations’ boys and girls in the area of education, health care and income, as well as the criminal justice system. In less than three weeks, six First Nations boys will graduate from Year 12 and pursue their own gainful place in university and/or the world of work, taking with them the values that have been part of their formation over the past six years. And just perhaps, in twenty plus years from now, armed with their own life experience and the inimitable responsibility that parenthood will bring, they – like Bruce, will return to the College to inspire many more young men who will continue to come and author their own story of achievement in our school and our broader community.

Over the last fortnight I have had the pleasure of visiting each of the classes in Year 6 and listening to the boys’ insights and reflections on their time on the Regis campus. Among other things, highlights included specific elements of the learning program such as poetry and mathematics, as well as some of the engaging units of STEM. The Year 6 trip to Canberra featured prominently in the boys’ recollections, as did the many elements of the co-curricular program that have been part of the broad and holistic educational experience that the boys have embraced since arriving from their respective primary schools. When asked the question: What are the boys looking forward to in the transition to the Senior School? – a number of varied responses were forthcoming. Many are keen to explore a wider range of subjects as they move progressively through the junior and then senior secondary years (not knowing that there are 45 different subject choices available!!); many are looking forward to the increased range of co-curricular options; some to the expansive size of the Senior Campus and others, to joining their brother(s) in their House groups over the years ahead. I was interested to discover that a number of the boys in Year 6 are sons of Old Boys and who are keen to continue their family tradition, as well as forge their own place in the storybook of the College over the years ahead. This was an instructive time as the boys educated me about their priorities, aims and aspirations, as well as their rewarding and at times consuming learning experiences over the last 18 months.

Deep under the imposing façade of the Main Building, recently renamed in honour of one of the greatest Superior Generals of the Society of Jesus, Pedro Arrupe SJ, lies the most extensive archives of any school in the nation. They extend from the western end of the Licona Uniform Shop through to the eastern end of the building and contain records from the earliest days of the College, along with artefacts, documents, trophies and paraphernalia that attest to the moments of triumph and hardship in Riverview’s most distinctive and colourful history. These precious and in many senses irreplaceable archives are under the judicious care of Cathy Hobbs, who skilfully stewards the school’s history to inform the present and to protect the future. Cathy works with quiet and measured assiduity, to ensure that the stories of the past are preserved and available for the current generations to appreciate and prosper from. This is another of the College’s many unsung heroes, whose daily efforts in what was once an air-raid shelter during the Second World War preserves the provenance of the College and its unique story.

Riverview Archivist Cathy Hobbs and the various treasures in the Archives

The intensity of the assessment regime that has facilitated the Trial HSC Examinations over the last three weeks on the Senior Campus comes to a close today. It has been a busy time ruled by the demands of the examination schedule, the complementarity of Special Provisions as they apply to boys with special needs, the quarantined use of the Ramsay Hall and supporting facilities, and the school calendar which has registered the noticeable absence of the Year 12 boys in the yard and associated school activities. The latter stages of the term are clearly upon us as we enter the final three weeks, the last of which is devoted to the many graduation rites including the Memoriale Assembly, the Valete Assembly and the Graduation Mass. Boys across all year levels approach the coming weeks with a mindset that is required to respond to the multifarious demands of the academic program, yet also, a growing sense of anticipation that another break will provide over September. The final weeks will also see the Indian Bazaar followed by the AAGP Athletics at Homebush – both cameo community events that dominate the College calendar at this time of year.

Just a reminder that Fire and Ice rockets into town tomorrow night. This is the central fundraiser for the P&F for 2018 with all proceeds going to drought relief – specifically bursary funds to bridge the hardship that current boarding families are experiencing. This will be an extravaganza in its own right, but like so many events at the College, it aims to support those who are doing it tough. For specific details over the next 24 hours please feel encouraged to contact Penny Whiteing from the P&F on the following email: [email protected]


Best wishes for the week ahead.

Dr Paul Hine