The Richness of the Life of a Great School.

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.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal

 

 

 

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Role Modeling how to be a Man

I spent a very challenging time yesterday with all the Diocesan principals and priests listening to a presentation from Catholic Care Broken Bay on Domestic Violence. A key figure stood out which was that 95% of all domestic violence was perpetrated by men.

DV

 

Consequently the messages we give directly and indirectly by our behaviour and gender stereotyping at home make all the difference. The following clip for Our Watch is well worth your time in outlining this issue. The men in the lives of our sons need to be good role models if we are to break the cycle of Domestic Violence or ensure it never occurs. Catholic Care stand ready to suport families in need.

A very impactful point was the reality that a young person witnessing domestic violence has a similar impact to experiencing the violence themselves. That any young person faces such experiences is heart breaking but given that we know statistically that one in four 12-20 year-old Australians surveyed was aware of domestic violence against their mothers or step-mothers by their fathers or step-fathers. One quarter of a national survey of young people.

It raises questions for us too about how we respond to bullying. Gus Worland’s Man Up program that Year 11 experienced last year challenged us to focus on the need to allow our young men to be real , to not suppress their emotions, that expressing hurt isn’t feminine behaviour but is a normal human response. The notion of the ‘angry young man’ too is a result of years of experience.

Adolescence can be a turbulent time for parents but we know as Michael Carr-Gregg writes in ‘The Prince Boofhead Syndrome’, through a mixture of personality, temperament and good parenting, it is clear that the vast majority  of boys turn out to be fine, considerate, contributing and valuable members of society’. As we know the good parenting bit isn’t easy and requires day by day effort to give our young men the tools they need to manage their temperament.

We know too that our role modeling as males makes an enormous difference. Celia Lashlie in ‘He’ll Be Ok’ encouraged men to walk their sons across the bridge of adolescence, to step up, be involved in their lives, mould their sons into the fine young men we need them to be.

The college also stands ready to support you as we already do for so many.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal

 

 

Valuing Professional Learning- St.Paul’s a Learning Community.

Whilst many of our families head off on a four day long weekend (don’t forget double demerits!) the teaching staff of St. Pauls will be actively engaging in Professional Learning in support of the learning agenda of the college. The college is approaching its improvement in teaching in learning in a data informed way but also utilising the best practice advice around how to support teachers in their professional learning.

As is noted; ” Effective schools are learning communities, the core element of which is a culture of collaboration and collective responsibility for the development of effective teaching practices and improved student achievement.”

The college as part of the diocese has a responsibility also to support teachers in their learning as every teacher is now required to be accredited with the NSW Educational Standards Authority (NESA) and are required to maintain their accreditation through ongoing learning, updating if you like.

The day has been registered by NESA as accredited profesional learning which is testament to it being a quality day.

The day we have structured for us by Mr Hutchinson and Mrs McGregor sees staff working closely together, learning from each other with the goal of improving the learning of our young men.  A productive and rewarding day of learning. #PrimaPrimum.

The day is as follows:

Prayer All Staff –
Assessment tasks- how do we ensure that all students can access tasks and demonstrate achievement of outcomes at the appropriate level?
Using evidence to identify  with technology what students are ready to learn.

 

The whole school literacy approach.  
Morning Tea
Engaging with Accreditation (Mission and Secular)
Engaging with the Google suite, and the use of ICT in student learning.
Lunch
Using inquiry based learning to support student growth Flipping the classroom

 

Revisiting cultures of thinking 

Enjoy your break.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal.

Success, Pride and Motivation for all.

It is interesting watching the varying reactions of our young men as they come to the stage of the Waterford Hall to be congratulated for success whether it be in the classroom or the sporting field or community service. Our younger students enthusiastically present themselves for congratulations and proudly show their certificates to the audience. As they get older a reluctance creeps in which is understandable given the realities of adolescence, a code that says it isnt cool to succeed.

Not a new paradigm but certainly one we should challenge.

Individually they are quite proud of themselves but the last thing they are going to do is present as proud to their mates; that breaks the code. The trap for schools is to pander to this. Young men deserve to be congratulated for the success they achieve. We want them to be role models to their peers. The code needs to be challenged.

One of the measures of what a school values is what it celebrates. Our hope is that we highlight success for all our young men in all things they do. As part of our commitment to St. Pauls as a school committed to Positive Education, a distinct focus on the positive is a significant priority for us, keeping faith with the accepted thinking of Positive psychology to always be affirming much more than criticising.

We know in schools that ‘catching them doing it right’ and affirming that, as we actually target the praise for the actions,  is  a much more successful strategy with our young men than a disciplinary approach. As parents we know the strong motivating effect of praise and gratitude we direct to our children. Age makes no difference.

Our House Shield competition which is being led by our College Prefects is something we are using to motivate our young men, building on their sense of identity and pride, coupled with a healthy competitive spiruit is seeing , as each assembly occurs, is developing a more and more positive reponse . The audience is taking notice!

I have challenged our young men of St. Paul’s at the end of each assembly with the question,  “Why aren’t you up here receiving an award?” We know that the number is higher with younger students than older yet we also know that our seniors need such certificates and awards as part of a curriculum vitae they’ll require for employment and / or University / TAFE entrance .

Encouraging them to embrace positivity and recognition is something we as parents can helpo ouyr young men to do. We shouldn’t let them off the hook just because they are older.

We know that developing success is a great motivator, as much as informed feedback. That we learn as we go, motivated by small interactions that encourage our improving actions. Given we are a week or so along from Parent Teacher Student interviews now is a good time to ask our sons what has been positive for them since the PTS interviews? Praising the improvement they talk about is good but even better to praise that combined with them describing why?

Praise for praise’s sake is hollow and ineffective and as we know from the work of Carol Dweck around Growth Mindset and Praise  . we should be commending students for the processes they use – engagement, perseverance, strategies, improvement – fosters motivation, increased effort, willingness to take on new challenges, greater self-confidence, and a higher level of success.

The positivity needs to be intentional, purposeful and motivating.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal.

 

Why St. Paul’s? Why a Boys School?

In a very complex and dynamic educational environment it is useful to note some key characteristics of a boys’ school as compelling reasons for why a parent or a young man may choose St. Paul’s over another school or college. What is it about a boys school? Whether you are considering a school for your son for Year 7 or are reconsidering for Year 11 or 12 rest assured we are a high quality choice for your son.

St. Paul’s as a choice.

There is much written about what makes a good school and how to improve them; everyone has an opinion. What make s a good catholic school is a narower set of readings but the best of them in my exoperience is Educating Hearts – Seven Characteristics of a Good School by Anthony Maher and Bob Hanley.

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On all seven criteria I believe we present very well indeed and we hope that our families and young men can articulate that as their experience of us. However you dont hear much about this in the media. What you do hear about is results which are important but only reflect a narrow iamge of the holistic experience a school like St. Paul’s brings.

The following graphic of Risk Factors vs. Protective Factors is worth focusing on. When you look at the ‘service’ aspect which would refer to the school in this instance the college strives to be delivering well on all three aspects but of course we know we are always a work in progress and must always be working with a view to be the best of service to our young men and their families.

Risk Protective Factors

 

There is much research on Year 12 outcomes which point to clear gap between the achievement of boys in boys schools and boys in co-ed schools. I’ve spoken before about the perfomance of St. Paul’s by comparison with other schools in this region which bears this out. So I won’t labour the point but do ask you to please be swayed by fact not myth, folklore or old information that continues to judge unfairly a transforming school.

As parents we want the best option for our sons, not second best. We know that St. Paul’s has a higher success rate for boys at the top end than all government and Catholic schools in this region. 

Our value adding data indicates on a year to year improvement for all students across the range of ability fromn Years 9-12. The Gonski 2 report talks about such a notion as something desirable. Catholic schools through the analysis conducted by Dr John DeCourcy has been informing us of this since 2001.

To our Year 10 parents last night I spoke of the culture of Year 11 and 12 here at St. St. Paul’s with a broad curriculum and small class sizes where students are cared for and supported in their learning by a well qualified and dedicated staff who through the judicious use of technology anre supporting students to improve every day, evening, through holiday periods. There is a generosity which is admirable which quite franly you dont see in many schools.

With a developing leadership structure for our young men student voice is valued and contributes strongly to developing the culture of care and support we would expect in a catholic school with an Edmund Rice tradition. With the feast day of Blessed Edmund last weekend on 5th May,  our young men are reminded of his example of hope, that a problem can be identified and that we can step up and make a difference in our world for the betterment of others as he did, as Jesus called him to do.

Almost daily we see examples of our young men taking aprt in a rich co-curricular program with enormous pride and success. You only have to scroll through our college Facebook page to see the richness of the experience the boys have.

The care of our young men has been a hallmark of the college’s reputation for a long time. This tradition continues  and is augmented further by our membership of the Positive Education Schools Association and the development of programs drawing on the well of research around positive psychology led by Martin Seligman.

Why a Boy’s School? Beyond the academic perfomance question from Year 12 discussed above there are many compelling reasons to choose a boy’s school for our sons. Given I had my own sons educated in a catholic boys school I may be considered biased but I’m also someone driven by best evidence practice as anyone in the college or who follows my interests on Twitter.

A number of significant writers and rersearchers speak favourably of boys schools. The late great Celia Lashlie, herself a sociologist, researcher into boys schools in NZ and author of He’ll be OK. Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men, has this to say:

” I began a journey that has taught me much…left me with a strong sense of the magic about the schools where boys can just be boys and where the business of boys is the sole focus…By their very existence boys’ schools encourage a sense of pride in being male. In a world where there’s a great deal of discussion about the ansence of positive male role models and where much of the media focus is on the more negative aspects of young men, the ability of boys’ schools to provide an alternative view cannot be underestimated….The message in these schools is clear: it’s OK to be male.”

The INternational Boys School Coalition has published a list of six aspects in support of ‘Why choose a boys’ school?’ It identifies that they

  1. Understand and celebrate boys.
  2. Seek first to build good men.
  3. Know that boys develop and learn in different ways.
  4. Schools for boys teach in ways that boys learn best.
  5. Schools for boys help students discover and explore their full potential.
  6. Schools for boys foster brotherhood and lifelong friendships.

These are all aspects that St. Paul’s seeks to foster through the life of a young man in the college.

The American researcher Michael Gurian, author of a number of books on educating boys advoactes separating boys and girls on behaviour grounds; that in a co-educational context the discipline referrals of boys to girls is 10:1 which is attributed to what Dr Tim Hawkes, recently retired Headmaster of the Kings school and noted author on boys education as boys being viewed as toxic in classes because they are being boys- loud, smelly and disruptive- the toxic touich of testosterone.

From personal experience in co-educational schools, when boys are judged objectively differences disappear. The problem is they generally aren’t. Boys can articulate the inherent injustice coming out of primary schools. Boys need good teachers as Malcolm Slade in his seminal work, Listening to the Boys, points out and will flourish under such teachers.

William Pollock in his book, Real Boys, makes the point that schools need to be boy friendly and stimulating for the learnimng of boys, which St. Paul’s is.

Bringing them to a boys school like St. Paul’s allows them to be themselves, to not feel constrained, to be able to flourish. All the many different talents of our young men can be celebrated. Here we see the creative arts flourishing as a shining example of this issue. Whatever our young men aspire to be an education at St. Paul’s prepares them well for that.

As always I invite you come in and talk with me about your experince of the college. Any good school must be open to feedback and learn and plan accordingly in response. We are here for you and your son.

God Bless.

Chris Browne

College Principal

 

 

 

 

ANZAC Day and Holidays

After a long and busy term I want to thank all the staff who have so generously given of their time and effort, often at the expense of their own and family time, even overnight, to ensure the young men of St. Paul’s have a very rich educational experience. I asked the boys at assembly yesterday to take the time to thank a teacher who has given of themselves for them. Gratitude is important and should be expressed lest our young men be selfish. Rather than have a mindset that everything comes their way with nothing from them we should ensure our young men have a mindset of gratitude for the small and large things.

I’m conscious that three of our staff are taking a group away tomorrow morning to Europe, traveling through the UK and Italy. They are sacrificing their holidays to take these young men away, responsible for them 24/7 for the time they are away, not an un-heavy burden. I know the boys and their families are grateful and supportive and I add my own thanks for their efforts.

On ANZAC Day the boys will be in Rome , will attend ANZAC services and be hosted at the Australian Embassy.  Australian units were involved in the campaigns to defeat the Italian and German armies in Italy. The RAAF squadrons- 3, 450, 451 all flew raids in different parts of the peninsula. Australian soldiers are buried at the Rome War cemetery which our young men will visit and commemorate by their presence.

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We will have students and staff representing the college at local ANZAC ceremonies. I’ll be marching in the city to commemorate my own father’s contribution as a member of the 2/15th Field Artillery 8th Div. 2nd AIF who fought in Malaya, were captured , imprisoned at Changi, Burma / Thailand Railway and in Japan itself. That he returned at all is a miracle in itself but like many of the 8th Division he was self made man who married, raised three sons and was in a much better place than where he started. I know other staff will also be involved in other parts of Sydney commemorating their own loved ones’ contributions.

ANZAC Day provides us with an important moment to put our own faith into action by recognising the capacity and example of others to place others at their centre, even to the extent of dying for others. We should take the time to reflect on this, pray for them and for peace and be grateful.

In this spirit the college donated a class set of old laptops that have reached the end of their warrantied life here to Sacred Heart College in Tarawa Kiribati through Mrs Michelle Teys from St. Leo’s College Wahroonga who have a sister school relationship with this very poor and needy school run by the Sacred Heart Sisters.

KIribati 2018

Kiribati is a nation very vulnerable to climate change through rising sea levels. The sisters are trying desperately to improve the education of local young people so they can leave and gain jobs in the region before their nation literally disappears in the decades ahead. More information here .

The college is in the process of planning its own immersion experience to Cambodia and is considering a number of options in the service learning area of college life to bring to reality our calling as a Catholic college with an Edmund Rice tradition.

We wish everyone a safe and restful holiday where hopefully our young men support their families with generosity and gratitude. Please take the time out as I discussed earlier to help them commemorate ANZAC Day also.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal

 

 

 

The Importance of Attendance at School for Success

The Education Act in NSW requires students to attend school every day until they are seventeen years of age with the exception  after Year 10 if they have full time work or are engaged in  a trainee-ship that is confirmed. Parents have a legislated responsibility to get their children to school. Principals have a legislated responsibility to do all we can to have young people at school. Ultimately it could end up in court.

Leave can be given for exceptional circumstances such as medical, elite sport etc. Holidays aren’t an option that I am allowed to support. Parents keeping children out of school  for such things as holidays drove the changes in 2010 to the Act.

In many schools one in five students aren’t attending schools regularly. while the figure is one in four across the Catholic system. Cruise ship holidays are the latest big excuse for pulling young people out of school, with other excuses including: too tired, I’ll come tomorrow, car trouble, two flat tyres, too hot, cold, windy, too tired and slept in. The issue is made harder for parents due to work commitments themselves meaning  many students having to get themselves off to school. The parents then find themselves paying catch up when they find their son hasn’t come to school.

How would such excuses go at work? We also need to be setting our young men up with good habits for life.

Below is a graphic from a colleague’s school in the Parramatta Diocese which is very instructive as well as being helpful.

Attendance

The impact of time away from school is very compelling. Two days a month missed regularly over twelve years of schooling adds up to one year missed.

One factor not addressed in this which we are very focused on is what is happening in classrooms. How rich is the learning? How engaged are the students? We want our young men to want to be at school. We are doing our part to improve the experience of learning. My last few articles which you can read below talk of the many great things happening in the college and the improvements.

Partnering the learning actively with parents engaging with their son’s Google classroom and assisting him to get his work done, to organise himself to increase the chances of him achieving success increases his motivation in learning, helps him persist towards success.  He needs to be here every day, on time.

Your ongoing help with this is a greatly appreciated. We are here to help if you need it. We understand that at times it is less than straightforward but we can help.

God Bless

Chris Browne

College Principal

 

 

 

 

Truth in NAPLAN and being the best school for my son.

We’re Top School in NAPLAN too.

What does that actually mean when there is no such thing statistically?

It’s important to deal in facts when considering a school’s academic performance. Comparisons are important too and the conversation out in the public space needs to be based on facts not on perceptions from the dim past.

Schools grow and improve. St. Paul’s is a definite example of that.

Are we perfect? No.

Are we where we want to be? No but we are getting there quickly. The improving performance is testament to that.

There is an extraordinary commitment in the college to be the best we can be. One example comes to mind is the twenty or so staff who gave up their afternoon to be trained as a coach to voluntarily work with our young men in Year 10 to help them achieve their goals. There are many other examples of generosity that point to commitment.  

When we start talking about points of difference the list on our side is long.

If you look at the public information on the MySchool website, and I would encourage you to do so, it tells an interesting story.

When you look at the gain from Year 7-9 a very positive story emerges that places us comparable to all single sex boys’ schools in this region of all fee levels. In fact in 10/12 similar schools tables St.Paul’s has the higher similar schools comparison. Fact.

Yet what is the public story?

One interesting fact: we have the highest writing gain of all of them from a lower starting base to a higher level of gain. Fact.

We have no intention in being dishonest with our community. We want our boys to be proud. We want our parents to be proud. Our young men are at a school that is performing well and is improving constantly.

It is very difficult to access the truth about a good Catholic school in the media as there is a resistance to telling such stories. Non-government education is suffering a distinct bias against it in the media. We know why the church is facing a tough time but it would be helpful if criticism of the church and schools could be separated by the media so parents can focus on the truth about schools, not what comes from a selective and biased media.

I am very aware that the ‘talk out there’ is critical for us. I’d just ask that it be based on fact. So what are we certain of, that is based on fact? 

St. Paul’s is delivering very well for the boys who come here. If they stay Year 7-12 they grow academically, socially and spiritually and, as our HSC performance from 2017 indicated, if they go somewhere else they are less likely to achieve their potential than if they stayed at St. Paul’s.

We know that the percentage of students who achieve University entry has been rising and passed 70% which is a figure to be very proud of. The HSC results were indicative of a broad education bearing fruit for all our young men. We also know we have a good reputation among employers seeking trainees.

As a parent and educator it is a mystery to me why I would contemplate taking my son elsewhere to achieve less. Yet surprisingly this happens. Why do we allow a young person, still in the turbulent throes of adolescence to be the one who decides which school they go to yet this happens too. 

Our young men leave here at the end of Year 12 as critical thinkers, problem solvers, competent communicators, creative, adaptable, curious lifelong learners who are going to make a difference in our world. We achieve our mission. They are exposed to  their faith in the context of a school with an Edmund Rice tradition that emphasises placing others at our centre.

I’d ask you to please be open to facts not perception, reality not folklore. I would also encourage you to please challenge incorrect perceptions with the facts. We have a good story to tell that our young men and our community should be very proud of. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. The narrative needs to be different, it needs to be based on facts about all schools.

God Bless

Chris Browne

College Principal

The College on Display

This week we have been visited by the Year 3 students from our local Catholic Primary schools and  we have had our Open Evening with hundreds here to look at the college and hear about the great learning taking place.

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It was a very engaging time for the 180 Year 3’s who experienced a range of activities across all subject areas- Science, Maths, English, HSIE, TAS, Visual Arts, Music and  PDHPE. They were mentored through their day by Year 8, 10 and 12 students who talked of their life in high school.  A very exciting day!

Our Open Evening was a terrific showcase of what the college is and provides for its community. Every faculty was on display, presentations were given in the hall by the College captain, Vice Captain and myself, our parents, staff and students ran a BBQ, our musicians entertained; a vibrant community atmosphere.

The feedback we received on the day spoke of a very proud and enthusiastic body of student tour guides. “Your boys are very proud of their school” was a comment many visitors made. Of course I agreed with them. We are very proud of them too!

It was a privilege to be the leader of such a special community of learning on Wednesday. It was also very humbling to see our community step up and promote our college. In particular can I thank our Parents and Friends Association who were such a great support on Open Day, not only through the BBQ but their conversations with visitors.

I’d like to thank all involved in the Year 3 Day and Open Day. We look forward to welcoming the young men we met this week into our Catholic learning community,  that provides a Quality Catholic Education for all young men in this region.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal

 

A Week for Celebrating the Past and Challenging Ourselves for the Future

Past

With profound appreciation for their talent , gratitude for the benefit such success brings the college and a sense of deep pride in the success of our HSC students of 2017. Their successes are considerable:

150th placed in NSW (improved over 100 places from 2016)
51 Band 6 Distinguished Achievers
181 Band 5 and Band 6 Results
100% increase in Band 6 on 2016
1 Top Achiever (16th place in Maths General 2)
1 All Rounder Achievers (Band 6 achieved in all subjects)
Top ATAR 97.95.

2nd place College in the Diocese of Broken Bay.

3rd placed in comprehensive Catholic boys schools in English
49th placed in state for English
100% Band 5 and Band 6 in English Ext 1, English Ext, 2, History Ext
15% students achieved an ATAR above 90
75% Visual Art students selected for Express Yourself at the Manly Art Gallery

The following awards were given by the Diocese of Broken Bay on Tuesday afternoon this week:

Award Name Surname Course Name Place or Mark
All Round Achievers Gus Reid
Academic Excellence Gus Reid 97.95
Academic Excellence Giacomo Nassif 97.65
Academic Excellence Isaiah Vumbaca 96.75
Top Achiever Matthew O’Brien Mathematics General 2 BDC 16th
First Place in Course in DBB Jarrod Adair Software Design & Development
First Place in Course in DBB Dante Cox Design and Technology
First Place in Course in DBB Marcus Crisp English (Standard) Equal 1st
First Place in Course in DBB Matthew Millett Construction Exam Equal 1st
First Place in Course in DBB Samuel Munday Info Process & Technology
First Place in Course in DBB Giacomo Nassif Mathematics Extension 1
First Place in Course. Giacomo Nassif Mathematics Extension 2
First Place in Course in DBB Matthew O’Brien Mathematics General 2 BDC
First Place in Course in DBB Gus Reid English Extension 1
First Place in Course in DBB Gus Reid Modern History Equal 1st
First Place in Course in DBB Gus Reid History Extension Equal 1st
First Place in Course in DBB Isaiah Vumbaca English (Advanced)
First Place in Course in DBB Isaiah Vumbaca History Extension Equal 1st

St. Pauls certainly was a prominent force in the Diocesan Awards.

At our High Achievers Assembly on Monday this week,  I made the following points   to Year 12 2017,their families and our staff and current students:

  • benchmarks have been set for years to come
  • they reflect on the great contribution of teachers and families
  • there is an opportunity for the young men at school now to learn much for themselves
    • they can achieve their educational goals here at St. Paul’;s –  the college delivers for its students in an environment that is best for young men to learn in. Our results prove this
    • Given that, what does my own personal excellence look like? What do I need to do to achieve it? Each one of these young men has a different HSC story. What is the story they  are going to write about their personal excellence.
    • What goals are they setting yourself to achieve?

“As we know it’s in the little daily things that we build our own excellence. As former four star General of the US army Colin Powell wrote; “ if you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters first.” Its not a new idea as we know, Aristotle the Ancient Greek philosopher who was born in 384 BC talked of excellence not as an act but a habit that we do repeatedly.”

  • How will they collaborate as a year group to achieve their goals at St. Paul’s? We don’t walk alone with our learning. They  have to walk together and support each other not just academically but through  looking after the well being of each other as well.  They walk together.

The Present

With our Opening Mass on Tuesday , Ash Wednesday service and Year 9 Grandparents Morning Tea it was an opportunity to clearly stamp our ground in the Year of Respect for 2018. At the same time in the Year of Youth in the Catholic Church as decreed by Pope Francis it is a time to reflect on our core mission as a Catholic educating community with a long tradition in the spirit of Blessed Edmund Rice.

On Tuesday at mass I talked about our theme of Respect for 2018, with appreciation to our 2018 Prefects who chose this theme:

Today I’ll focus on the third , ‘your life is not about you.’ This is at the heart of the Christian message; it is at the heart of Blessed Edmund’s call that we place others at our centre, not ourselves and it is central to our theme of Respect for 2018.

Yesterday I talked about your personal excellence and asked you a final question; how am I going to work with others to achieve that excellence. A key point is that when I focus on others, I benefit. If I’m driven to stand with the needs of others, as Jesus did , before himself then we all gain.

Respecting others is an easy thing to say and it’s an easy thing to believe that we do, but we can’t treat it like a smorgasbord. We have to value everyone above ourselves and place their needs before my own if I can truly have respect for them.

Year 10 for time immemorial studied a novel called To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The theme of respect is deeply embedded in that story. A scene that has always stayed with me is when the lawyer father Atticus Finch encourages his daughter Scout to walk in the shoes of other people to truly understand them. To truly respect someone we have to be prepared to do that no matter who they are, their colour, race, gender, appearance, level of ability, whatever. It costs you nothing but buys the earth,

You will often hear others talk about the notion that they demand Respect. Jesus and Blessed Edmund teach us that we have to show respect first for it is founded on the commandment of love another and in our dealings with other people always come with an attitude that assumes the good intent of my fellow man or woman.  It isn’t conditional. There are no exceptions.

So in 2018, our Year of Respect, let’s be role models of that. Your life is not about you, it is about others. Place others at my centre, show respect first in all instances. Let’s start as we want to continue from today onwards.’

Today we heard our values in action through our Ash Wednesday service and the launch of Project Compassion 2018. We look forward to our boys, as Blessed Edmund implored, “Give to the Poor in Handfuls.”

 

Let us remember our College Motto at this time also, Prima Primum- First Things First.

God Bless,

Chris Browne

College Principal