Thursday 22 June 2017

Insightful Moments

The Rector and the Principal were fortunate to spend time with some of the youngest members of the College community to begin the final week of term. Boys on the Regis campus who have made special efforts across the term in leadership, service and endeavour were acknowledged and thanked for the gifts that they bring to their school community and for their desire to live out Ignatian values in a meaningful and wholesome manner. These are magis boys, the ones who make the extra effort to contribute to their school and their community, and at the tender age of 10, 11 or 12. Yes, they are on the cusp of the much maligned teenager years, but, they will do much to counter that stereotype as they traverse this developmental stage over the years ahead. There were some insightful moments as the boys revealed their hopes and aspirations for the future, in a way that gives such insight into the idealism and optimism of young men in formation on the Regis campus.

After significant preparations over recent weeks, boys in Year 10 have headed off for their Service Week. Last Wednesday outward bound trips headed off for Bathurst Island, Jabiru, and Central Australia, while country regions of New South Wales such as Bowraville and Bourke also host students in various service activities. Closer to home, a range of Aged Care Centres, disability and rehabilitation agencies along with centres that feed and support the homeless have been the beneficiaries of the boys’ ministrations. Serving to learn and learning to serve: this is the mantra that actively embraces the spirit of Matthew’s gospel; namely, whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do unto me. This is important to the boys’ formation, to their world view, to their understanding of civic duty and to any response that they will make to global citizenship over the years ahead. And, along the way the service program embraces the deepest element of Christian theology, one that is made manifest in deeds and actions more than words. To the boys who enter into this element of the educational program with enthusiasm and conviction, I express a profound sense of appreciation and gratitude.

C.S. Lewis’ classic portal story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, featured in the Year 11 production of Narnia, to round off another term of theatre that continues to profile the talents of the boys. While entertaining in its own right, the play held a number of subliminal messages that resonated strongly with both Christian and Ignatian spirituality. Aslan, the central character, is a literary Christ figure who plays a pivotal role in the story of Narnia, as he sets out his story as a retelling of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. In moving from childhood into adulthood, young men and women can encounter the power of evil, but hope can triumph with the right determination and guidance. Much like Ignatius’ teaching on consolation and desolation, Narnia highlighted life’s vicissitudes and the decisive role that individuals play in shaping identity through reflective practice. Congratulations are extended to the cast who worked so hard, despite some obstacles that were encountered along the way, and very special thanks are extended to the Director, Ms Nat Baines and her wonderful stage crew whose commitment and dedication to a quality outcome bore so much fruit in the final analysis.

Many other events combined to produce a whiplash end to the term:

  • Wednesday, being the Feast of the Sacred Heart, saw the Cana community join the College for a whole school mass. Some very special insights into homelessness were provided by two members of the Cana community in the aftermath of mass
  • Wednesday night the Ramsay Hall was host to the Colloquium on Mental Health and Well-Being
  • A final boarders’ liturgy rounded off the term for the boarding community, which will see boys travel across the nation and throughout the world over the break
  • The Regis Athletics Carnival was a great way to complete the term, with the boys enjoying the exercise and the break in weather late in the week
  • Year 8 and Year 11 Parent Teacher interviews are being conducted as this Viewpoint goes to print
  • We farewelled our GAP boys from Ireland and England who have given such wonderful service to so many over the last 12 months[/textwrap]

Wintry weather of late has resulted in delays to the structural elements of the Therry Learning Centre. The North East Node, which is the largest component of the building that will hold the imposing external facade of the project, was able to progress with the subsidiary columns being poured, but the level 2 slab has been deferred due to downpours which have drenched Sydney over recent weeks. Connecting sections of the building to the external works have proceeded despite the rain, but concrete works have been navigating inclement weather to allow time for the pours to cure and set. Because each stage of the project is sequential and so inextricably linked to the next, the schedule of works has been extended beyond the 20 days allowed for the impost of weather across Stage 1 of the Ignis Project. While that is disappointing, we must be grateful for the rain which has nourished the grounds and greened the fields, presenting such a picturesque scene of Riverview in winter.

Over the mid-year break there are a number of immersions bound for different destinations across Australia and South East Asia. Over the coming days immersions will head to Cambodia, the Philippines, Timor Leste and Boroloola. These young men will be engaged in service activities as part of the faith in justice program that sees students actively contributing to global citizenship and civic duty. While the notion of a holiday is ostensibly appealing, these boys have chosen a higher order purpose that will see appreciable gains accrue for them and for the communities that they serve. They are to be commended.

As we face the holiday period, let us give thanks for those moments of insight that have been part of our term and may we look forward to the break ahead as a time of renewal and consolidation.  Best wishes for a safe and restful holiday.

Dr Paul Hine