By Colleen Rowe, Acting Principal
The Year 12 Retreat was held in Sydney two weeks ago at the Collaroy Conference Centre. The theme of the retreat was Past Memories, Future Dreams and it was wonderful! All who attended were incredibly impressed with the Year 12 students and the way they engaged in the activities (we also received VERY positive comments from the staff at the Collaroy Centre about them).
The expertly-prepared program was just the right balance of fun activities, reflection, prayer and sensitive input from teachers. Bridie McNeil and the Year 12 Pastoral Leaders should have a great sense of pride in the role they have played in the formation of these fine young people (as can we all, as members of the nurturing community who have been caring for the students since their days in Year 7).
I would like to thank our REC, Jarek Ferenc, Bridie McNeil our Year 12 Coordinator, Sister Sue Hallams, Judy Knight our Senior Studies Coordinator, Fr Loi and the Year 12 Pastoral Team for facilitating this very important part of the Year 12 students’ journey to graduation
This was my first experience of a Year 12 Retreat and I’m questioning why it has taken me so long to attend. I found the experience to be a wonderful celebration of who we are as a College. One of the beautiful things that I witnessed on the retreat was the love the students have for their Pastoral Leaders. The gratitude for and appreciation of the Pastoral Leaders was expressed in many ways by the students over the three days.
This shows how valuable our SFX pastoral care system is and how vital it was that we designed a system that has at its foundation the relationships between the teacher and their Pastoral Group and the Pastoral Team progressing through the years with their students. Most of the Pastoral Leaders have been with the Year 12s since they were in Year 7 and were there with them on their Year 7 camp (quite a different experience that involved tents and camping in the rain!). How fitting, that the Pastoral Leaders are there still supporting them in their final weeks at SFX.
The 2018 Year 12s will be our seventeenth cohort to graduate at SFX. Over these years we have built some lovely traditions for this important life rite of passage for our graduands. The special last day of school, before final exams, starts with the Year 12 Breakfast served by the Pastoral Leaders and then moves to the gathering for the year group photo and the special year assembly. This is followed by the whole school assembly to farewell and applaud the students on their way. After the exams we have the very moving Graduation Ceremony and Mass and lastly the wonderful final celebration together with the Year 12s and many of their parents and staff at the Year 12 Formal.
I have had the joy of being involved in each year of these final days for our 12s since 2002 (four of these years I experienced being a parent of a Year 12 graduate as well). Every year I have felt, like many other staff members, a parent like emotional reaction to our young ones leaving the nest and taking off to the world beyond school. We remember how they started the journey with us, as our fresh faced curious youngest, showing great enthusiasm and willingness to try new things. We match them with the now more grown up faces projected on the Gym wall at the final assembly and think how they have matured so much but recognise how they still have that spark and passion for adventure and learning at this exciting time of change.
Today sees the Year 12s Tertiary Students sitting for their AST exams. We wish them well and feel confident that they are well prepared for these tests, as their learning journey and preparation for this has been happening for the last five and half years. We hope that the last eight weeks for our Year 12s are productive and enjoyable ones.
Prayer for our Year 12 Students
Let us pray for our Year 12s as they begin their journey to graduation.
God, we ask that they especially feel your closeness during this time.
Give them calm hearts and quiet confidence in the knowledge that you hold them in the palm of your hand.
Holy Spirit send them your gifts of wisdom and knowledge.
We ask through Christ our Lord. Amen