Diversity makes us whole

We have plunged into Term 3 with so many exciting things happening already – the Year 12 young men have settled into their new learning centre, we celebrated and honoured NAIDOC Week, the Year 10 boys have been examining their future career prospects, the Surfing team tackled the stormy seas for their tryouts and we celebrated excellence with more than 350 certificates handed out to very proud students across all years and areas.

This term highlights our EREA touchstone of Inclusive Community and we believe that a truly inclusive community acknowledges and celebrates diversity.

We are an inclusive community when we acknowledge and celebrate 'the other' – whether they be different in age, culture, gender, ability or religion. There are many in our world, and perhaps some even in our local communities, who fight each day for rights, freedoms and acceptance. We are fortunate to be a part of a community that strives to make a difference.

"We are fortunate to be a part of a community that strives to make a difference."

As a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition, in order to remain authentic and make sure we are being the best we can be, we must ask ourselves reflective questions. How does our school community open our doors, our arms, our heart -- not only to welcome and support all who come through our doors, but also to go out and meet those who don't, constantly seeking ways to invite everyone to the table? What opportunities does our community provide to ensure we meet the diversity of needs of those we openly welcome?

We began the term celebrating the gifts of history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through NAIDOC Week. Led by Ms Sharon Hookway, our Indigenous Reconciliation Coordinator, activities created opportunities for students to develop a deeper understanding of what NAIDOC Week stands for. We are very appreciative of her attention to detail that resulted in some colourful and creative esoteric art, as well as some very important discussions. Finger-knitting in the Cloisters ended up as decorative yarnbombing on our London plane tree; our Indigenous students were encouraged to bring a friend to AIME Tutor Group and share their Tuesday morning breakfast; the library ran VR Indigenous Immersion experiences and students were even able to eat some bush tucker! The annual Year 7 day was chock-full of activities, with dot painting and traditional dancing being a highlight.

Ms Leanne Ogden, our Inclusivity Coordinator, has planned exciting experiences for the College community this term that focus on ability and disability, culminating in Diversity Day – an important day on our College calendar where we celebrate our differences. Our inclusive language initiative continues, with Year 7 and 8 students engaging in sessions about how words are important because they can empower or disempower others. The value of initiatives such as these is enduring in our College's culture because they promote ongoing social inclusion, changing landscapes, and the view that diversity is beneficial to a liberating education.

1h1a0644.jpgLast Sunday was the first ever Catholic World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly – a day established by Pope Francis to celebrate the link between generations. The Pope was influenced by his own grandmother, and emphasised the importance of this intergenerational connection in which the experience of life, wisdom and faith is passed on to the young. He said "the elderly and grandparents have the ability to understand the most difficult of situations: a great ability! And when they pray for these situations, their prayer is strong; it is powerful!" He was sorry that we have a "throwaway culture," that abandons the elderly who "no longer serve our interests."

This week, we encouraged students who are fortunate enough to have grandparents or elders in their lives to pause in a moment of gratitude, perhaps say an intention for them before prayer and make time this week to reach out to them and tell them how important they are.

Our teaching and allied staff also embrace our Touchstones. This Friday and Saturday staff have the opportunity to participate in a spiritual retreat, which helps to prepare us for our mission of living the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice.  The retreat provides staff with time for stillness and reflection, and time for connecting with our founding story and our faith journeys.

Warmest regards,

Ms Jenny Knox
Vice Principal