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The Eagle 7 October 2021

Deputy Principal

Nicholas Moloney

Helping Students With The Return To Onsite Learning

We are all very excited to be welcoming back onto campus our Year 12 students this week and the other year levels towards the end of October. The very essence of our Marist story is one of relationship, connectedness, and love. I hope our young men and families have felt this during the past couple of months.
 
With the return to classes on campus comes some trepidation, possible anxiety, mixed with joy and happiness. I suspect each young man has a range of emotions which will be common to most. Taking the time to talk with your son about the upcoming term is the first step in supporting him. Asking neutral and open questions will encourage him to express his feelings such as “How do you feel about...?”.

Young people are quick to detect spin and it is better to explain uncertainty when it exists than to pretend that it does not. Anxiety arising from uncertainty can be supported by reminding your son about what we know and what we can do. Speculating on possible outcomes often doesn’t help as when these outcomes don’t become reality it heightens the uncertainty, thus leading to greater anxiety.

It is important to listen to your son’s thoughts about returning to school. For those who tend to get sucked into a whirlpool of worry, it might be helpful to make a worry box or introduce a worry time where a certain but limited amount of time is given to talk through any concerns they have.

Some young people may be concerned about returning to school and protecting themselves, or more frequently vulnerable relatives, from COVID-19. It can help for your son to feel in control where they can be. For example, reminding them that regularly washing their hands, wearing a mask, keeping a distance and being outside as much as possible will help reduce the chances of catching or transmitting infections.

Others may feel particularly anxious or become obsessive over certain things such as checking the news often. They may feel reassured by gentle reminders of what is and what is not their responsibility – and that scientists, healthcare staff and others are working hard to keep us all as safe as possible.

While we all love slipping out of our work and school schedule during the holiday, the return to a regular routine can be beneficial. So, encourage healthy habits – regular times to eat, sleep, study and play – in order to increase a sense of structure throughout the day. This can help young people feel safe and secure.

Play is an important factor here. We all need to do things that we enjoy to support our mental health and well-being. This is particularly important in the lead up to exams, when given the increased stress and academic pressure. So, prioritise time downtime and exercising, outdoors where possible, in order to boost mood and help relieve anxiety and stress.

While some mixed feelings are normal about the return to school, distress or difficult behaviour that persists over weeks or months and get in the way of coping with the ordinary demands of life, however, extraordinary life during COVID might feel, may signal a mental health issue. We would encourage parents and carers to reach out to our counselling team or external agencies such as HeadSpace or Beyond Blue should you want advice.

Faith Matters

Carolyn Young

Assistant Principal (Mission)

Breathe, The Spirit of Life

As we begin Term Four, there is no doubt that the encouragement to take time to be still, slow down and reflect that is implicit in our Marist theme for this year, `Breathe, the Spirit of Life’, has been experienced in so many unanticipated ways. As our young men and staff begin the return to campus, there is probably quite a bit of nervousness mixed in with the excitement about what it will be like to be together again. Let us pray that the faith tradition that underpins our school will continue to be a source of support to all members of our community. The Catholic Christian tradition teaches about a loving, Creator God who wants what is best for all God’s children: for us to “live life to the full” (John 10:10), to fulfill our potential and grow in relationships that are nurturing and encouraging. We at school stand ready to offer much support to all who return, as well as to all who still won’t return for a little while, and encourage everyone to remember God’s promise: "Do not be afraid... And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28: 20)

Saint Marcellin Champagnat, pray for us.
Mary, Our Good Mother, pray for us.
And may we always remember, to pray for one another.

Professional Learning

Jill Fitzsimons

Director of Professional Learning & Partnerships

Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor Pop Up Forum, Marist Schools Australia

One of the great benefits of working at a Catholic Marist school is being able to access a wide range of stimulating professional learning. This week Sophie, Rebecca and I reflect on a terrific forum we attended with Marist Schools Australia.
 
I attended the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement forum for 2021-2022, ‘Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor’. This exhorted us to care for all creation and the most vulnerable people in our worldwide family. Pope Francis has invited the Catholic community to take a seven year journey towards total ecological sustainability, guided by seven Laudato Si’ goals. For me learning about the Church’s statement and seeing the planning and infrastructure in place to support was a relief, as sometimes I feel like, even though climate change is constantly in the media, it is also the elephant in the room. As a school I think there are many steps we can take to make our community more sustainable. One of the seven Laudato Si’ goals is ecological education and from an educator’s perspective I think that this step is the most crucial and also the goal that teachers are the most qualified to implement. Introducing compulsory education on ecological awareness (including learning about the mechanisms behind climate change and sustainable practice) is important so students understand what is happening and have the knowledge and tools to take action. Programs such as an environmental club, student led school clean ups, school wide composting and a proper recycling program could all go a long way to reducing waste and creating an ecologically aware community. -Sophie Day, teaching staff
 
Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor is the title of this year’s Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement and it draws closely on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical of 2015, which called on us to care for our common home.
 
The key themes that stood out to me were those around the concept of “integral ecology” – the idea that all of creation is connected. “By listening with an open heart to those who are most affected,” is more important now than ever before. Where the earth is suffering, there are people suffering too, so it makes sense that we can’t help the earth without listening to and then helping the poor. First Nations people around the world have not always been listened to, so it is time to re-engage with those who have always had such an affinity for place and country before it is too late.
 
The seven Laudato Si goals (found at https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/) are there to guide our actions going forward and include ways our Marcellin community can be involved in this change process. In the break out group I was in as part of the forum, the other Marist educators from around Australia and I said we could see a passion for change amongst the young people we work with and the need to give them opportunities to exercise that desire to do more for the environment. It is not enough to just pay lip-service to Catholic Social Teachings in the RE classroom, we agreed that part of our mission in our schools is to show the students how to live these teachings and to see the relevance to their lives through other subject areas as part of the sustainability cross curricular priority. We touched on examples such as recycling education drives, reducing canteen waste and bush care initiatives being small steps that could be used to connect our community to caring for our common home and then go on to raise awareness of the bigger aspects of these issues. -Rebecca Preedy, Learning Leader Resource Centre
 
After the forum, I listened to an audio version of the first part of the Bishops’ Social Justice Statement to gain a greater insight. What really resonated with me was the theme of conversion, especially Pope Francis’ message to see in the droughts, fires, floods and COVID pandemic, the ‘opportunity for a renewed humanity’ and ‘the potential for positive change’. Indeed, I loved the way he called it our ‘Noah moment’. I then visited the new Laudato Si’ Action Platform, a platform which is still under construction, but promises to provide more resources over the next couple of years. There are some terrific short videos on the platform which celebrate the work of the Vatican, universities, Catholic agencies, hospitals, and local people confronting a range of social, economic, and environmental issues. For example, a university in the Philippines working with in partnership with local communities to deal with the litter plaguing Manila’s Pasig River and an Italian engineer working with East African communities to develop innovative clean energy solutions. I think the platform and the Social Justice Statement highlight the huge potential there is for our students to join in this international coalition of people innovating and collaborating to protect, restore and respect ‘our common home’ or to act for change in Australia. Australia needs people working to help us transition to a low carbon economy, coordinate emergency help in more efficient ways, protect our soil resources and rethink our water and stock management, so there’s much meaningful work out there for our boys to provide us with a sustainable economic future and respond to God’s call  for ‘the human family to be the steward of creation’. - Jill Fitzsimons, Director of Professional Learning and Partnerships

Community News

Ben Bugeja

Director of Advancement & Community Engagement

Welcome Back

It has been a breath of fresh air to have some of your young men back on site. We are getting closer and closer each day to the inevitable return to campus for all of our boys who are currently in the Home Learning Program. Acrobats say the last step on the tight-rope is most difficult and that is where we are now. Just keep doing what you are doing, reaching out, looking after yourselves and embracing as best you can the current circumstance. This community is always in our thoughts, our young men and their parents, our staff, and our wider members.

We look forward to putting this all in the rear view mirror and moving forward with an incredible resilience, knowing that we are capable of persevering through the good times and the the not so good ones.

Calendar

Year 12 Seminar Friday 8 October
Yr 12 House Lunch AUG/CAR Friday 8 October
Yr 12 House Lunch FAU/KEN Monday 11 October
Yr 12 House Lunch LAV/CHA Tuesday 12 October
Yr 12 House Lunch RED/CHI Wednesday 13 October
Yr 12 House Lunch MAN/MAR Thursday 14 October
Yr 12s last day onsite Friday 15 October

 

Public Notices

Yr 7 2023 Applications 

 

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