As we near the end of this term this week has provided much inspiration for reflection on the richness of the life of a great school like St. Paul’s. With our assembly and the myriad of presentations and reflections, basketball finals, Year 12 Parent Teacher night, the Cambodia Immersion group departing, the College Twilight Athletics selection carnival , staff professional learning, staff – student European Handball, ongoing work with Year 12 projects, the list goes on; there is much to point to about the quality of our college and the diversity of experiences. Just one week should be multiplied by 40 to get a sense of the huge richness on offer. I am one very proud Principal!
Our College Assembly was opened by Dr. Tony Bracken, Assistant Director School Improvement and Chair of the CSO Review panel, reflecting on the school review conducted by the Catholic Schools Office noting some key affirmations of the college that are summarised in this quote from the review report;
“The College is at an important educational point in its history as it continues to articulate and embed a vision of high quality contemporary boys’ education in a Catholic faith context on the lower northern beaches.
The panel’s consultation with students and parents confirms a loyalty and affection for the welcoming, inclusive and respectful environment at St Pauls.
The College leadership and staff reflect a commitment to the wellbeing of each boy and to the provision of educational opportunities that build authentic agency, confidence in learning and life-long competencies.
The College’s academic results over recent times point to an ongoing commitment to improving academic standards.”
Dr Bracken also spoke about three particular areas in response to our prayer inspired by the Cambodia Immersion namely the college’s comitment to social justice, its connection to parish through Wednesday morning masses and the improvement and innovation in learning that saw an increasing level of student independence in their learning.
From this the college sets to work on its next strategic plan.
It was a very positive start to our assembly which saw many awards such as Bronze and Silver Awards for effort in class, participation in the many peninsula cup teams including the presentation of jersey to First XI football and our First XV premiership winning rugby team, TAS awards for the bridge building competition, the House Film competition, all achieving house points.
Further we celebrated the House Battles last week and the contribution they made to the sopirit within the college. This culminated in an update of House points seeing Moran move to the lead for the moment.
What we have also seen this week has been three basketball finals, Year 7, 8 and 10 with two teams going close- the Year 7 and 10 teams. One step further next season.
Our Parent Teacher meetings saw many parents and their sons meet with Year 12 teachers for the final pieces of advice as they prepare for their trial HSC examinations after the holidays starting in week three. The Year 12’s were also working away on major projects to be able to take them home, supported by teachers putting in many hours outside of school time.
On a community level we had the staff student European Hndball game which was charcterised by not only a wonderful spirit but also great enthusiasm. That the staff won was immaterial but it was noted that playing older lads may have seen a different result.
This generosity of spirit and enthusiasm continued into the Twilight Athletics carnival on Wednesday evening. That so many staff gave of their time was wonderful tribute to the work done. There is a more detailed report in the next newsletter but there is some detail and photos on the facebook page.
Above all the Cambodia Immersion group that headed off on Tuesday night are in our thoughts. This trip goes to the heart of why a school like St. Paul’s exist. That we can plant the seed of care for the other in their lives, to stand with the poor as Blessed Edmund implored, is a wonderful gift. They will be the face of Jesus to those they meet. I would encourage you to follow the trip through the blog linked here . It is a life changing experience and we look forward to their safe return. Prima Primum!
As we head off to holidays we ask for the Lord’s blessing on all staff, parents and families and pray that all our boys return safely on Tuesday 24th July.