Friday 14 August 2015

Turning The Page

Last Friday was deeply symbolic of a confluence that emerges at this time of year. Early in the day the new boys who are entering the College in 2016 arrived bright eyed but a little apprehensive about their transition to Riverview, particularly the boys who will be leaving home at a young age to enter boarding. There were a few tears as parents watched the boys move off into the next stage along the educational continuum, in poignant realisation of the fact that the early years of schooling are fading as upper primary and secondary school come into view. Later in the day the mothers of the boys in the graduating class gathered for the Year 12 Mothers’ Mass and Luncheon, the former in the Dalton Chapel and the latter in the Ramsay Hall. And, like the new parents who arrived at the beginning of the day there were some emotional moments as the graduates’ mums reflected on all that Riverview has been for their sons over the last six to eight years, and the post schooling years that lie ahead. It represented a turning of the page, both for the parents who are confronting new – sometimes unknown but ultimately exciting futures, and their boys, whose association with this remarkable school has capitalised on the talents of those who are soon to depart and will gain so very much from those who will arrive in the near future. And, it is cogent reminder of God’s providence, one that gives life and energy to Ignatian spirituality that informs and guides the affairs of Riverview, as it has across its 135 year history. We are indeed blessed.

The advent of Trial HSC Examinations on Tuesday is further confirmation that another chapter of history is being scripted and that the boys in Year 12 are in the twilight of their year. More than loom as another assessment activity, these examinations simulate the ‘big game’ that will be played out in October when the full ramifications of the efforts that they have invested over the course of the last 12 months will be realised. Like the boys who arrived for their testing earlier in the day the graduates had their own healthy share of nervous anticipation, but they have been preparing for this day not only over the course of the year, but over their schooling lives. So, we are effectively in the dash for the line and it is helpful to take stock of this stage of the year and appreciate its importance and how we can, as a school community, support the boys in their respective endeavours.

That it is not all heads down at the moment was apparent through the colour, pageantry and theatrics of the Joeys weekend, which saw thousands of guests arrive at the College for an event that had its first historic meeting back on May 15th, 1907. From the wee hours of Saturday morning until dusk, Riverview was a veritable hive of activity – on and off the fields. The captivating action on the ground was augmented by the animated and spirited antics of the crowds who flocked in their thousands to support their respective teams and participate in an event that has become emblematic of the history of these two wonderful schools. Sincere thanks are extended to the staff, students and parents of both schools for the way that they conducted themselves and gave witness to code of competition in the GPS and the values that underpin Marist and Ignatian education.

Aside from the educational and sporting calendar, social and community life was given full expression across a busy week. With the boarders for 2016 arriving to have their first ‘sleep over’ last Friday evening, a chance was provided for the new boarding parents to be inducted to the community and experience the richness of the Riverview family. The Ramsay Hall turned from formal function centre for the Year 12 Mothers’ Luncheon earlier in the day, to a lively community centre in the evening for the Boarders Parents’ Social, giving the newly inducted Proctors an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership and service. Across the weekend, four major reunions were held – some on the College grounds and others at venues contiguous to the College. One of the more notable was the 30th reunion which saw 95 boys from the graduation class of 1985 gather in Cova Cottage to reminisce about their hallowed years at Riverview before moving up to First Field to support the boys in the 1st XV. This produced a scene of symbolic and symbiotic union, a rich interweave of the past and the present in mutual support of the school’s mission to build community and fellowship.

Very best wishes for the week ahead, as we drive more deeply into the educational program at the College.

Dr Paul Hine