Senior School Newsletter

From the Headmaster

Dear Parents

It is the week of Camps – OAP and Music. On Monday morning, all Years 10 and 11 boys headed off from Heyington and Tooronga for the experience of the Year 10 Camino or one of the ten, “One Step Beyond”, Year 11 expeditions. Forty-seven, yes you read the number correctly, 47 of my colleagues are accompanying the boys and the expert outdoor activity providers. The benefit of the programs are increased exponentially due to the presence of our staff on these activities. The Years 7 to 9 Music Camp has nineteen staff attending and, consequently, I am sure the quality of that time away will also be first rate.

The final fixtures and events for summer sport are completed. Our Diving Team secured the APS trophy for the tenth consecutive year. Their success had, appropriately, a large quantity of hard training and we should never underestimate the expertise of our TIC, Mrs Elizabeth Howard. The Swimming Team were very successful in their competition, finishing a strong second, just 9 points behind Caulfield Grammar. Lawn Bowls won their competition, Cycling are State Champions once again and, on Friday evening last, in the cold and encroaching darkness, our Touch team won their competition.

I wish all a happy and Holy Easter and look forward to an energetic and successful Term II.

Congratulations to Angus Molden (Cricket) and Oliver Bytheway (Tennis) who were selected as part of the APS Summer Representative teams.

 

Student Leadership Appointments

 

Hockey

Captain

Hayden Briggs

Soccer

Captain

Thomas Fogarty

 

Deputy Captain

Thomas Skoff

 

Stephen Russell,

Headmaster

From the Ministry Team

The stars above, the mess below

It was terrific seeing such large numbers of our Year 10 and 11 students heading off on camp early on Monday and even better waking to crisp air and bright sunshine on Tuesday morning. I felt a mild pang of envy for our boys who got to welcome this beautiful morning in the bush. Outdoor programs are great for many things, not least the soul.

I can clearly remember the time when I started to believe in God for myself, as opposed to going along with my parents or reacting against them. I was in Year 9 and on what was then called a cadet camp. My father was sick in hospital in Sydney. My mother was doing wonders to hold it all together. In the August holidays, I was with a group from school in the bush near the Shoalhaven River sitting around a blazing fire on a cold night, sparks jumping like fireworks, telling jokes. That was what people did before the internet took the fun away and told the jokes for us. I lay back and looked at the stars. There were hundreds; the closest of them was light years away. I knew then that there was more to life than just life. I knew in my bones something real about God that I could not yet put into words and perhaps never have. None of the stupidity of myself or others over the following years has ever been able to destroy that gift. I am grateful for the bush that helped me find the one thing I have most needed.

Every year, I say a prayer that some of our boys on camp, whether in the Grampians or at the coast or in central Victoria, might have the same experience. They all have a deep hunger for God and it troubles me when that hunger is fed by the equivalent of junk food.

For me, the God journey of adolescence is wonderful. I love teaching Year 8 religion but it can be holy chaos. Early in the term, I happened to hear a boy, full of wisdom from his 13 years on earth, refer under his breath to ‘your invisible friend’, meaning God. He is a delightful boy, always smiling, which made it easy to hear what he was really asking.

I told him that I had heard that phrase often enough before. Indeed, I could remember a boy referring archly to my invisible friend when he was in Year 10. He happened to be one of the most difficult boys I have encountered, full of anger and as much a nuisance to himself as the rest of the class. When challenged, he set like stone and gave you nothing. When not challenged, he ran like a river, flooding the world around him with his confusion. We didn’t hit it off but somehow we got through the year.

A few years afterwards, I encountered him in the drive-through of McDonalds late one night when I was pausing for salad on the way home from work. He greeted me with unexpected warmth.

‘Hey sir! Great to see you!’

Let me assure you, it was the first time he’d said this or anything like it. There was nobody in the queue so we got chatting. He told me that at this time of night, there was often a long gap between customers.

‘So how do you fill in the time?’

‘Well, I just sit here thinking.’

‘What do you think about?’

‘Don’t laugh, sir, but a lot of the time I think about God.’

I shared this story with the boy in Year 8 and told him not to close the door just yet as God might surprise him.

About three weeks later, to my astonishment, the same boy told me that he had celebrated his Bar Mitzvah the previous Saturday. This is a little unusual at St Kevin’s so I urged him to tell the class about it. He spoke about having to read from the Torah in Hebrew. At the end, I asked him why he had chosen to take this significant step.

‘I thought you didn’t believe in my invisible friend.’

The whole class laughed, including the boy.

‘Well, he said. My great grandparents were in the Holocaust. And my grandparents were little kids at that time. They inspired me to do it.’

You could have heard a pin drop, which is rare in Year 8 RE. You could tell the mood of the room was strongly supportive. It was wonderful the boy had connected so powerfully to his tradition, even one with so much pain.

Pain, as Michael Leunig has observed recently, can be sacred ground.

This is what we will remember during Holy Week which takes place during the term break. It has been a painful term for a list of reasons, including both the Christchurch atrocity and the sentencing of George Pell. At times the pain and anger have been difficult to cope with. Yet I have been thinking that our community first took shape in a place of deep pain. It was formed at the foot of the cross. That is where we still find ourselves. It is not an easy place. It takes courage to discover faith both in the stars above and the mess below.

Mr Michael McGirr
Dean of Faith

Fullness of Life

  • Year 10 students and staff enjoyed a week in the High Country on the Camino Program, a journey of self-discovery.
  • Year 11 students and staff participated in the week long One Step Beyond Program. Activities included the Bronze Medallion, Canoeing, Climbing at Mt Arapiles, the Design Your Own Expedition, Horse Riding, Mountain Biking, Scuba Diving, Sea Kayaking and Surf Rafting.
  • A large number of Years 7-9 Music students and staff enjoyed a three-day camp. They gave a concert to students, parents and staff on their return to the College.
  • Year 12 students had a SAC/Practice Examination Week.
  • The Music Association held a function to welcome new parents.
  • The Fathers’ Association met.
  • The APS v AGS representative games were held.
  • The Foundation Annual Dinner was held at the Carousel Albert Park, where the Guest Speaker was Mr Andrew Krakouer, who gave an inspirational address and the MC was Mr Damian Barrett.
  • Year 7 and 8 students participated in Holy Week liturgies.
  • A large audience attended the Parent Enrichment Program where Mr Adrian de Boers presented on the topic Understanding Young People and Mental Health.
  • Glendalough conducted an Easter Liturgy.
  • Staff attended Professional Development at a Programming Seminar.

Mr Ted Guinane
Director of Administration

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