From the Principal
Thank you very much for all you have done to support our community this semester. We have a lot to celebrate.
This weekend is the feast days of Saints Peter and Paul. A couple of years ago, I spent a European summer in Sicily, and had the good fortune to spend some time in Syracuse. The Cathedral there is founded on an ancient Greek temple, and when inside you can see the columns erected in the 5th century BC, the mosaics of the Romans and the wall paintings from when it was briefly a mosque. It is like an architectural timeline. It is one of two sites where we imagine that St Paul preached on his way to Rome in the 6th decade of the common era. if he didn’t preach there, he did so very nearby, at what is now the Church of St John.
St Paul was only there for three days, (he was on his way to be tried in Rome – they were presumably in a hurry), but I was so excited to be walking in his footsteps. Even though I’d been to Rome a few times and had been to all the big sites, there was something very exciting about seeing where St Paul would have docked, where he would have walked, even where the taverna would have been where he ate.
St Paul was a very educated man – and was independently wealthy as a result of his family’s quite lucrative textile and tent business. He was as a young man a religious zealot – attacking Christians. By all reports, he was very good at it. He was even present at the execution of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
Saint Peter was from a different background – a fisherman, the Gospels paint him as incredibly relatable. At times intemperate, fearful, but also very faithful and we must assume strong.
The tradition of the early Church tells us that they knew each other – they even had an argument of real significance in Antioch. It seems they made up, as they worked together in Rome before their executions by the Emperor Nero after the Fire of Rome.
Their stories can tell us so much of our faith.
St Peter is very often so incredibly human – attacking the soldiers who came to gaol Christ, denying him during The Passion, but then maintaining his leadership of the Apostles through to Pentecost and beyond. The Gospel of Matthew describes him as ‘the Rock’ upon which the Church would be built, and our faith considers him the first Pope. St Paul offers an example of radical self-forgiveness and significant change. From a position of hatred towards the new Christian religion he became one of its greatest supporters and his writings now inform so much of all Christian teachings.
The lesson I take from these two is that of forgiveness, acceptance of others and willingness to change. It is tempting to see Saints as gilt-edged and perfect. These two were not. St Paul had been a murderer and persecutor. St Peter had sought his own safety rather than even acknowledge he knew Jesus. It is their self-reflection and self-forgiveness that we should seek to imitate.
This is linked to our overall journey as a College. This semester, I have seen such an incredible improvement in attitudes to learning. It has been really inspirational. You will see elsewhere in the newsletter Ms Clapham’s description of the amazing growth in Maths. Thank you so much to the teachers, students and parents who have enabled this! When I spoke to parents in term one, I outlined the concerns regarding Senior Maths and it seems we have made a huge dent in that issue. Some students this Semester have received letters from Mr Bracken regarding their growth in literacy – another huge priority for the College. Thank you.
I am also proud of the students who supported our mission by either exhibiting their work or performing at the Winter Celebration of the Arts last night. I was so incredibly impressed by the standard, confidence and strength of the performances. The individual and combined choirs sounded just amazing, the separate acts were compelling, and the Media Studies vignettes were such a great display of the standard of work! I am sure that all who attended were, like me, really uplifted by the evening – particularly the fact that students from years 2 to 10 contributed. Mrs Collins, Ms Fredline, Mr Chivers and Ms Langerak have done a lot of work to prioritise our artistic presence and expression.
There will be more of this as we move ahead – please stay involved. In particular, in term 4 our year ten Art Class will be curating a Whole College Art Show.
Today, your child will come home with their College reports. These are legal documents, so if you do not receive it or you receive it in a slightly damaged condition, please let us know. Please note that comparators for P-6 will be on the College website to enable you to analyse grade distribution.
The Bianca Cavalieri Cup
I was approached recently by Lucy Williams and Annabelle Fox in year 6 with a proposal for a ‘Bianca Cavalieri Cup’ Netball competition, to be competed for internally every year. Having received the blessing of Bianca’s family, I can announce that this will be instituted this year. Lucy and Annabelle will support the planning and steering of it during Term 3 for a Term 4 start.
I think this is a fantastic way of increasing participation in sport but also maintaining Bianca’s memory as we grow. I’d like to thank Lucy and Annabelle for their proposal.
Digital Pedagogy at MMCC
Thank you to the parents who have contributed to the current thinking regarding e-learning in the Junior College. I am currently embarking on some action research where one Year 4 class will trial an interactive TV and Microsoft Surface Go devices for Terms 3 and 4 of this year.
Thanks also to the students in Years 7, 8 and 10 who have helped by taking part in OneNote enabled learning in the Senior School. All of this makes a huge difference in helping me make the best decision for learning in the College.
There are a few changes to staffing, commencing in Term 3. I take this opportunity to farewell our outgoing staff, and welcome in our newcomers.
- New Year 3 Teacher – Rebecca Thomas – replacing Caroline Costa
- Caroline Costa – 2 days in Year 4 – replacing Meaghan Golding who is going on leave
- Cate York leaving Mary MacKillop Catholic College– will be replaced by Julia Ryan
- Rebecca Jones and Duvessa Carmody (Teaching Assistants) leaving Mary MacKillop Catholic College
- Khara Saunders – Guidance Counsellor
- Vicki McKelvie – Maths Science
- Shannon Quinlan – History and English
- Nikki Wheaton – Primary Transition – Maths/Science/ STEM
- Meghan McVeigh – Drama and Music/Choir – Commencing WEEK 4
I am very excited to be able to grow the staff at MMCC – particularly in areas that enable greater cultural participation, student wellbeing and subject choice. We send our departing staff away with huge thanks for supporting our mission.
Thank you all very much for your support of this great College over this Semester. As I said to the parents who came to the Open Classrooms last week – what we try and achieve here simply does not work well without your active involvement. Please keep up your involvement.
Have a safe and restful break.