From the Principal
Welcome back for Term 4 and I trust all have had a happy, safe and relaxing break. The year has certainly flown by and we now turn our focus to ensuring we finish the year as well as possible, prepare thoroughly for end of year assessments and make certain we leave nothing in reserve in striving to maximise our potential.
Year 12 students — final days
The outgoing Year 12 students inevitably dominate this time of year. This is a time of enormous significance for these students as they count down to the end of six or even nine years at the College. Although perhaps tinged with a little sadness, as all that is so familiar will soon be behind them, this is a time of tremendous excitement as these young men launch into the new and challenging times ahead. I spoke to the Year 12 cohort last week about the importance of finishing the year well. De La boys love their school; it has always been thus. This makes it doubly crucial to leave on a good note and ensure their legacy is sound and positive. We spoke of the critical need for good decisions in the weeks ahead. I passed on three basic expectations for our young men to keep in mind: keep yourself and your friends safe, ensure there is no damage to our College’s reputation and there is no damage to our property or that of anybody else in the community.
The Final Mass and Valedictory Dinner next week is a special evening for all Year 12 students and their families and I look forward to catching up with many of you at this event.
Let us not forget the most important task – to prepare as well as possible for the exams! There is still a great deal to be done and a great deal to be learned in the remaining weeks. Interaction with teachers, detailed and structured revision plus completing past papers may still achieve remarkable improvement if the attitude and approach are sound.
Recent overseas trips to Manila and PNG
I was fortunate to spend five days of the break with the 17 young men from Year 9 & 10 on their exchange with La Salle Green Hills in Manila. This is indeed a humbling and challenging experience but one of enormous educational benefit and personal growth for our students. To be immersed in a Filipino family home, to witness first-hand the brutal poverty and the overcrowding, the conditions so many live under while society continues unabated, is a tremendous eye-opener for our boys. I was very proud of their conduct, their appreciation of the experience and their stoicism in the face of some long, hot and challenging days. It is also a terrific cultural exchange and continues the 16 year tradition of exchanges between Malvern and Manila. We look forward to hosting the La Salle Green Hills group in 2015. Thank you especially to Mr David Happ, Ms Maria Hawley and Mr Andrew Wozencroft for leading the exchange and ensuring all ran smoothly, the boys were looked after and all came home safely!
I must also thank the 14 Year 11 students who travelled to De La Salle Bomana High School, just outside Port Moresby. Led in most able fashion by Mr Tim Hogan, Mr Warren Walker, Mr Michael Wilson and plumber Phil Dent, the party worked solidly for 10 days on a renovation project. They managed in this short time to convert a boarding house dormitory into two classrooms and an office, a task for which the community was very grateful, as it would have taken many months without Malvern’s input of manpower, expertise and Mission Action Day fundraising.
The beauty of these exchanges and of course November’s annual Coolies immersion in Lasallian communities in southern India is the opportunity to genuinely live the Lasallian Mission. Through working in partnership with our international brothers and sisters our young men travelling from Malvern really do get to ‘touch hearts’ and deliver in person some of the key messages of our founder.
Student Leaders for 2015
In the first week of the break we finalised the College Student Leadership positions for 2015. After a thorough process involving nominations, speeches/presentations and interviews with senior staff I am delighted to announce the following:
Stefan Di Medio
This is a fine group of young leaders with enormous potential. They are a credit to their families and the College and I wish each of them the very best for 2015.
De La Salle hosts Model United Nations Conference
Last Friday 10 October De La Salle hosted a Model United Nations Conference, attended by 81 students from nine Catholic boys’ and girls’ schools. The MUN is a simulation of a UN General Assembly session, in the form of role play and debate. Students take on the role of nominated countries’ ambassadors and exercise diplomacy and negotiation skills to present a position on the issue at hand. This is a fantastic opportunity for our students for extension, challenge and rigour, and developing skills in critical thinking, communication and collaboration. The formal Model UN has national and international meetings for secondary students, so hopefully we may progress to these events in the future.
We are now part of the University of Melbourne Network of Schools
In another exciting development De La Salle College has been awarded a place in the University of Melbourne Network of Schools program for 2015. We have successfully applied to be part of this exciting initiative for 2015; only a limited number of schools are accepted from the state, independent and Catholic sectors. The program provides a range of benefits, aimed directly at boosting academic opportunities and rigour. These include:
- Access to ground-breaking researchers and leading education theorists in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, including Professor John Hattie, Professor Stephen Dinham and Professor Patrick Griffin.
- Access to professional learning seminars for principals, school leaders and teachers.
- A structured approach to working with school data sets and access to research-informed dashboards, so that the network can evaluate how a school is progressing and demonstrate the impact of initiatives.
- Support in building teachers’ instructional strategies aligned with agreed network targets and the individual needs of each school.
- Access to other programs in other University of Melbourne faculties and departments.
Year 9 curriculum review under way
This week has also seen the establishment of a Year 9 Review Team. The eight person team has the brief of reviewing all elements of the Year 9 curriculum and the way it is taught, assessed and reported on. They will undergo a thorough and rigorous process and formulate recommendations to the Executive and me around the variety of subjects to be studied, the pedagogical approach, contemporary assessment and use of ICT to enrich learning.
Four of our students represented Victoria at the National Youth & Under 15 Weightlifting Championships in Launceston last weekend. More details appear elsewhere in Newsprint but congratulations to Bryce Morgan (10 Solomon), Jay Saddington (10 Solomon), Daniel Dakdouk (9 Solomon) and Sam Gardiner (8 Hegarty) who all performed exceptionally with their lifts. Thank you also to Mr David Hale for accompanying the team and for his ongoing support of the program and Old Collegian Simon Francazio for his outstanding coaching.
Congratulations also to Year 11 students William Mackie, Ryan Cosgrave, Remy Cadman and Matthew Simons, who represented Victoria in the Gaelic Athletic Association Australasian State Games during the term break. Victoria went on to win the finals, beating South Australia by 16 points.
On a sadder note, we have had two recent bereavements in the community. Bert Oliver (Barney), father of Mr Ian Oliver, passed away on Sunday 28 September after a short illness.
Jean Margaret McKinnon, mother-in-law of Ms Jackie McKinnon, passed away on Wednesday 8 October after being ill for a short period. Jean was a mother of five, grandmother of seven and great grandmother of two.
We remember Bert and Jean in our prayers and offer the community’s condolences to the Oliver and McKinnon families.
Digital learning implementation
The College’s digital learning plans were featured in the last edition of Newsprint. Click here to read about our device roll out and other ICT improvements.
Mr Peter Houlihan