Our Community Spirit

Acting Principal, Colleen Rowe

Welcome to Semester 2. I trust that students, staff and parents enjoyed a restful and happy holiday. I enjoy welcoming staff and students back to school after holidays; hearing their stories and sharing the joy of times spent with family (I had the pleasure of my two grandsons visiting me from interstate). I have visited lots of classes this week and find the students have returned settled and ready to learn.

At the start of a new semester and as we move deeper into winter it offers a time for reflection on the cycle of the seasons and of life. This year members of our community have experienced illness and the loss of loved ones, but we also have babies to welcome and a number of young staff excitedly preparing for weddings this year and early next year.

Retirement is part of this cycle too. Presently the SFX Principal and the Business Manager’s positions are being advertised. Michael Brown, our Business Manager, is retiring later this year. Last week we farewelled Mr Geoff Smith, our IT Network Manager, after 18 years of loyal service to SFX and Catholic Education across the Diocese. Geoff has done a wonderful job in leading the SFX IT Team in creating an excellent IT platform to support teaching and learning across the school. Our robust network and platform are the envy of many a school! We wish Geoff and his wife Marg well for the wonderful journey ahead as the retire to the coast.

On Wednesday morning we celebrated the College Awards Ceremony. The students receiving awards are celebrated for their outstanding effort and their excellence in performance in Semester One. They have achieved this through their persistence and hard work. It is important that we gather together to recognize and celebrate these accomplishments, for achievements such as these are not like little flames to be shielded away and out of sight. Instead they should be the sparks that grow and ignite others. The Awards Ceremony is an opportunity for these students to let their light shine and be an inspiration to others.

In my address I mentioned to all the students that there have been many ways and times this year that each of them has shone brightly. We see this in the creativity of the drama, dance, music and works of art produced, in the great problem solving, coding and robotics challenges undertaken, like Robocup and the da Vinci Decathlon.

Students shine when they offer hospitality and when they design, plan and create products. We also see this in the great sportsmanship of our SFX teams during competitions and also in the individuals who have achieved success in so many ways. It is found in the sense of joy that our Year 9 volunteers bring to people in the community. And it shows every day in the quality of the actions and interactions of each student and the care they show for each other.

The Award Ceremony is about taking time to recognize that the contributions of others enrich us all; that our presence grows as we recognise the greatness of others. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to take pride in what we what we accomplish and what we contribute individually and also to be proud of what others have done, as their accomplishments serve as both inspiration and motivation. To provide inspiration for our students at the Awards Ceremony an impressive and talented ex-student, Alexander Rodriguez (Tina Rodriguez’s son) was invited to address the audience.

Alexander was a student at SFX from 2002-2007 and a College Captain in Year 12. Since leaving SFX Alexander has undertaken university studies in Science and Medicine and is currently completing his PhD in Osteoporosis research at Monash University. Alexander has served on a professional practice committee for the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, the world’s premier bone society and is also an inaugural member of the Young Investigator Committee for the Australia New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society (ANZBMS). Alexander was named the recipient of the Christine & TJ Martin Research Award by the ANZBMS in 2017, the society’s most prestigious award and one rarely offered to someone so early in their career.

Alex spoke sincerely to the students: challenging them to be the best they can and to be empathetic but mostly to care about what they do. He impressed on them how important it is to take the values they learn at school into the world beyond when they graduate from SFX: to live the truth, lead with courage and learn for life. Alex certainly embodies those honourable SFX values and we are very proud of him.

Please continue to keep in your prayers, those members of our community who have lost loved ones and those facing difficulties in their lives.

A Scottish Blessing

May the blessing of light be on you
Light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
So that stranger and friend may come and warm themselves at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
Like a candle set in the window of a house,
Bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.

May the blessing of the rain be on you,
May it beat upon your Spirit
And wash it fair and clean,
And leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven Shines,
And sometimes a star

May the blessing of the earth be on you,
Soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
Soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
And may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you
That your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly.
Amen.
-Adapted from a prayer by Joyce Rupp

I hope this is semester with many blessings for you and your family,
Colleen

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