Friday 4 September 2015

Spring Arrives

Over the last week the advent of warmer weather has announced the arrival of spring. Blossoms have begun to appear on the ornamental trees surrounding Third Yard and the imposing Plane Trees that line the fields and ovals have begun to sprout their foliage for the summer. The flora has been complemented by the ‘kookaburra symphony’ that blares into effect as the sun makes an earlier appearance each day and hangs more judiciously later in the evening. It is a joy to witness and give thanks for these changes after the colder months: even the spirits seem to have brightened as a result of this perennial transition to the glory of the season.

Returning to classes in the aftermath of the Trial HSC Examinations, the boys in Year 12 are in the strait and heading for the finish line. With nine schooling days remaining that will culminate in the Valete festivities and graduation, the use of time becomes imperative, particularly the structured revision programs that will guide consolidation of course content and key concepts that have been formatively assessed during the trials. While Year 12 have their own intense time frames to work within, Year 11 began their end of semester examinations on Thursday so the end of term beckons. Other year levels approach the mid point of the semester with their own summative assessment regimes that will cumulatively find their way into the reports over the coming weeks.

Last Tuesday 214 boys in Year 7 gathered with Assistant Heads of House, Year 9 Student Leaders, Fr Jack McLain and Mr Tom Reimer to engage in a Reflection Day. Like retreats, these days stand in the great Jesuit tradition of reflective awareness of the presence of God in the boys’ lives and play a critical role in their formation. The theme of the day, Knowing: Ourselves, Others and God, enabled the boys to consider the big questions through group work, discussion, prayer, listening and leadership activities – all values that reside in the heartland of an Ignatian school. The boys certainly showed their openness to an exploration of faith with hearts and minds that were receptive to the call of service as they traverse the sometimes tricky ground of early adolescence. Many thanks are extended to all who facilitated such an engaging day.

The strength of the expansive Riverview community was on display last Friday at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where hundreds gathered for a Masterclass Luncheon to hear the precocious musical talent of Amelia Farrugia and the unique creative insights of Ignatius Jones (OR 74). Having just returned from six months in New York Amelia thrilled the audience with outstanding renditions of Musetta’s Waltz from La Boheme and Glitter and Be Gay from Candida, demonstrating why her ‘diva’ status is so commanding in the international environment. Accompanying Amelia on piano was the talented Christine Moriarty, who continues to share her musical gifts so generously with the Riverview community. Ignatius, among many other credits, is the founder of Vivid – the largest creative lighting show of its kind in the world, and the person responsible for the direction of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at the Sydney Olympics (2000), the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics (2010), and the World Expo in Shanghai (2010). There is little doubt that Ignatius is one of the finest creative and artistic talents in the world, so it was humbling to hear that in his formative years at school Fr Charles Fraser and Fr Charles McDonald were such important and supportive influences. Many thanks are extended to Rowan Wells (OR 84) as auctioneer and to Steve Newnham (OR 70) who facilitated such a memorable day, one that produced significant funds to support the breadth of the co-curricular program and strengthened both the cause and effect of community in the College.

That Fathers’ Day is looming was apparent on Tuesday morning at the Regis campus as the community gathered for the Fathers’ Day mass. Fr Jack presided at a meaningful liturgy that profiled the importance of fathers in the lives of the boys and the modelling that enables the great journey from boy to man to be navigated with integrity and purpose. Patrick Dunstan (5.2) and Ashton Cassar (6.3) shared a moving reflection about their fathers and two Old Boys  – Michael Henry (or 88) and Luke Bunbury (OR 86), spoke of their experience of fatherhood. The sacramental life of the Regis campus is given great depth through the efforts of Ms Lina El Khoury, who coordinates the many events that animate Ignatian spirituality and celebrate the rich tradition of church teaching.

Regis Fathers Day Mass 2015  01_cropped

The coming fortnight is arguably one of the busiest of the year. Tomorrow will see the final round of GPS sport for the winter season with many other associated activities such as debating coming to an end. A number of dinners will be held around the College grounds during the evening, particularly for senior teams, which will acknowledge the wonderful contribution made by the boys in the graduating class over the years. Following the conclusion of sport, the Indian Bazaar will impose itself on the campus on 12th September with thousands attending this annual extravaganza that provides funds to support the works of the Jesuits in Third World Countries. The final week of term brings with it the intense but enjoyable rites of passage associated with Valete and Graduation as 234 boys in the graduation class make their formal departure from the College prior to their HSC Examinations in October.

Best wishes to all the dads for a happy Fathers’ Day on Sunday


Dr Paul Hine