Junior School Newsletter

From the Headmaster

Dear Parents,

It was a delight to join an enthusiastic Zimele crowd for Mass and the Walkathon last Sunday. My daughters joined me and I swiftly realised the Preparatory Teacher from Loreto Toorak had far more ‘star appeal’ than her Headmaster father! The timing of the morning was so minute perfect, that as we passed St Peter’s along Toorak Road we were able to catch up with the ELC families, staff and SKC student leaders who had celebrated our ELC Opening of Year Mass. Sincere thanks to all who rallied to the important cause that is Zimele. It is one way in which we at St Kevin’s ensure we look beyond ourselves and teach our boys the importance of compassion and action in social justice.

Sunday evening I had the pleasure of participating in the blessing of a new boat, the ‘Liam Donald’, named to honour the achievement at an international level of a relatively young Old Collegian (SKC 2012). Liam’s parents were with us and his sister wielded with aplomb, the hammer to complete the Boat Club tradition of the naming. At the Rowing Presentation Dinner that followed, I was buoyed by the excellent results of the seeding regatta the previous day at Nagambie. Each of the crews rowing this Saturday was presented and we heard of the season’s events year level by year level. Captain of Boats, Leonardo Grossi, eloquently proposed a toast to the College, to which I had the honour of reply. It was another fine SKC event.

Monday’s Heyington Assembly had an appropriately sombre atmosphere as our prayer, my address and the College Deputy Captain Jack Lunn’s speech all referenced the tragedy of the Christchurch Mosque massacres. Our prayers incorporated elements of the Islamic tradition and our own faith. My message was, extremism of all forms is to be denounced and that ignorance and phobias are the sadly fertile soil in which the seeds of extremism are planted. Boys were exhorted to ‘see the other’, try to walk in their shoes by developing a true knowledge of people beyond their immediate circle and to ensure that respect and civility are their natural, almost automatic response in society.

Have you considered the Foundation Annual Dinner which occurs on the Tuesday evening of the last week of term, April 2? This is another of the College organisations that ensures we look beyond our own interests and allows SKC to remain true to our origins and that we benefit into the future from our diverse student population. I do know that the Andrew Krakouer story you will hear, publicly presented for the first time, is an extraordinary and honest memoir.

I am pleased to share with you Jack’s address from Monday’s Heyington Assembly. 

Good morning Headmaster Mr Russell, staff and boys,

Born October 21 1833, in Sweden, Alfred Nobel was a man of many talents. Intellectually curious, he went on to experiment with chemistry and explosives famously inventing the substance dynamite. When Alfred’s brother Ludwig died in 1888, a French newspaper mistakenly published Alfred’s obituary. Reading his own obituary Nobel was disgusted to find out about his public image. The newspaper condemned Nobel for inventing dynamite, giving him the infamous nickname ‘the man of no morals,’ and saying that “Dr Alfred Nobel, who became rich by serving himself, and himself only, died yesterday.” Where a personality like his may have disregarded the comments, the unfortunate event instead inspired him to make alterations in his will, to be remembered for a good cause. Ultimately creating the Nobel Prize, and bestowing almost his entire fortune, with what is now 225 million Australian dollars, to those who confer the “greatest benefit on mankind”.

It was Alfred Nobel’s belief, in the end, that people must look out for each other, that people must care for each other and for the rest of the world, notably including a ‘peace’ prize as one of the 5 awards that he created.

Last Friday’s tragic events in Christchurch saw a deviation from the message that Nobel sought to perpetuate. The evil and hateful acts of a few individuals, saw the lives of 50 kind and innocent people taken too soon. Our hearts truly go out to all of the victims of this horrendous act of terror, as well as all those who have been affected.

Having seen this tragedy, I think it is important to reflect on how we can maintain peace, where these terrorists longed to see violence. The iconic St Kevin’s saying “good blokes finish well”, is one that I believe can encourage this peace.

 Having heard this line delivered by Mr Krake at least once a day for the entirety of year 7 and 8, it is a phrase that has stuck with me. And one that embodies what we at St Kevin’s should value, as well as what we as Australians should value.

Finishing well is not dependent on results, a gold medal, an A in a test, finishing well, is being kind and motivated when towards the end things start to get difficult.

If you’re a year 7 or 8 trying to write an essay, and the only quotes that you can remember is “I’m Dougy, I’m nobody much.”, or “stay gold Ponyboy”, a good bloke will not give up, write nothing and go home. A good bloke will finish that essay as best as they can, try their hardest because not finishing that essay is the easy way out.

If you’re a year 10, going to your community service placement, and you know that you can leave 10 minutes before 3 o’clock without any questions asked. A good bloke will stay that 10 minutes, finish their service well, because they know it’s the right thing to do.

If you’re a year 11 playing Fifths footy, and you’re up by 155 points at half time, you may get the urge to stop trying, to make a joke of the game. A good bloke will give that opposition some dignity, not treat the game as a joke and be humble in victory.

Across all year levels the mantra to ‘finish well’ remains important in all aspects of what we do. As we as Year 12s cross into the last couple of terms of our time at the school, I urge you to keep this mantra in mind. To go the study centre if you have work to do, to help someone who is struggling with understanding an idea, to be kind to everyone around you.

These may seem like menial, little things, but they are vital in maintaining an accepting and peaceful mindset.

Unlike Alfred Nobel, some of us don’t get the retrospective view afforded to him in his published obituary, however just as Nobel was able to finish well, so too can all of us.

It may not be in some grand altruistic gesture like donating 225 million dollars to better the world, but it doesn’t have to be. In finding little ways to finish well we can try our hardest to be the best blokes that we can be, and in doing so we can create a well-founded, peaceful way of living

So in the wake of last week’s events, I call on the boys of year 12, and everyone in the school, study hard, train hard, be kind, be generous, be compassionate, finish well, be a good bloke. Thank you. 

Headmaster’s Study Awards

Year 11            Aviation                       Harrison Hewat

                                                            Edward Quinlan

                                                            Oscar Williams

                        Physics                         Benjamin O’Donoghue


Kind regards
Stephen Russell

From the Director of Glendalough

Dear Community Members,

A decade or so ago, there began the phenomenon of people taking plastic water bottles with them wherever they went. (What an environmental disaster those plastic bottles have turned out to be!) I recall the comedian Barry Humphries speaking about this during an interview to promote his touring show at the time.  He questioned this new fad with scorn. With horror he noted that patrons even brought their water bottles into his performances which completely mystified him. To his knowledge, he said, there had been no known cases of dehydration during a Barry Humphries’ show.

It seems this obsession has morphed from water to take-away coffees. A couple of years ago I waited at a red light on the corner of Macarthur and Spring Streets in the CBD. I watched as about one hundred commuters ascended from Parliament Station and hit Spring Street. I couldn’t help exclaiming out loud ‘It’s true! What they say about Melbournians is true’. Ninety-six of the hundred were clad, head to toe, in black and/or grey and well more than half of them carried the ubiquitous take-away coffee cup. Coffee loving wearers of black. I can’t recall whether it was summer or winter but I suspect it makes little difference. The sight did take me back to Barry’s words and I had a chuckle that if anyone was going to suffer dehydration in an Australian city, Melbourne would have to be well down the list of possible cities. Drinking fountains are fairly prominent in our city parklands and you only have to walk twenty metres between cafes. Finding refreshments is not that hard of a task and the sun beats mercilessly for only a few days a year. It begs the question then, is the take-away coffee, like the plastic water bottle before it, a necessity or a fad? Either way I guess it’s a personal choice and does little harm unless of course you carry that cup of steaming hot beverage into a playground filled with active children and flying balls. In addition to safety is the issue of good etiquette. Where and when is a take-away coffee cup appropriate and how does one responsibly dispose of it? They’re all good questions for another time.

For now, and in the interest of the boys’ safety, I respectfully remind parents that bringing hot drinks into the school yard, classroom or other areas where students are present, is not allowed. To my knowledge, there has never been a known case of dehydration in this school yard or in these classrooms. Thanks for your co-operation in this regard.

James Daly 
Director of Glendalough

From the Ministry Team

Where we stand

As we gathered for assembly at Heyington on Monday morning, our hearts were very much focused on the dreadful suffering of those afflicted by the terror attacks on two mosques in Christchurch. In solidarity with victims of violence, our prayer was unusual. It was based on the Qur’an.

Every single chapter of the Qur’an begins with the same words. They are the bedrock of Islamic faith. All Islamic belief is built on these words:

  In the name of God, merciful to all, compassionate to each.

Of course, we can relate to these words. They might well be our own. In the name of God would not be a bad paraphrase of Omnia pro Deo. We could do worse than to build our lives on the same foundation.

We were also asked to ponder some these quotes from the Qur’an and the prophet Muhammad. They were all reminders of the gentleness, forgiveness, openness and compassion of God. We share these beliefs.

  • All God's creatures are his family and he or she is the most beloved of God who tries to do most good to God's creatures.
  • The three best things: to be humble amidst the vicissitudes of fortune, to pardon when powerful and to be generous with no strings attached.

Even before the terrible news reached us from Christchurch, Friday 15 had already seen three separate occasions on which our students were able to consider where they stood in the world.

There was, of course, the protest that received all the media attention. This was the school students’ protest against inaction on climate change. In Melbourne, it was held at noon at Old Treasury. There were Australian marches in small towns like Inverell in NSW and capital cities across the country. On ABC radio that morning there was lots of discussion around the rights and responsibility of people under the age of 18 to protest. One person commented that the most significant aspect was that at least the youth is passionate about something, not apathetic. This is an issue that is global but impacts on the future of these young people.

On the same day, our senior boys took part in a walk after school. A rally. As young men, they were walking as part of the UN Walk for Women. This initiative was organised at SKC by our teacher Kacey Pelle and well supported by the senior boys. It started at Melbourne Grammar School’s junior campus and finished at their senior campus. Not only were the boys standing up for equality of gender but they also had to step out of their own comfort zone and attend a ‘rival’ school to do this. For such young people, this is a great display of inner strength. Primarily young men were showing publicly that they do not accept the current state of violence against women and disparity between genders. Maybe one day they will have daughters and today they have mothers, sisters, girlfriends and girls who are friends. But this is not just about them. This issue is about wider society and the world they want to live in. An issue that is global. Indeed, most statistics would show that Australia has gender disparity but that the state of play is worse in many places. I admire these boys and their stand.

At the College itself, we acknowledged the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. Posters were displayed. Prayers were said. Students and staff alike wore stickers claiming ‘bullying no way’. This was a call to action of our mind. To stop and think and reflect upon our own stand. We need not to be bullies. We need not to support bullying and violence. We need to call attention to bullying when it occurs and be active in our stand. We need to show we will not merely allow bullying to go unchecked. All people are impacted by bullying. It happens in playgroups through to corporate offices. Students were challenged to ask: What can I, the individual, do? What is my stand? This was a more personal and internal call to protest.

The best-known quote in The Bible might be ‘in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you’ (Matthew 7:12). Surely this is what any protest is demanding of us. This is the reason I love working with teenagers. They often still think that they can do everything and this energizes me and makes me optimistic about the future. One look at our weekly newsletter’s ‘Fullness of Life’ section underlines why I do not find teenagers apathetic. I find them passionate. They encourage me to engage and to continue to strive and protest and rally. Youth brings strength and hope and enthusiasm. As we heard at assembly on Monday from the prophet Muhammad:

  The best of God’s servants are those who, when seen, remind one of God; and the worst of God’s servants are those who carry tales about to do mischief and separate friends, and seek for the defects of the good.

Mrs Jacinta Sheridan
Head of Religious Education

Fullness of Life

  • Kenny students with Mr Craig O’Brien assisted with the preparation and serving of breakfast at St Mary’s House of Welcome.
  • The Year 7 Camp Information Evening was held.
  • Students competed in the APS Chess Tournament.
  • McCarthy students with Ms Phelan assisted with the serving of dinner at St Peter and Paul’s in South Melbourne.
  • Prep, Years 1 and 2 students had a Buddy visit to Loreto Mandeville Hall.
  • Squash, Cycling, Badminton, Table Tennis, Swimming, Gymnastics, Tennis and Cricket held end of season celebrations.
  • A very enjoyable Foundation/Music Soiree was held in Boyd Egan Hall.
  • Year 12 Music students attended the VCAA Season of Excellence Performances.
  • The House Diving Competition was conducted.
  • Year 10 Staff and Students met to prepare for the upcoming Camino program.
  • Year 10 students continued Community Service.
  • The Rugby Season Launch was held in the Pavilion.
  • Mr Coyne and Mr Foster presented at the EREA Wellbeing Conference in Ballarat.
  • Year 8 students enjoyed a presentation by Author Mark Smith.
  • The second round of DAV Debating was hosted by St Kevin’s.
  • Mr Craig O’Brien and Mrs Power accompanied members of the St Vincent de Paul Society to assist with Tutoring in Tarneit.
  • Cusack students and Mr Toohey assisted with the Breakfast and Sports Program at Trinity Primary School in Richmond.
  • Year 12 Studio Arts students visited the studio of Marco Luccio.
  • Year 5 students as part of their History Tour visited the Chapel of St Kevin, the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School Facility at Richmond, and the Waterford Campus of St Kevin’s.
  • Year 10 Visual Communication Design students visited the Escher X Nendo Exhibition at the NGV.
  • Year 6 and 7 students participated in Forum Debating.
  • Friday Morning Mass was held in the Chapel of St Kevin.
  • Year 6 students attended the Future Schools Expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
  • Staff from the Catholic Education Office Tasmania visited the College for a Book Launch and Presentation.
  • Ms Lucinda Nolan was the Year 12 Guest Speaker.
  • The Year 10 Dancing Class was held.
  • Kearney students and Mr Toohey assisted at the Kids Kaboom Club in Richmond.
  • Purton students and Mr Barrett assisted at the Police and Community Recreation Program in Richmond.
  • Rahill students and Ms Willenberg and Mrs Power assisted with the Fitzroy Reading Program.
  • The Head of the River was conducted at Nagambie.
  • Staff attended Professional Development at the Learning Future Schools Conference, the CEM School Nurses meeting, Teaching Indigenous Students Conference, the Spatial Technologies Conference and the RMIT Careers Seminar.

Mr Ted Guinane
Director of Administration

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