Keeping the Flame

edit_img_0108.jpgIt is with pleasure that I write this In Touch article as the leader of our wonderful community while Domenic takes well-deserved long service leave to travel with his wife, Antonella. Dom will be missed, but I assure you the College remains in good hands and our mission to develop tomorrow’s gentlemen remains steadfast with a leadership team that has much experience with the CBC journey.

When speaking with parents, the elephant in the room is usually the future of the College when Dom retires, wins Lotto or takes up golf full time. I hasten to add that winning Lotto may be more likely than the other two, but Dom’s strong leadership provides us all with a huge source of comfort and inspiration, and parents do express a concern about the future. Yet, the powerful and positive culture that exists at CBC is not the result of the contribution of just one person – the CBC success story is the result of exceptional stewardship for a couple of decades, and the many ‘keepers of the flame’ who are the backbone of our mission and identity.

Being a Catholic school in the tradition of Edmund Rice, we have a huge advantage. The wellspring of the vision behind CBC Fremantle is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s simple really – kindness, patience, service to others ... these things are what drives the CBC journey from today’s boy into the gentleman of tomorrow who seeks to make the world a better place. We subscribe to Christ’s belief that the world can be, and indeed should be, a world of justice, solidarity, peace and love. As I said in my Easter address to the boys, they have the power to lead by example, to bring joy into the lives of others, to stand up for what is right, and to be a force for good in their families, their communities and the world.

I commenced as Director of Staff at CBC Fremantle in 2018 when I came down from the hills. Although I was armed with more than 15 years of experience in Catholic schools, my initiation into CBC was a steep learning curve. It was like every sensation was heightened – the welcome I received, the kindness from the students, the compassion shown to me by my colleagues, the service provided by our community, the intellectual stimulation from conversations with passionate educators ... sure, I had experienced these things before, but there is something incredibly special about CBC that wraps you in the journey and pushes you gently yet firmly along on the path of becoming a better person. If you want to – and I wanted to!

Then a few years later, my husband, Rob, received a job offer that was too good to refuse. Reluctance is not even close to describing how I felt as I resigned from my position at the end of 2019, but it was with much excitement that Rob and I moved to Melbourne, after all every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. I was fortunate to commence at CBC St Kilda and was privileged to be involved in some historic changes at the College as it moved into the future as coeducational. I learnt so much about running a school during those 18 months, but I must admit that every day I visited the CBC Fremantle website and social media to see what you were all up to – and maybe borrow a few ideas! Then COVID-19 struck – Rob works in airline hospitality, and we all know how that affected the sector. They were very uncertain times for my family, and the wisdom of our move to the east felt very precarious. Just then, almost to the day, like a beautiful sign from God, EREA advertised for the position of Vice Principal Identity and Mission at CBC Fremantle. My application was submitted with many prayers, and I was so full of gratitude and hope when I received that phone call. We were heading home.

"the powerful and positive culture that exists at CBC is not the result of the contribution of just one person"

1h1a9692.jpgThis little tale tells you quite a bit about me – that I am adventurous, committed to education, loyal, and, like all of us here at CBC, a ‘real life’ person. I had to work hard as a single mum to get my teaching qualifications, and I feel so privileged to be able to empower youth to make the world a better place through Catholic education. CBC Fremantle provides a strong moral compass for the formation of our students, and it is a deeply embedded culture that is built on the foundation of Gospel Values and the tradition of our founder, Edmund Rice.

With this incredible bedrock, I am honoured to be sitting in the Principal’s office at 51 Ellen Street, and I assure you that it will be business as usual. The policies and promises that Dom has spoken of in the past months around expected student behaviour remain firm; the works and improvements will proceed; the excellent education of our young people will continue, and our community will remain as strong and inclusive as ever.

Which brings me to some concerns that the College Leadership Team is constantly vigilant about, and that Dom has shared with you through this forum and communicated to the boys succinctly and purposefully. The use of vapes and the custody of vaping equipment on College grounds, and the possession of phones in the student toilets will not be tolerated. Should any student be found with vapes or using his phone in the bathroom facilities, then their parents will be requested to have an interview with me and, in all probability, the consequences will not be a happy outcome for any of us. For the safety of our students, we are adamant about this policy and we ask you to have a chat with your son about this. Please don’t think it cannot happen to you – many parents have contacted us supporting our stance because they thought it would never happen to them, until it did.

I am here for you, as are my Leadership colleagues, and I look forward to a wonderful year together as partners in the development of the fine young men of CBC Fremantle. We ask that parents never take a CBC problem to bed, and urge you to reach out whenever you may need reassurance in times of need.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday break and very much look forward to Term 2.

Ms Jenny Knox