Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends of the Magdalene Community,
Welcome back to Term 3. I hope that all students had an opportunity to reenergise and have come back full of enthusiasm, ready to tackle the journey ahead with determination and commitment. As we begin the new term, I congratulate many students on fine performances in Semester One and challenge all students to build on the successes. Each person should also continue to focus on areas for development, which were made evident in reports and teacher interviews at the end of last term. This will ensure that each individual is able to continue along the road to personal excellence in all that they attempt.
Over the holidays a number of senior classes were conducted for Year 12 students, as they approach the Trial Higher School Certificate Examinations, beginning in week three. These classes enabled students to clarify and revise subject matter studied in the HSC courses, while continuing to consolidate their understanding of all relevant concepts. I thank the teachers for conducting the holiday classes and acknowledge the students for their commitment to achieving their best.
Next Wednesday the community will celebrate the feast day of Mary Magdalene, our patron. The day will begin with Mass at 9.30am which will be followed by activities to promote a sense of community. As has been the case in recent times in the afternoon funds will be collected for the Magdalene/St Clare’s Care Fund.
This fund was set up three years ago to support families in the school community who are encountering financial difficulties due to significant illness, suffered by a family member. Over time the fund has supported a number of families who have appreciated the practical support as well as the kind thoughts of the community.
Last Monday all members of the teaching staff were involved in a professional development day with a focus on standards across the school. The establishment of consistent standards is of great importance to student learning growth at Magdalene. This understanding is essential to improve knowledge of requirements and the strategies that can be used to achieve each of the standards. With the reliance on report grades, it is essential that there is common understanding of what each grade (standard) entails and how this can be achieved. The consistency of grade allocation and standards will be enhanced as a result of the staff involvement in the professional development day.
This week our community will bid farewell to Miss Saywell, who will take up a permanent appointment at Mamre Christian College. I take this opportunity to thank Miss Saywell for her contribution to the school and wish her all the best in her new position. As a result of this change, some Mathematics classes will be changing their teacher with Mr Arzapitian teaching a range of junior Mathematics classes for the remainder of the year.
Last Monday we received the wonderful news that Mrs Violi gave birth to a beautiful new baby daughter, Sofia. I congratulate Mrs Violi and her husband David on the birth of Sofia. I wish Sofia every blessing all the days of her life.
During the holidays NAIDOC Week was observed across the nation. NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is an opportunity for each of us to gain a greater understanding of indigenous people’s past while looking forward to a bright future in our community. The theme of Naidoc Week in 2015 is:
“We stand on Sacred Ground. Learn Respect Celebrate.”
This is a recognition of the present and a challenge for the future. I include the following prayer as a reflection of times past and hope in the future.
Prayer for the Journey of Healing
Almighty and loving God,
you who created ALL people in your image,
lead us to seek your compassion as we listen to the stories of our past.
You gave your only Son, Jesus, who died and rose again
so that sins will be forgiven.
We place before you the pain and anguish of dispossession of land,
language, lore, culture and family kinship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced.
We live in faith that all people will rise from the depths of despair and hopelessness.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have endured the pain and loss of loved ones,
through the separation of children from their families.
We are sorry and ask God’s forgiveness.
Toughen the hearts of the broken, homeless and afflicted and heal their spirits.
In your mercy and compassion walk with us as we continue our journey of healing
to create a future that is just and equitable.
Lord, you are our hope. Amen.
National Council of Churches in Australia (NATSIEC)
Mr John Lo Cascio