The groove of Term 2 is well established as we come so rapidly to the end of the third week. Year 12 reports were distributed during the week and Year 11 reports to conclude the semester will follow in the next fortnight. Other year levels will be processed following End of Semester examinations as we move more deeply into the term. Notoriously shorter than the others, Term 2 has its own defining character with the fewest interruptions, the most intense consolidation of the learning program and the consummation of it with the End of Semester assessment regime. It is in this context that the boys are asked to make their own individual and committed response to their studies over the immediate weeks ahead.
The week on the Regis Campus began with the Investiture of the Student Leaders for 2015. In a formal and engaging ceremony, Mr Matt Smith spoke with great insight about the significance of leadership in life of the College and the central role that students have in giving witness, on a daily basis, to our Ignatian values. Distinguishing between ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ leadership, Mr Smith recollected his recent trip to the battlefields of Europe with the Riverview History Tour, and how students who weren’t formally appointed as leaders came to the fore, assisting others to feel integrated and experience the most from the trip. Parents of the boys who have accepted the responsibility to lead were justifiably proud of their sons and their commitment to serve the school community in various capacities over the year ahead.
A portent of the coming weekend, the Mothers’ Day Mass at the Regis Campus was a memorable event that drew upon the best of liturgy, the spirit of community and the pivotal role that mothers play in family life. Nearly four hundred people gathered to acknowledge and thank the mothers for their wonderful support, care and love that is the fulcrum of family life. Fr. Jack presided over a moving liturgy that profiled Mary’s willing embrace of God’s plan through giving birth to Jesus and acting as a model of fidelity as mother and wife. Angus Greiner (5.4) and Alexander Iacano (6.2) shared warm reflections of their mothers, while Mrs Felicity McCaffrey – mother of eleven children, shared her profound insights of motherhood. Special thanks are extended to all who coordinated events on the day, particularly Ms Lina El Khoury who produces such engaging and moving liturgies.
Many visitors to the school over the last week would have seen the damage inflicted by the torrential rain and high velocity winds, resulting in uprooted trees, dropped boughs, breached gutters and flooded fields and buildings. Despite the inclement weather, the boys have responded magnificently to the adverse conditions, as have the maintenance and IT staff who have worked valiantly to deal with storm wreckage and keep services going. The fact that not one class has been missed or any outage impeded the delivery of services is testament to the commitment and professionalism of the staff involved. Special thanks are forwarded to Mark White, Stuart Halsall, Bob Marsh and Brett Houghton and their respective staff who have literally put their shoulder to the wind to see that the delivery of the educational program has continued unabated.
While the wind and rain have added their own management issues at the College, they have provided testing conditions on the water at Rose Bay for the NSW Schools Team Sailing Championships. Nineteen teams represented thirteen schools and Riverview, following three days of demanding competition, was crowned NSW Champion for 2015. This is a superb effort, thanks to the expertise and commitment of the boys and the support of staff and parents. As a result of the win, Riverview will represent NSW at the National Championships, which will be held at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Moreton Bay in early July. Congratulations to all involved.
Students at different year levels have rendered another impressive week of service as part of the call to support the marginalised in the community. Boys in Year 7 volunteered at a local school to assist in maintenance and clean up operations after the storms, while boys in Year 9 and 10 continued their wonderful service on Sunday at the Loaves and Fishes Café run by the Exodus Foundation. In the case of the latter, the boys prepared utensils and food, helped serve a hot lunch, talked to the clients and cleaned up the tables while making provision for the next meal. It is opportunities such as these that enable the faith dimension of the College to be lived out by building community through personal generosity and civic service.
Ten boys in Year 10 have joined an international initiative in Jesuit schools around the world to pursue a collaborative social justice project entitled Justice Dialogue. Students from Poland, Guatemala, India, Zimbabwe, Portugal, Chile, the Philippines, Nigeria and Australia are evaluating justice issues in their respective societies and how current concerns can be progressed in a proper and forthright manner. Drawing upon the collaborative conversation from the international Jesuit network, the students will seek ways of promoting and responding to key projects identified in their own contexts and jurisdictions. It is hardly surprising that projects of this kind find themselves expressed in Jesuit schools for one of the distinctive elements of Jesuit education is the impulse to provocation; to disquiet; to creative dissonance – all in support of the marginalised and the disaffected whose own voice is often muted by power and oppression. Ultimately, this project will link students across the world through relationship and common cause that will produce an educative impact of enormous proportions for the participants and just perhaps, progress the concerns and causes that are the object of endeavour.
Best wishes for the week ahead.