Committed to the common good

1h1a9277.jpgIn the blink of an eye we are almost half way through the term, and what a full-on term it's been thus far. I wish I had a dollar for everyone who tells me they're busy. Life seems very full nowadays and the CBC Fremantle calendar, like most schools, is jampacked with events to usher in the new school year. Many of these events are reported in newsletters in a transactional way, listing all the things that happened this week or last. What rarely gets reported is why they happen, their purpose, nexus and synergy. Some of you may have heard me use the analogy of a tapestry before; the fact that the most beautiful tapestry will have golden threads, silver threads, coloured threads and plain threads, but they all rely on each other when the tapestry is complete. No-one comments on the individual parts, they appreciate the whole. If not for the plain cotton threads, the tapestry doesn't hold and the wonder and awe of the precious threads will never be experienced.

So far this year we have had the Year 12 Leaders' Day where our latest student leaders are challenged and prepared for the task ahead. How they model leadership becomes the standard for every other boy in the College. How they welcome the newest members of our community makes a lasting impression, and the guard of honour welcome that they provided to the Year 7 boys reflects the fact that they passed that very same signpost a few years ago, and the importance that ceremony plays in providing a genuine sense of belonging for the youngsters and their families.

1h1a5010.jpgThe Year 7 transition to the College is carefully crafted to support and challenge our newest members and its most important subliminal purpose is the creation of positive and mutually beneficial relationships. The Year 7 camp provided a few challenges for the boys and some parents, but the College sought to ensure they were overcome by the pragmatic planning in a non-judgmental way so that each person is challenged and encouraged around their capacities, not the capacities of others.

I have already held around 70 individual interviews for prospective families whose sons will start in 2025, each one taking an hour or so. The importance of taking time to position families so that they can make a deeply informed decision about joining this community is integral to maintaining and improving our College culture. The signing of a set of commitments rather than acknowledging a series of rules is a point of difference we are well proud of and to which our boys respond maturely.

Our Parent Information Evenings are indeed informative, I hope. Over my career I have attended many of these nights as a parent and as a teacher. My mantra is that if a parent can't repeat succinctly what they just heard, was it an information session? Our evenings are crafted so that the College's non-negotiable expectations are clearly enunciated, but so too are our non-negotiable commitments to you and your boys. Your sons will be loved, cared for, challenged, taught and held accountable. Our staff will partner you and form relationships and communication that optimises your son's journey. Our learning vision based around academic behaviour seeks to establish the tools for your son to be a life-long learner, and doesn't just focus on content. We ask that you trust us with the minutia that is not covered on that night as it may not be pertinent to everyone, and we offer one-on-one opportunities for parents who wish to be on top of those details as it might apply to their son.

The Year 7 Parent Wine and Cheese night makes those same points, gently challenging our newest parents to let go and help their sons grow by letting them try and sort out their own issues with the great support offered by the College. The conviviality and informality at the end of the presentation seeks to establish relationships that are pivotal to the partnership required between school and home.

"...each day we aim to acknowledge, affirm, nourish and most importantly shape the emerging adult in your son."

Our Opening Mass was a beautiful occasion. For those who attended, I'm sure you would have observed the respect and reverence the congregation showed, even though they might not all be on the same page of their faith journey. The oneness and solidarity of our entire community is only on show once a year at this special event, and after a few years MIA, the Opening Mass showed that when called on overwhelmingly our parents support the roots and not just the fruits of a Catholic education.

Last Friday was our Rite Journey opening ceremony, with the Year 9 cohort symbolically thanking their parents for their childhood and embarking on this exciting next phase of their lives. The photos of this occasion are always a highlight, with the magnificent backdrop of the cenotaph and setting sun. This week our Colours and Honours Assembly and Ash Wednesday Liturgy again saw our boys at their best, celebrating the success of their peers and heeding the message of the Lenten Season.

1h1a8214.jpgToday we are holding the House Swimming Carnival. I hope attendance is high and boys do not use the opportunity to take a sickie and parents do not accommodate flimsy excuses. The litmus test is quite simple -- would that tummy ache or headache that prevents you from attending the Carnivals or the Mass keep you from the Ball or from Leavers? If it would, so be it. If it wouldn't, overcoming and contributing to the day is something to be proud of. Our sport carnivals are designed for universal participation, and the winning House tomorrow won't win because it has a surfeit of Butterfly swimmers. The winning House holds aloft that coveted trophy and basks in that warm glow of success because it has the highest attendance rate and every boy possible gets wet, from 100m Open Butterfly to bombie contest to tyre tube relay to K Division 25m doggie paddle. Every participation gets at least a point, and every point counts, and in the past these competitions have been won on the count from the alternative events. Next week is House Week and we invite all members of our community to breakfast on Tuesday. There will be opportunities for parents of Year 7 boys to visit Mentor Group after the breakfast. Later in the week, in amongst a host of activities, we will have our annual King of the Cloisters, our own Chariots of Fire moment where the whole school cheers for their representative. It's a bit like the Palio di Siena and a great deal of fun with the year winners parading with the crown and cloak to the acclamation of their fans.

Every day, every week. Sometimes big, sometimes small. Each activity interconnecting with each other in a series of rites and ceremonies, with common language and purpose so that each day we aim to acknowledge, affirm, nourish and most importantly shape the emerging adult in your son. Today's boy….tomorrow's gentleman.

Mr Domenic Burgio