From the Principal

This is our final Newsprint for what has been a very exciting year of change and innovation in many ways, whilst still ensuring we retain as a Catholic Lasallian College the values, traditions and practices we hold most dear. It seems barely credible that the year is almost complete. All students have now finished, with the primary students having their Final Mass and Awards Assembly this morning, yet it seems like no time at all since we had the various ceremonies to begin the year way back in January and February.

Thank you to students, parents and staff

In so many ways 2014 has been a year of change and progress at De La Salle. I would like to thank all the staff and students for their support and advice as the new principal wound his way through the first year. I have learned a great deal and gained so much from working alongside the College Executive in particular, but in so many ways the rich blend of experienced and younger staff have contributed to a very encouraging sense of support and unity of purpose around the College’s future. We are all very optimistic about the next few years with a raft of innovations already in place and others being rolled out for 2015. A special thank you to all our wonderful staff, regardless of their roles across so many areas of the school, all of whom make such a valuable contribution to our community.

I have really enjoyed getting to know as many students as possible through visiting classes, catching up with the Tiverton boys for birthdays, chatting in the yard, attending various music and drama performances and ACC sport. De La students are tremendous young men and I look forward to supporting each of them though their educational pursuits next year. This is a wonderful school, with a rich, long and proud tradition. The challenge I set each of the students at the final assemblies is to take advantage of the opportunities the College provides and be the very best they can be – academically, spiritually and culturally.

I utilised a quote from St John Baptist de La Salle at these awards assemblies to recognise all the effort our students put into their work. We enlighten minds and touch hearts. We encourage each young person to reach their potential. We rejoice in their successes, no matter how small.

Encouraging each young man to reach his potential is an intrinsic part of what we value most at De La Salle. Each student has gifts in certain areas and each must find these within, recognise the talents he has and ensure he uses them to the very best of his ability. Making good decisions is critical for their future.

Thank you once again to all students for your contributions this year; I am proud to be your principal and each of you makes a contribution to making De La a special place; a place where we all feel welcome, valued and supported.

I would certainly like to acknowledge the tremendous support of so many of our parents during 2014 and in particular the Parent Network, led so ably and enthusiastically by Cate Robertson and Louisa Salmon. It was fantastic to see such huge support for our inaugural Mother’s and Father’s Day Breakfasts and the Year 7 & 8 Time and Space Programs, among many others. These events are designed to increase community spirit and belonging and provide valuable opportunities for all in our College to work and socialise together.

The true meaning of Christmas

As the year closes and Christmas is upon us, can I take this opportunity to remind all in our De La Salle community of the importance of our mission as set forth by our founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle? As you prepare for the coming Christmas season and New Year, I would urge all our students, staff and parents to take time to reflect upon your role as a member of the Lasallian family and all that comes with that.

During these days of Christmas and throughout the coming New Year, may we give witness to this God become human, who made Himself a little child and who is close to those who suffer and to little ones. Children were the Founder’s life and they continue to be our life. We exist for them and for all poor young people who are unloved, uncared for and very vulnerable. Now is the ‘favourable time’ to ask ourselves, “If we do not do something, who will?” (Br. Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría, 2013).

As we give thanks for another successful year and begin the customary round of celebrations, I thought it appropriate to research a little for quotes and messages to assist us to remember what Christmas is really all about.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4.4–5). Christmas is a time to rejoice and look at the world with fresh eyes. We see signs all around that remind us how Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Nativity scenes are seen at community carol services, school plays and in churches. These signs help us discover God with us.

After hearing the message of the angels on the hills outside Bethlehem the shepherds responded;

Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger” (Luke 2:15–16).

They discovered not only that the Lord is near, but that God in Jesus was there embracing the frailty of humanity. The Christmas message is discovering God with us and in Jesus’ life we see God’s love and desire for justice and peace.

Thank you once again to all in the De La Salle family for your support and contributions throughout 2014. I wish you all a safe, happy and holy Christmas and New Year period.

Mr Peter Houlihan



Back to The Duce Issue 2014 15 - 9 December 2014