Headmaster's Weekly Address

20-Jul-2017

It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Term III. I trust the holidays provided the family and you some respite from the hustle and bustle of term time. Even though the winter vacation offers most staff and students time away from College life, there is never really down time for all members of the community in any of our gazetted holiday periods. The College extends its thanks to Messrs Mark Langan and Julius Wong, who attended, and presented at, the International Boys’ School Coalition Conference in Baltimore. Director of Glendalough, Mr James Daly, also attended the Student Forum of the Conference, which was held at The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland with one of our Year 11 boys, Samuel Cato. I look forward to hearing about each of these people’s thoughts about the Conference and the learning experiences they enjoyed while participating in this annual, global event. 

Under the direction of Mr Simon Harris, Dr Andrew Mathers, Mr Jamie Lawson and Mr Henrik Beasy, our Senior Concert Band and Big Band 1 toured Tasmania, performing at St Patrick's College, the Launceston Jazz Club, Scotch Oakburn College, Kingston High School, Clarence High School and with the Launceston Community Music Program Wind Orchestra.

The holidays proved an active time for Public Speaking. In the first week of the break, St Kevin’s played host for the third consecutive year to the Victorian State Rostrum Finals, which were successful for participants and audience members. Our thanks and congratulations to Mr Tom Lane and Rostrum for their organisation and facilitation of this event. Furthermore, it was a time when Samuel Roach, Thomas Fernando, Alexander Dowman, and Lucas Valente found they had been placed in the semi-finals for the DAV Junior Public Speaking Competition to be held early in Term III. Well done to all!

During the winter holidays, our rugby players toured Queensland with Messrs Culliver, Doherty, Crompton, Power and Whitehead. By all accounts, the tour was an excellent one and the boys were exemplary. The two composite teams won both matches, each of which were played against appropriately-graded sides from both St Joseph’s, Gregory Terrace and St Joseph’s Nudgee College. The generous hospitality extended by our two fellow EREA schools is greatly valued. 

Our football players – primarily boys from the 1st and 2nd XVIII – also enjoyed some trial games over the break against a team from Western Australia and Brighton Grammar; and, our appreciation is offered to Messrs Hart, O’Brien, Rock and Guinane for their time spent with the footballers on these occasions and during their holiday training sessions. 

In the first and second weeks of the break our 1st and some 2nd XI soccer players had a number of training sessions under the watchful eyes of Messrs Kennedy and Blee at our new facilities at Tooronga. 

On the new fields at Tooronga, too, the 1st Hockey team trained on the Tuesday and Thursday of the last week of the holidays. Appreciation is extended to Mr Tom Burns for his time and expertise with our hockey players over the holiday period.

Cross-Country runners were less than idle over the holiday period. With the assistance of Messrs McCann and Fabris, boys from all age groups were active in their training and, on Saturday 15 July, the Jim O’Dea Shield was held at the Botanical Gardens. 

During the second and third weeks of the recent holiday, I had the privilege of opening the school for our Year 12 students, facilitating the Study and Revision Program, which essentially sees the Year 12 boys running lectures and workshops for their friends and peers in a wide range of subject areas. With a strong focus on Unit 3 work, the boys turned out in their numbers: it is so rewarding when the College offers additional academic activities for our VCE students, to see them so inspired by one another, taking notes in the Agora and working collaboratively in the Albert Street Study Centre to improve their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter they’ve all been covering during the first semester of this year. My heartfelt thanks go to all of those Year 12 fellows who were willing, when invited, to deliver lectures and workshops, and who prepared PowerPoint Presentations and other booklets and notes to the other boys in their subject cohorts. What remarkable and generous boys we have at St Kevin’s, who understand the need for everyone in the Year Level to achieve well! Some of our Year 12 teachers also assisted in delivering lectures to their subject cohorts; and, I am very appreciative of the time given by Madame Cullen, Ms Ritchie, Ms McCarthy, and Messrs Valladares, Korac and McKinnon to assist and supervise the boys. 

With Semester One Reports having been made available to all families in the first days following the end of Term II, one hopes that all students have had the occasion to read the comments written, the results achieved and the strategies put forward for further improvement. It is always wise, I think, for students to have read their Reports by themselves, and then again with their families. Reports should have been re-visited by students in the final days of holiday period, with students looking carefully at where their energies need to be given for improved academic success in Semester Two. The academic staff put a great deal of time and effort into ensuring the best possible feedback is proffered to students and their families about the boys’ academic progress: the Semester One Reports, then, are important documents and ought to be digested, reflected and acted upon so that to cease from exploration, as Alfred, Lord Tennyson put it, is never an option for any life-long learner.

There is so much to love about being part of the St Kevin’s community. I think, as teachers, if we didn’t enjoy the company of young people and care about their holistic learning, we would pack it in. Coming to school each day – even every second day of the holidays – is an inspiring thing. One of the things I love about this place is the interaction the boys have with the staff. To see boys from Years 7 to 12 chatting with teachers in the Yard or on the Ovals at Recess and Lunch fills me with such gladness that the us versus them attitude – that many of us might have experienced when we were adolescents at school – is something not even known by students of today’s world. And, yet, there is still that wonderfully healthy respect that comes with any relationship between adult and young person. The general niceties of yesteryear continue to play out in our school. For the boys to greet their teachers genuinely each morning and afternoon…for the boys to stand when teachers arrive into a classroom…for the boys to say, Thank-you, Sir or Thank-you, Miss at the conclusion of a lesson…for the boys to pick up some rubbish – that wasn’t theirs – without hesitation when asked to do so…for the boys to accept consequences manfully when they have erred…all of these things make for such a hope-filled future. Rather than looking on such niceties as archaic or antiquated, we should look on them favourably: in our view, they will set our boys apart from others and make them the respectful, admired and community-minded men of a world beyond the College gates. 

I offer all in our St Kevin’s community a fruitful and joyous start to the third term. 

Mr Gary Jones
Director of Studies

St Kevin's College will develop a culture where relationships promote positive behaviour and improved academic outcomes, through fair process, restorative practice and Relationship-Centred Education.
(from the Mission Statement)