From the Principal

It is with some sadness that I begin with the news we have lost one of our most influential De La Salle Brothers of recent decades. Br Paschal Hagerty died on Saturday 3 June at St Joseph’s Nursing Home, in Kensington (Sydney) after suffering from Motor Neurone Disease for many years. The MND took a debilitating toll physically, but Br Paschal’s mind was very sharp, as evidenced by him spending his final years writing poetry, often winning major prizes!

Br Paschal was on the staff of De La Salle, Malvern from 1977 to 1989, where he taught English and English Literature, as well as being the pioneer for Biblical Studies , from which he took great enjoyment and satisfaction. His classes often had adult students, to the mutual benefit of those adults and De La Salle students. Br Paschal was a much loved member of the De La family during his time here and remained close to many hearts over the years.

A good deal of his time was spent supporting the underprivileged in our community. He was also passionate about handball and shared this with quite a few students who may have had no other sport, training them and taking them to play in competitions on Sundays. Br Paschal will be remembered by many staff, students, families and parishioners as an inspirational man who genuinely acted out his faith in the true spirit of Lasallian zeal.

Br Paschal was a great supporter and contributor to the Lasallian works in Pakistan. Br Shahid Mughal, Principal of Alban’s Girl’s High School, Multan, posted the following to the Lasallian Outlook:

Br Paschal was a great friend and benefactor of our school, rather he was an angel who thought for the upgrading of our school’s learning environment and with his kind donation was able to establish a Science laboratory and clean drinking water for the girls’ section.

 

He will always be remembered by the students and the teachers of Alban’s High School and his friendship will be sorely missed. Br Pascal won the hearts of many students and parents within a short time.

 

He was an upstanding role model and great human being who cared for the students by showing his love through his generous being. As a mark of respect, the students and teachers of Alban’s honoured Br Paschal’s love and kindness with a memorial Mass in La Salle Parish Church.

Eternal rest grant unto Paschal, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Last Friday we gathered as a whole school community in the gym to celebrate our gifted and creative young men in the annual Arts Assembly. All present were very impressed by the energy and quality evident in a broad range of musical items showcasing the Brass Ensemble, Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, Junior Band and Stage Band.

We had senior students deliver a Drama Report, including a performance of a scene from the VCE Drama class’ The Importance of Being Earnest, the very talented Eli Te Moni’s superb rendition of “Throw Your Arms Around Me” as a promotion for the upcoming production of Stella in concert with OLSH, plus St Mark’s House Arts Captain, Chris Ovens, presenting on the opportunities in the arts here at De La Salle.

St Austin’s and St Leo’s House Arts Captains Luke Barron and Andrew Eracleous, acknowledged and congratulated the 18 students, who had their 2016 work displayed in the ACC Arts and Technology Exhibition at Federation Square. I went along to the opening on Thursday night at The Atrium and Deakin Edge and was thrilled, not to mention very proud, to see many outstanding pieces in a variety of mediums from talented De La Salle students.

Congratulations to the following students (including several of the 2016, Year 12 students) who had work selected for display in the Exhibition.

  • Luke Barron — - Year 12 Austin’s 1
  • Harrison Boothey — Year 8 Dunstan
  • Benjamin Brownhill — Year 11 Austin’s 6
  • Benjamin Caruso — Year 11 Leo’s 1
  • Jameson Clarke — Year 11 Edwin’s 4
  • Ethan Dattilo — Year 8 Roland
  • Samuel De Stefanis — Class of 2016
  • Matthew Deen — Year 11 Edwin’s 2
  • Andrew Eracleous — Year 12 Leo’s 6
  • Jarrod Hambleton — Class of 2016
  • Rory Hulme — Class of 2016
  • Will Jones — Class of 2016
  • Alex Keramidas — Year 12 Edwin’s 1
  • Alexander Kokkas — Class of 2016
  • Brandon Luu — Year 11 Mark’s 6
  • Jacob Miller — Year 8 Vincent
  • Alexander Parker — Year 11 Leo’s 5
  • Levi Wardle — Year 8 Hegarty

I would like to stress the value of arts for boys and acknowledge and applaud the growth of Performing Arts in particular, at De La Salle in the past few years. There has been a wonderful development in the number of students accessing music and drama, and the quality of the work produced in these areas is demonstrating significant improvement, which has been just terrific to see.

Anybody who saw Footloose in 2014, Grease and Letters to Gallipoli in 2015, Hairspray the Musical or A Lighter Shade of Noir last year or this year’s magnificent production of The Addams Family, will be very well aware of the outstanding work our staff and students are producing. In a similar vein, recent performances from the various bands, orchestras and ensembles at assemblies and other school functions, VCE Recital evenings, Year 7 Band concerts and the magnificent Christmas Concert have all demonstrated the marvellous progression of our musicians. It is a testament to the musicianship of our students that, while many schools will hire professional musicians for their annual big-ticket musical, our musical score is performed almost entirely by students. This is a major achievement.

Being involved in the musicals and music program develops positive relationships and a great sense of belonging and identity as they work toward a common goal. Being on stage, in front of an audience, does wonders for confidence and self-esteem.

This year the De La Salle College Choir was asked to sing at St Patrick’s Cathedral, in front of approximately 3,000 people for the annual St Patrick’s Day Mass, drawing tremendous praise from many of those present. Our musicians and choir also performed at the cathedral for last year’s Valedictory and this year’s Opening Mass. This is a superb opportunity to perform at our grandest cathedral, which more and more of our boys are grasping with both hands, really enjoying the experience and the improvement performing on the big stage brings. We are very proud of all our artists.

Contemporary studies reveal that students who are involved in the arts have higher levels of school motivation, engagement in class, self-esteem and life satisfaction. Students who participate in dance, drama, music, and visual arts showed more positive academic and personal wellbeing outcomes than students who were not as involved in the arts. It’s abundantly clear this is true, judging from the success and confidence of so many of our young men who contribute so much to our arts program at De La Salle. Being present at their performances, seeing how much they enjoy it and how much they gain from it, is a marvellous thing to witness. I genuinely admire their courage, commitment and breadth of talent, and I love seeing the benefits involvement in the arts is delivering for each of them.

As I write, Year 9 – 11 students are engaged in Semester 1 Examinations and Year 12 students are involved in final SACs and coursework to conclude Unit 3 Studies. It is imperative students from Year 4 – 12 subscribe to our expectation that each and every student strives to achieve his personal best, regardless of his God-given ability. The College is setting ever higher standards and working hard to enable each student to demonstrate optimum progression as the year unfolds. It is crucial that students and parents look at work tasks and outcomes together and plan improvements. The data available in the upcoming Semester Reports is particularly critical for students and parents in their planning for improvement. A consistent pattern of good results is required to develop skills and competencies, to guarantee promotion to the next year level in general, but of more concern to Year 10 and Year 11 students is the need to qualify for the subjects of their choice next year. This is especially so in VCE Unit 1 and 2 where progression to Unit 3 and 4 in each study is earned by diligence and results, not guaranteed as a matter of course.

I would like to congratulate the vast majority of students who demonstrate their commitment to the Lasallian Core Principle of ‘A Quality Education’, who welcome cooperation with peers and teachers, working collaboratively and independently as required in order to reach their potential. For the minority of students who are letting themselves down in this area, you will find working with Year Level or House Coordinator and parents will arrest this departure from our values as a learning community. I must thank our tremendous teachers and the significant work they do in supporting and encouraging the young men in their care. They play a huge role in developing the family and community feel at our College.

Mr Peter Houlihan
Principal

Back to The Duce Issue 2017 08 - 8 June 2017