Friday 16 March 2018

Our Newest Enrolment

Meet Yarna… our newest enrolment in the Health Care Centre, who has entered the College under the watchful eye of Matron, Leanne Neal. We were all saddened to lose our much loved therapy dog, Sally, late last year. A faithful and loyal friend, Sally held more of the boys’ secrets and shared more of their distress than any other on the campus. She lived a life nestled between medical instruments and sick beds, navigating crutches and braces, and all the while enjoying the unsolicited affection of the boys. While her loss still leaves a palpable void in the day to day operations of the Centre, a new arrival has brought much joy and not a little energy to the precincts of health care. And like all enrolments to the College, Yarna’s credentials have been carefully considered. Of impeccable pedigree, Yarna will take over Sally’s duties as the heir apparent. That she has generated interest can be attested to by her legion of fans, who flock daily to the Health Care Centre to keep an eye on her progress. She is rarely without a cuddle, often from some of our biggest boys who melt to the touch and the affection of this little puppy. Boys from the SEIP program also have their own place as carers, learning the importance of responsibility and some life skills in the process. It is difficult to reconcile how one so tiny can make such an impact but that is the case with our smallest and, at the moment, our most celebrated enrolment. And, like the boys, she will be schooled in the larger mission of the College as she prepares for a life of service to support the affairs of the Health Care Centre and our boys during their times of illness and adversity.

Those who have had dealings with the Health Care Centre over the years are well aware of the staff who we refer to colloquially as our unsung heroes. The nursing and medical staff embrace the vision of the College at the deepest levels, bringing a distinctive version of cura personalis to those who need it most. Illness does not confine itself to office hours, so whether it be a broken bone or concussion on the weekend, the onset of a flu or fever at night, or an acute attack of appendicitis in the early hours of the morning, the health care staff are on duty tending to all manner of ailments. For that, we are eternally grateful, not just for the highly proficient manner in which medical treatment is rendered, but for the warmth and spirit of generosity that is so abundant in the process. So highly regarded is the Health Care Centre that the College has a standing Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with Sydney University as a professional placement experience for undergraduate nurses and for those in the Masters’ Program undertaking paediatrics. In that way, the medical staff are kept informed with the most recent clinical practice and are also assisting nurses in their professional formation. To Leanne and her wonderful team, we salute you in gratitude for all you do for the boys.

 Over recent weeks, the final stages of orientation for the new boys has been undertaken as they begin to self-steer in the aftermath of their initial induction. Earlier in the term, boys in Year 5 went on their camp while in the early part of this week, the boys in Year 7 completed their transition program to secondary school with their camp at Narrabeen. It was action from the moment of arrival between archery, rock climbing, canoeing, the high ropes and many other activities that saw the boys build teams, work collaboratively, solve problems and build their own sense of community, one which will strengthen over the years ahead. Fr Jack and I spent some time with the boys and we were impressed with the spirit in which they approached each respective challenge and the manner in which they responded to it. The early days of orientation are over for these young men and their course is set as they embrace the rhythm and cadence of school life over the years ahead.

Over the weekend, the summer sporting season came to an end. For the 265 boys who joined the College in late January, it was the first of many to come in the Blue & White, while for 237 graduates it was their last after many summer seasons representing the College. While meaningful participation is the primary objective of the co-curricular program, the boys do delight when well-deserved wins and accomplishments are registered. Congratulations are extended to the 1st X1 Cricket team who were undefeated GPS Premiers for the second time in three seasons (Captain Sam Fanning pictured with the Shield). Congratulations are also forwarded to the 2nd Basketball Team who were also undefeated Premiers of their competition and to the Golf Team who won the All Schools Competition. To all who give so much to support the boys across busy seasons of activity, I extend a statement of sincere appreciation, and to the boys who represent the College in such a positive and committed manner, I also commend and thank them.

The T20 Charity Bash had its own inimitable impact during the week as some of the big names in sport descended upon First Field. Former Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes, captained his team of cricketers, Old Boys and former Wallabies, while the 1st X1 battled and ultimately triumphed over some serious odds. But, it was all in an effort to raise funds for Jarjum College at Redfern, which is a small school that educates First Nations children who need the support of so many in the broader community.

This Saturday, the theatrics and drama of the Head of the River will be enacted out at Penrith. The boys have been in training all summer and they are poised to give of their best against some of the finest schoolboys’ teams in the nation. We wish them well as they approach the consummation of their season and their rowing careers at Riverview.

Best wishes for the week ahead.

Dr Paul Hine