Saint Ignatius College Geelong
I’ve heard the word ‘struggling’ sometimes used when describing a student’s learning progress. I have probably used this word myself. I was struck by the message in an article1 I read recently about engaging teenagers in reading, “we should stop using the word struggling.” The article’s author thinks this description reinforces the mindset that some people can become readers and some cannot. I think this could be extended to all areas of learning.
Labelling a learner as ‘struggling’ may undermine the learner’s self-belief and weaken his or her determination to take on the challenge that will lead to learning progress. ‘Struggling’ in a particular area has a sense that progress is going to be unlikely, that achievement is going to be less than satisfactory and may lead to giving up the struggle. Learning is a life-long process. We can always learn more. In keeping with our focus on a ‘growth mindset’, the better word to use is ‘developing.’ Developing implies that although you may not be there yet, you can make progress and overtime keep getting better. With the belief that skills are built, we can learn and grow with a focus on the process rather than being worried about performance, ‘developing’ is more empowering and encouraging than ‘struggling.’
It is difficult to strike a balance between building our natural strengths and developing other skills through slow, but continued persistence. Research indicates the importance of challenge in building neural pathways. It appears that our brains grow and increase in plasticity most when we work through difficult things. And in the process of learning things that we may not enjoy or do not come quickly, we may discover our strengths and passions as well as become aware of our weaknesses and how we can adapt and manage difficulties.
Providing encouragement, learning material within the zone of challenging but doable coupled with content that matches student interests and needs will enhance progress. Students will develop a belief that they can get better and they can learn. Self-belief is very important when it comes to learning, and a student who sees himself/herself as a developing rather than a struggling student in a particular area is more likely to make better progress.
[1. - Ref: “Hippocampus, Principal’s digest newsletter,” No. 10, 2018 Ed. Linda Brown.]
It is hard to believe that next week is the last week of term three. When the Year 12 students return next term, they will have just over two weeks of formal classes remaining before exams commence in late October. To maximise their level of achievement, our senior students obviously need to plan to make the most of the remaining time.
To help you with your planning can I please remind all parents about the following:
Semester Two Interim Reports will be available via the Parent Portal on Wednesday 12th September
The follow-up Parent, Teacher and Student Meetings will be held on next Thursday 20th September (4.00pm to 6.00pm and 7.00pm to 8.30pm) and Friday 21st September (9.00am to 12noon);
Last day of term three classes will be Thursday 20th September. Please note that Friday 21st September is a student free day due to the Parent / Teacher / Student meetings.
The first day of term four is Monday 8th October.
A letter has been emailed to parents/guardians to explain how to book a Parent, Teacher and Student Meeting.
In the lead up to Father’s Day, we saw the successful completion of the second round of the annual “Time & Space” evenings for the year.
On the Tuesday we held the Year 7 Father & Daughter Night and on the Thursday the Year 8 Father & Son Night. The feedback has again been overwhelmingly very positive.
I commend the students who were able to bring along their father or male mentor and congratulate the men who were able to come and share some special time with their girl or boy. I also congratulate the students who volunteered to help in one of some ways on the night. Well done to Mr. Michael Timms (Deputy Principal), Ms. Tory Wood (YLC) and the staff teams who were involved with working with Mr. Bill Jennings (Time & Space Facilitator) for coordinating these events.
After last year’s successful launch, on the Wednesday evening prior to Father’s Day, we ran the Year 9 Parent and student night – “Thyme & plates.” All places we snapped up for this wonderful night that involved parents and their daughter or son cooking and sharing a meal together. The participants were guided through thought provoking conversation that builds on the 'Time & Space' program.
Thank you to Mr. Michael Timms (Deputy Principal), Ms. Tory Wood (YLC), Ms. Kristin Williamson (YLC) and the staff teams who were involved.
Thank you to parents who completed the online school improvement surveys. Students and staff members have also been surveyed. “Insight SRC” conducts the surveys on behalf of Saint Ignatius College Geelong and the Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) and they will provide us with an analysis of the responses later in the year. Your feedback will provide valuable information for the College Executive to use to monitor how we are going as a school and plan for improvements.
A commendable initiative of some of our senior students was the CLOGS (Catholic Leaders of Geelong Schools) “Op. Shop” that was jointly organised by students from the four Catholic Colleges. The students collected donated clothing from students at their schools and sold these items at the Geelong West Town Hall last Saturday morning. All reports indicate this was a very successful activity. Some of the clothing was made available to certain local groups, and the rest was sold with the funds raised going to the charity, St Vincent de Paul Society.
Well done to our College Captains, Dean O’Brien and Kerry Kingsbury, Mr. Anthony Gravener (Student Leadership Development Coordinator) and the team of senior students involved in organising this activity.
With the warmer months approaching, can I please ask parents to check that their daughter's/son’s summer uniform is in order before they need to wear it next term? Some things to be mindful of are:
The summer shirt can be worn not tucked in to the shorts;
The only type of school shoes permissible are black leather (able to be polished) ones, preferably lace-up (no skate or sports type shoes);
The jumper is not to be the outer garment when travelling to and from school, if it is cold the student should wear their blazer;
Long hair (longer than to the shoulder) is tied back with college coloured ribbons and kept off the face;
Summer uniform dress length must be to the knee; and
The navy blue school hat is compulsory in term four.
Please find a copy of the uniform policy that relates to summer uniform in the front section of the student planner.
Best wishes to Ms Jessica Grapsas who will commence parental leave from the beginning of next term. Ms Kristin Williamson will take on the Acting Food Technology Learning Area position for the remainder of this year with Ms Grapsas being away. I welcome, Ms. Simone Martin who will cover Ms Grapsas’ classes for term four.
Mrs Annette Chidzey will be away for the first six weeks of next term on long service leave. On behalf of our school community I wish Mrs Chidzey a restful and enjoyable time. Ms Anna Oliver will be Acting Deputy Principal (Teaching & Learning) during Mrs Chidzey’s absence.
On behalf of the College community, I express my sympathy to the Evans family - Steve, Joanne, Caitlin (2012), Kelly (2017) and David (Year 10) - on the loss of their loved son and brother, Toby. Toby finished Year 12 in 2010 at Saint Ignatius College. Please keep the Evans family on your thoughts and prayers at this very sad and difficult time.
May Toby rest in peace.
This is the final newsletter for term three. The next newsletter will be available late in the day on Thursday 11th October 2018.
I hope all students have a restful break with some time spent revising work and preparing for next term included. Best wishes to all families for an enjoyable time together.
Thank you to our dedicated and hard-working staff members for their efforts to support our students’ educational experiences throughout the term. I wish all staff members who will be on holidays my best wishes for a well-deserved and enjoyable break.
Michael Exton Principal
As we enter the crescendo of the winter sporting season we are able to observe the best of people and moments where they let themselves and their team down. As winning might seem the most important goal some players offer grace and highlight the fact that respectful and fair competition supersedes the outcome. Conversely we see other examples where in the heat of the moment some placing fairness and respect a distant second. With many of our students competing in finals at this time we contemplate the connections between our actions and our emotions.
The role of the College is to teach young people the required knowledge and administrative the nuances that will help them achieve the best ATAR result or pathway outcomes that will help them stand out as a potential trainee or apprentice. This role is enhanced by our Ignatian understanding of cura personalis - care for the whole person. At Saint Ignatius we believe that we offer an education based upon something more profound than an ATAR score or potential employment opportunity. Our primary role at the College is to develop the whole person; mind, body and spirit. Although at times we too can be blinded by the emotion and ‘competition’ of academic success just as sportspeople can be blinkered by the aspiration to win.
Society has a similar interest in personal development as the College. Generally, this understanding is referred to as ‘emotional intelligence’ by employers and motivational speakers. Emotional intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”. In being aware of our emotions we are able to objectively discern what informs and prompts our feelings which directs our decisions and actions both positively and negatively. Aware of the basis for what drives us we might then determine if we should proceed or not. Ignatius was very clear in stating that in times of desolation to make no change, only make change or respond to important issues when in consolation.
In the sporting world this is where things sometimes go wrong. When the entire season is determined by each game of the finals series, emotions are heightened and if not controlled can lead a player to do or say something that is ‘out of character’. The US Open Women’s Final on the weekend was an example of how emotions can overcome a person. Serena Williams’ outburst offered an example of how ugly sport can be when emotions take control. In the coming days and weeks, she will be further sanctioned by the association and the fans who desire better. With time to reflect she will seek redemption and offer an apology with humility and remorse worthy of the champion she is. Soon new competition will begin and fans will eagerly await the perfection that might be seen in sporting excellence and in the respect and fairness heroes like Serena might offer; no matter what the result may be.
Through sport we also observe the best of human nature and beauty found in respectful competition. Five years ago Spanish athlete Ivan Anaya refused to let a mistake by Olympic Bronze Medalist Abel Mutai allow him to win. After mistakenly stopping ten meters before the official finish line Abel Mutai was guided to the finish by the Spaniard who gestured that the race had not finished and jogged behind him until they passed the finish line. If Ivan chose to go past the Kenyan, he would not have broken any official rule but even in the heat of the moment he gave up what would have been his best ever result. Because of his selfless actions Ivan Anaya has become somewhat of a sporting icon even though he has not won an Olympic or World Championship medal, at least not yet.
Being in control of your emotions does not mean that you do not have any, it means that in practice you don’t let your emotions lead you to make decisions you might later regret. Ivan is an excellent example of this fact.
At the College we seek to develop emotional intelligence in our students. We seek to especially focus on helping students be able to discern the better from the good and make a decision founded upon the magis. As we consider the definition of emotional intelligence we also hope to help students develop judicious and empathetic relationships. Making good judgements in relationships can often be challenging and emotion driven. Developing right relationships requires maturity and control over one’s emotions. In friendship or being in a community we also need to develop empathy for others, even those we might find difficult or compete against. In being empathetic we enter into the experience of the other in a personal way and ‘feel’ what they do. Through empathy we are sensitive to the needs of the other and are able to move beyond our own thoughts and feelings.
St Ignatius was well aware of the negative outcomes of competitiveness and the lack of emotional control. In time and with God’s guidance he became an exemplar of emotional intelligence and how it might be mastered. In desiring only what brings glory to God and removing disordered attachments Ignatius was able to overcome emotion and the movement of the ‘bad spirit’. His spiritual legacy guides us so that we might achieve contentedness and all that is of God. His wisdom developed the Ignatian understanding of cura personalis which we at the College strive to achieve so that every student can achieve the plan God has for them.
Sporting clubs spend a great deal of money in an attempt to develop a positive mindset and build strong relational bonds within a team. Much of the time these initiatives within clubs achieve the desired outcome, however, sometimes the pressure is too much and emotions get the better of the player or the team. Our Ignatian tradition can strengthen these ideas students that they encounter in their sporting pursuits and enhance their emotional intelligence through developing a deeper relationship with self and God.
As the finals session reaches a climax we look forward to the achievements of our students as they compete in their chosen sports. We await the last two games of the finals and hope that no matter what the result our students compete with distinction, respect for others and a spirit of fairness. Emotional intelligence is a modern phrase that articulates so much of what we hope to develop in working with our students, cura personalis is a word we use to describe what we focus on at the College that we believe develops the same behaviours and attitudes.
Yours in Christ,
Mr Brendan Nicholls Liturgy Coordinator
A look back over a very busy Term 3!
As Year 10 and 11 Indonesian and Italian students prepare to head out on their Language immersions next week, let’s take a look back at Languages over term three.
One of the best ways to understand a country’s culture is through its food, and students always enjoy the opportunity to explore culinary treats. Year 9 Italian students went on a multicultural food tour of Melbourne’s CBD, with friendly tour guides leading students to the best places to taste the most delicious food, varying from Chinese street food to authentic Italian gelato, hand-made Indian samosas, French macarons and more. During the three-hour mouth-watering tour, the guides also took the opportunity to share stories about the history of Melbourne, highlighting the development and evolution that highlights how foreign influences have made Australian culture so rich, diverse and unique.
Year 10 Unit 1 VCE Indonesian and Italian students also enjoyed separate food-themed excursions to Melbourne. The Italian class toured Melbourne’s CBD exploring spice shops, cafes and delicatessens that showcase “food as art” in the Italian tradition. Entering Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar felt like going back in time, and the students were impressed by Grossi Florentino, which has been providing traditional Italian fine-dining since 1871. The Indonesian class experienced a taste of Indonesia, visiting an Asian supermarket in the QV Building and enjoying an Indonesian lunch at Nelayan Restaurant. Back at school they used their purchases to prepare, cook and share a delicious variety of Indonesian food.
Year 8 Indonesian students also got in on the act, celebrating Indonesian Independence Day (and their unit on food) with special Indonesian Nasi Campur lunchboxes. Staff and students from other year levels joined in for a very yummy lunch. Year 8 Indonesian classes also had the opportunity to learn about and play the gamelan, having a go at several different musical instruments and after a short amount of practice managing to successfully play a reasonable tune! Teamwork and listening skills certainly helped to make this experience memorable.
A huge highlight of the term for VCE Indonesian students was definitely the very special opportunity to celebrate Indonesian Independence day. Having been personally invited by His Excellency YTH, Bapak Kristiarto Legowo to attend the official celebrations at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, students witnessed a flag ceremony and the Independence Day Proclamation, before enjoying a traditional Indonesian banquet. Indonesian language skills were put into practice, as students deepened their intercultural understanding of Indonesia. Following the formalities, students reflected on this experience with a visit to the Australian War Memorial, before heading to the National Art Gallery to explore the Indonesian section there.
Students from Year 7 through to Year 12 geared up for some healthy competition with this year’s Language Perfect Vic Championships, which tied in with the Geelong Regional Languages Competition and our first ever Saint Ignatius House Competition. Congratulations went to Cuthbert for taking out first place in our local competition and winning 500 house points. As a school, we took out second place in both the Geelong competition and in the state. But of course, the real winner here was Languages!
As Italian and Indonesian students and staff set off on this year’s Language tours, we wish them all the best in expanding their language skills and truly immersing themselves in the culture of their destination. May they make the most of the opportunity to experience first-hand the language and culture of the country they have spent so much time learning about in class and return inspired and ready to utilise their experiences in their future studies.
Selamat Jalan! Buon Viaggio!
On Friday the 17th of August, six of our senior students, teachers Ms Elana Cole, Ms Julia Hall and I had the honour of attending a special celebration at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra. We were personally invited by His Excellency YTH Bapak Kristiarto Legowo (Indonesian Ambassador) to attend an official function to celebrate the Republic of Indonesia’s 73rd year of independence. I am very grateful for the warm hospitality of the Ambassador and his colleagues and the valuable opportunity this visit provided our students and Indonesian teachers to develop their language skills and further their understanding and appreciation of Indonesian history and culture.
After a very warm welcome, we witnessed a flag raising ceremony, the Independence Day Proclamation and a performance by Indonesian pop star Michael J. Then we enjoyed a traditional Indonesian banquet. To finish our visit, we were very honoured to be invited to a special meeting with the Ambassador, his Deputy, and the Attache for Education at which we exchanged expressions of gratitude and our desires for the strengthening of relationships between our two countries.
I was very proud of the senior students who attended; they were great ‘ambassadors’ for our College. They all studied the Indonesian language and made the most of this opportunity to practice their language skills and deepen their intercultural understanding of Indonesia. Each student was presented with a certificate acknowledging their endeavours to strengthen bilateral relations by the Ambassador. Well done to students - William Bothe, Emily Henry, Alexander Henry, Luke Lawson, Debra Lu, Brent Keast, Keira Ford and Emily Jones.
This is the third year that staff and senior Indonesian language students have been personally invited to the Indonesian Embassy for this celebration event. This honour is a tribute to my colleagues, Ms Elana Cole and Ms Julia Hall, who are well-respected teachers of Indonesian Language.
Following the formalities, the students visited the Australian War Memorial and then the National Art Gallery where they explored the Indonesian section.
Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia is one of the cross-curriculum priorities of the Victorian Curriculum. Our College has a robust Indonesian Language program from Years 7 to 12. It is a credit to our Indonesian Language teachers and their students that we offer such a valuable program as part of the College’s curriculum.
Another valuable and exciting opportunity that many of our Years 10 and 11 students have coming up is the biennial Indonesian Language Tour. On Saturday 15th September, Twenty-two students, four staff members and one alumnus (teacher assistant), depart for a 13-day trip to Indonesia.
We will also have another group travelling to South East Asia for the annual East Timor ‘immersion’ experience. Twenty Yr 10 & 11 students will travel with two staff members and a Destination Dreaming Leader to Dili and the Arturo Island. They depart on Sunday 16th September and return on Wednesday 26th September.
Also, while I am mentioning trips, I wish 17 students and three staff members all the best for their Italian Language Immersion Trip. This group departs the day before the Indonesian group and will visit Rome, Pompei, Sorrento, Mensanello, Florence, Bologna and Venice before returning home after what promises to be a wonderful experience over 20 days. The students will be involved in a homestay program for six days of the trip. As well as providing a tremendous cultural experience, the students will have many opportunities to practice their Italian language skills.
I wish all of our student and staff members travelling overseas at the end of this term a very safe, rewarding and enjoyable time.
Mr Michael Exton Principal
…neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 8:38-39
This week at the College we celebrated the week of prayer and action for migrants and refugees. Ironically during this week Australia ‘celebrated’ its first arrival of refugees by boat in four years. Currently there are a number of refugees hiding in the mangroves which are home to crocodiles and offer no fresh water. At this point it would be good to consider their position, what they are experiencing and what they are feeling emotionally.
In considering their situation, we might suggest the feelings of hunger, thirst, fear, loneliness, being lost, having no one who can help, desperation… In contemplating these emotions, we can have empathy for them as they hope to avoid authorities, survive and when ‘caught’ somehow be able to navigate the immigration-refugee process and make their home in Australia. When we empathise we look through the eyes of Jesus. Although there are polarized views on the issue of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia we can all look at the person, empathise with their situation, act as Jesus did and bring the Gospel to life in our world.
We are able empathise with others as we have all experienced sadness and pain in our lives. Each of us has experienced life and the emotions that accompany our life experiences. We have all been lonely, afraid, persecuted, thirsty, lost, bereaved, isolated, hungry, cold, victimized… We can all look at someone’s situation and ‘feel’ what they are feeling. These emotions have a name in our tradition, we use the word desolation to describe these emotions and their source(s).
Saint Ignatius was well aware of such emotions, negative thoughts and how in his life they came to be. As he reflected upon his life and his future after his injury at Pamplona he noticed that some thoughts bought him great joy and wholeness. He called this sensation consolation. At Manresa he wrote that:
“…desolation is the name I give to everything contrary to consolation… darkness and disturbance in the soul, attraction to what is low and of the earth, anxiety arising from various agitations and temptations. All this tends to a lack of confidence in which the soul is without hope and without love; one finds oneself lazy, lukewarm, sad, and as though cut off from ones Creator…”
Desolation is the term we can use to describe the feeling of those asylum seekers as well as those feelings we experience personally.
Desolation always has a source. It may be an encounter with another person, a loss of some kind or our lack of attention towards something of importance. When we experience desolation we often focus intently upon the cause rather than considering what is actually occurring within us emotionally and spiritually. When we experience desolation the most certain and efficient response is to remove oneself as Ignatius did and discern what is occurring. This is how we are able to clearly identify the cause, the reason for the situation and determine the appropriate response.
It is in the period of contemplation and discernment that we are able to see as God does. This is best done alone and away from distraction. When we experience things that are bad or hurtful we should actually focus our attention upon the feeling of desolation. Rather than seek to make good the experience of desolation we should accept that life has moments of both consolation and desolation; good and bad. When we sit within the context of desolation we can objectively view what is occurring, why it has occurred, who if anyone is at fault, how we might offer mercy and forgiveness to others and our self and how we might proceed in the future to move towards reconciliation and future consolation.
Desolation is often described as a period of emptiness or a sense of complete hopelessness. St John of Cross like Ignatius was a Spanish mystic and predecessor to Ignatius who wrote extensively of the ‘dark night of the soul’. Ignatius complimented St John of the Cross’ writings in offering a spiritual legacy that provides a way to move beyond the ‘dark night’, which Ignatius termed desolation, to wholeness and consolation. When we experience times of desolation we often perceive a spiritual loneliness. Just when we need God the most we can feel as though he is distant or ignoring us in our deep distress. This experience is common but erroneous.
When we feel lost and desperate for God we often focus our prayer upon an image of a God who will come and save us. Often however what we are asking of God is a miracle and often they are ‘impossible’ for our God. Impossible as he will not force us or the other to do anything. He speaks to us thorough our conscience, but yet we still are offered the most perfect gift of free will. Our God cannot change some situations as he is faithful and will not interfere with our freedom. Our God is loving, merciful and kind. He does not force us in any way, he is gentle. He does not do things that are not part Creation without exceptional intention; of which we cannot understand. What God does during our experience of desolation is simple and true; he loves us.
When we contemplate the source of our desolation we find that the cause is something that is irreparable and the experience of desolation is in fact a period of grief where we must mourn what has been lost. God is present though even if we feel he is distant. He is especially near to us when we need him. Although we might feel empty and alone we are deceived. When we experience desolation we have an opportunity to grow. Ignatius offers us a method, through stopping, observing and discerning, whereby we are able to become more spiritually mature, more grace filled and at peace with our journey. In seeking consolation and the good we also accept that life will have moments of desolation and loss.
Just like the asylum seekers with whom we can empathise what is best for us in moments of desolation is to stop and seek God. He is always with us, guides us gently and patiently waits for us to respond to his promptings and his love. In times of desolation must observe carefully the movement of God in and around us as we try to calm the storm and remove the distractions and temptations that obscure our vision.
Yours in Christ,
Brendan Nicholls Liturgy Coordinator
Book Week 2018 brought back the 50 word story competition. It was a very hard fought competition with many creative and interesting stories. A big thank you to the Judging panel of Mr Michael Timms, Ms Gemma Etherington and Bu Julia Hall. Here are the winning entries
1st - Sarah McCosker - 7 Carroll
Calm. That’s all I felt, with the waves crashing over tumbling over onto the one in front. The fine sand clutching onto my feet leaving me with shoes made of sand, screeching and croaking of the seagulls scavenging around where the sea foam meets the concrete like sand. The smell of the salty light breeze every afternoon is my treasure
2nd - Claire Smeaton - 7 Carroll
The Lost Treasure
The signs on the pole indicated everything, my treasure was lost. I didn’t know where, no one knew where. It had already been 24 hours and counting. The night got darker and colder. I started to worry even more but one bark made all that worry drain out of me, he was home
3rd Lennon Gangoso - 9 Regis
I’ve waited at the airport for three hours. She’s not coming is she; everyone else has already found each other. Is she lost or got sent back; I started to feel melancholic and lonely. But then somebody called my name, I turned around and she’s finally here. My beloved mother!
Brought the LOL’s
1st - Maddie Crothers – 11 Juana
Hours, searching, longing needing a miracle. Sand under my nails. I dig, craving the ultimate dream. Ouch… splinter. A crate. A crate of secrets.
I open the crate. Blinded. Joy, shock, surprise. No, blinded by a gold shimmer. Yeet. What I’ve been waiting for. I is now a swashbuckler.
2nd - Jack Allison - 7 Coudere
Captain Duct-tape jumped up onto the big wooden box lying on the deck. “(In Scottish accent) FOR TOO LONG! WE HAVE BEEN UNDERESTIMATED BY THE REPUBLIC AND BULLIED BY OUR FELLOW VIKINGS, WE WILL FIND THIS TRESURE!” (in small voice) “Oi captain I found it” said henchman “Blimey!” exclaimed captain
1st - MJ Viljoen
Chuckling tiny little chubby cheeks,
nose to my nose and ‘round the garden in your palm.
Warm shape that somehow spoons my side;
no more tears when the darkness weighs.
Fingers that trace down my face;
skin of my skin, I know you my dear.
I made you from scratch
2nd - Tony Berryman-Long
Stygian wrapped night descends. Seized by terrible forces swept along at ever mounting speed towards the abyss. Once begun the presence of that evil marshalling to its own pattern somehow rid of human direction bled white. Pledged to continuance regardless of cost its own impetus perpetual and seemingly infinite.
How well do you think our College is travelling? What are we doing well? Where can we improve? At Saint Ignatius College we are committed to ongoing improvement. We use data from a variety of sources to monitor how we are performing and to inform our planning. For many years we have used the Catholic Education Melbourne’s (CEM) School Improvement Framework (SIF) as the basis for our improvement planning. Each year the consultancy company, “Insight SRC,” conduct surveys of parents, students and staff based on the SIF.
It is time again to conduct our annual surveys. The eldest student from each family should have brought home an envelope which contains the confidential log-in details for you to go online to complete the parent opinion survey. We need as many parents as possible to complete this online survey. Please note, the school is not privy to any specific answers as your responses go directly into a database that is managed by “Insight SRC.” The log-in details have been randomly assigned, and your responses cannot be identified. By completing this survey, you will provide valuable data that “Insight SRC” will analyse. We will use the resulting report to monitor the College’s progress and inform our improvement planning. The survey must be completed by Friday 24th August 2018.
I can readily point to many positive outcomes as a result of our strategic planning over recent years. Some of these include the following:
Moreover, of course, the pride, involvement and achievements of our very impressive students who have responded positively and constructively to the improvements and opportunities available to them are tremendous positive outcomes. The students are a credit to their families and their school.
Many of these achievements or levels of performance can be relatively easily quantified, measured and reported. There are many, many other essential things that we value and strive for at a deeper level that are not easily measured. They cannot be quantified, or we may not see the results of them until many years later on. As an Ignatian school, we are striving for the development of young women and men of:
The ‘Strategic Intent’ of our current School Improvement Plan (2017 – 2020) is to develop further:
It is crucial we do not rest on our laurels, and I recognise that there are areas in which we can and need to improve on. We want to ensure that we are continually reflecting on our programs and procedures and taking action to improve what and where we can. I urge all parents to please take the time to provide feedback through this survey. This will provide valuable data that will help the College Executive with school improvement decisions that will ultimately lead to improved learning outcomes for our students. Thank you in anticipation of your support for this important survey.
Michael Exton Principal
It seems as though Western society has reached a crossroad that will determine the future direction of our society. Survey after survey indicate that we are working beyond our limits and that balance required to feel content is not attainable. No matter what industry is investigated in our society people report that they feel as though there is not enough time and too much is being asked.
Compounding this trend, we may note that family life has also changed in recent decades and has added to the ‘work’ completed each day. No longer do children participate in their favourite sport or activity and learn an instrument. Today children from pre-school onward participate in multiple sports, learn an instrument and complete ‘homework’ of various kinds on a weekly basis. Life can seem chaotic and rushed.
For families what suffers is the sense of togetherness. Although families may be at the same place the connection being experienced is often not personal. Many parents are involved as a volunteer in schools, sporting clubs and community groups. Because of this it may seem that the predominant role of a parent today is as a support member who also serves as a taxi service, rather than a parent who loves and is present.
When I look back I remember that I did much less than my children do today. In particular I remember that I felt bored from time to time. Although I didn’t enjoy then as I reflect today I understand that it has served me well. Being bored roughly translates to not having anything that immediately requires attention and that the people and objects around you do not provide the stimulus required to move into an activity that fills the feeling of boredom.
Boredom in-fact may more correctly by defined by the word silence. Silence is multidimensional and can be experienced either positively or negatively. When we feel bored the silence is bleak. We are agitated and feel a need to fill the silence. The silence may be literal or metaphorical. When we find we have no plans and that nothing on offer can entertain us we experience a form of silence. In our society today however I note this is a rare experience. After all, if you find yourself in such a situation social media and any number of entertainment streaming platforms are designed to ensure that there is always something to occupy your attention.
Therefore, we must conclude that literal silence is what our society has lost. A period where distractions are removed and we truly enter in silence. We seem so busy that there is never a moment to stop, let alone experience silence without making a concerted effort. The practice of mindfulness is making inroads and offers society a simplistic practice that is secular and achieves the goal of bringing the attention to the present moment. It is in experiencing the present moment we experience the silence we need to balance our busy lives.
Mindfulness is attractive also meditative practice as it can be completed through contemplation or in action and is thus adaptable. Because of this it is more accessible to people in their daily lives than more formal methods. Through the practice of mindfulness, we are beginning to reclaim a practice that predates civilisation itself and is authentically human.
As religions developed over time the practice of meditation was a normal part of life and not religious as such. Similarly, spirituality also was intertwined with daily life and in a reciprocal manner strengthened meditation as meditation strengthened a person’s spirituality. Through experience and enlightenment humans developed deeper understandings in accordance with revealed truths and theology came to be. To support these new concepts rituals and doctrines were developed to assist people so that they might live a holistic life. However, our capacity to reason and analyse became the lens from which all life and human endeavour is viewed and because of this the spiritual, including religion moved to the periphery of life, especially in the Western world.
In spite of this there is good news. Through our Tradition we can reclaim what has been lost in practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness can help us in a simple way experience the silence that we need. By focussing upon the present moment we can reclaim the balance. When we sit with the silence we will also glimpse the movement of God in and around us. Although mindfulness is a secular practice it’s inherently spiritual for those of faith. When we sit in the silence we experience that moment within ourselves, externally and in communion with God.
The earliest Christian communities developed an awareness of life that we in the modern world have forgotten. What is lost can be reclaimed and is ours as sons and daughters of God. An ancient mystic known as John the Solitary was a hermit monk who taught that:
“God is silence, and in silence is he sung by means of that psalmody which is worthy of Him… …There is a silence of the tongue, there is a silence of the whole body, there is a silence of the soul, there is the silence of the mind, and there is the silence of the spirit.”
Silence is God and silence is the worthy praise of Him! When we enter into silence we find that it has depth. Silence is not that lack of sound. Silence, when experienced, is better defined as quietude; a state of calmness and quiet. By being mindful and experiencing the present moment in the silence we worship God who is present with us and as John the Solitary taught we offer the true prayer that is worthy of Him – complete attention and connectedness in and through silence.
Saint Ignatius in his own way teaches the same. Although unless we can reclaim the silence and the time required we may not be able to engage in his practices and receive the benefits they offer. As we seek to move towards a deeper experience of Ignatius’ methods we might begin by using mindfulness to reclaim some of what has been lost and build into our day the opportunity to develop it further. Building a habit that we can use as a base is the beginning from which we can proceed to bring about more silence and allow God to be with us intentionally. Inspired by this we then have the opportunity to go further and Ignatius offers us a way to do so.
As society grapples with the challenges of work-life balance, in a world so different from even a decade ago we are comforted knowing that we can make change. Through the practice of mindfulness each person has a tool that is accessible, achievable and mischievously open to the presence of God. When we enter the silence we find him effortlessly and are drawn deeper and deeper into his love. In making time to be mindful we can become more spiritual and in a positive way seek what we may in the past have viewed as boredom. Boredom is of course not simple silence it is the lack of attention to the present. In the present we experience life and all that is truly real.
I wish you well as you work to bring about the balance in life that is needed and encourage you to begin wherever you are comfortable and are able to make the time for. Mindfulness can and should be embraced, as it will bring about a positive outcome and whet your appetite for more. The ‘more’ we will then seek is the presence of God whom we were born into through Baptism.
Yours in Christ,
Brendan Nicholls Liturgy Coordinator
Congratulations to all students from years 7-9 who participated in this years’ Education Perfect English World Championships from July 25th to August 1st. This competition run through the Education Perfect company, sees students from across the globe compete in English Literacy Skills challenges in an attempt to win prizes, out-perform other competing schools and of course, gain invaluable extra practice and development of personal literacy skills. Many of our students participated in this event during school hours and at home resulting in great success for individuals and the college.
Education Perfect World Championship Results
10th Overall Globally out of 1,327 schools
6th Overall in Australia out of 938 schools
1st Overall in Victoria out of 246 schools
Well done to all students who participated in this exciting competition! It is the individual commitment and enthusiasm that you demonstrated which are the vital skills for success in the future.
Special mention goes to the following students who reached higher “Award” levels.
|Student||World Ranking||Points||Award Level|
These innovative single evening programs are part of some special transition events that we offer our Year 7 and 8 students and they are happening here in our school community during the last weeks of August.
The programs have a whole range of memorable moments that include carefully guided interactions with other fathers and students. Fathers will emerge from the night reassured and impressed by the way our students are able to speak up and share insights about their lives. And be assured that the night is fun too… full of activities and conversations that will make us smile.
Media attention often feasts on the reality that some famous sportsmen and celebrities fall short of being good ‘role-models’ to our boys… but we are confident that the best role-models are much closer to home.
‘Stepping Up’ taps the very best resources in our own school community… the dads (or grandfathers, older brothers or uncles) of our boys. Be part of this innovative single evening program that gives a signpost to each boy about the best ways he can ‘step up’ to be a good man.
Year 8 Fathers and Sons Evening
Tuesday 21 August 2018
To register please: Visit the link http://bit.ly/SICG-2018
Or get the registration link emailed to you: email@example.com
She is growing up and the opportunity to reflect on the joys and challenges of this time in your life and her life, is one not to be missed.
This is a special night for the girls as they witness the fathers discussing the importance of their role.
We think that the girls seeing and being part of a gathering of fathers and mentors with this good intent, helps them to build their profile of a good man. This is a great night for seeing how you handle the ‘letting go’ process as they start to forge some independence.
Year 7 Fathers and Daughters Evening
Thursday 23 August 2018
To register please: Visit the link http://bit.ly/SICG-2018
Or get the registration link emailed to you: firstname.lastname@example.org
See the flyer for more details:
'Time & Space' Evenings 2018 (108 KB)
'Time & Space' Evenings 2018 (108 KB) 14-Aug-2018
Last night I attended a joyous celebration at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne. The Cathedral was overflowing with people who had gathered to welcome our new Archbishop, Most Reverend Peter A Comensoli (Ninth Archbishop of Melbourne) at the Liturgical Reception and Solemn Mass. The Mass was a wonderfully uplifting Eucharistic celebration and a very warm welcome for Archbishop Comensoli as he began his ministry in the Melbourne Archdiocese. He succeeds Archbishop Denis Hart who was Archbishop from 2001 to 2018.
On behalf of our College community, I express our gratitude and best wishes to Archbishop Emeritus Denis Hart for his dedicated leadership and service to the Archdiocese of Melbourne and wish him every blessing for his retirement.
I welcome Archbishop Comensoli and look forward to when he can visit our College. I wish him all the best for his new role as a shepherd of God’s people for our diocese. Archbishop Comensoli has asked us to pray for him, and the prayer card provided at the end of the Mass at the Cathedral had the following beautiful prayer of St Ignatius of Loyola.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
St Ignatius of Loyola
You can find more information about Archbishop Comensoli at the following webpage: www.cam.org.au
Construction of the new Geelong Tech School well underway
Travelling along La Trobe Terrace in Geelong you may have noticed building works at the Gordon site. The Gordon’s city campus has some landmark buildings that signal you have arrived at central Geelong and here is the city location of Geelong’s well-known longstanding TAFE provider. Some of these buildings are being refurbished and will result in an enhanced landmark statement about the Gordon’s presence as a significant Geelong education provider. The State Government has provided funding towards this “City Campus Rejuvenation Project.”
Another significant and welcome addition to the Gordon’s site will be Geelong’s new state-of-the-art Tech School (building image in the Gallery in this article) that Geelong’s secondary schools will be able to access to support their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning programs. Like nearly every other Geelong secondary school, Saint Ignatius College Geelong is a ‘partner school’, and we look forward to our involvement with this exciting facility. The Geelong Tech School is one of ten being built across the state as part of the State Government’s $128 million Tech School initiative. The Tech School is being hosted by the Gordon and is also currently under construction and will be ready for opening later this year. The Tech School’s striking facade will also have a noticeable presence at the corner of Little Malop Street and La Trobe Terrace and add to Geelong’s reputation as having a strong education sector.
The Geelong Tech School will focus on supporting Geelong secondary schools with developing their students’ STEM skills. Ensuring students have the opportunity to develop their STEM skills is very important because many of the “jobs of the future” will rely on workers possessing these skills. In this context, the focus of STEM includes learning skills such as being able to think critically, communicate clearly, work collaboratively and embrace technology.
The programs will be aligned with industries that are predicted to experience strong economic and employment growth in our region and include:
The Geelong Tech School has a web page on The Gordon website and can be viewed at www.geelongtechschool.vic.edu.au
At Saint Ignatius College, we are considering how we can use the facilities of the Tech School to enhance our student’s STEM skills. I represent the Geelong Catholic Secondary College Principals on the Committee of Management of the Tech School. One of our Science Teachers, Mr Michael Brown, is a member of the Curriculum Committee. Planning is underway for how our students’ learning in the STEM area could be enhanced by accessing the Tech School.
One example that is currently being developed as a trial program involves two of our Yr 8 DigiTech classes. Mr Brown is working with Barwon Water and the Geelong Tech School to design a project that requires robot design and construction to solve a real-life problem such as the unblocking of a drainage pipe. The two classes will be involved in this pilot program in term four. Also in term 4, all Yr 7 will undertake a day excursion to visit the new Tech School as part of their DigiTech subject. We look forward to further developing our involvement with the Geelong tech school for next year.
Mr Michael Exton Principal
Yesterday we celebrated the feast day of our patron St Ignatius of Loyola. It was a wonderful day for us as a community to come together and celebrate our College and remember St Ignatius. The day was not just a break from the routine, but a chance for us to come together and reflect as a community. By being together in an informal way we are able see things in a different way. At the College we put much effort into prompt thinking around giving back, by acknowledging our privileged position and our ability to make change in the world during the day. We also seek to open up a conversation about who St Ignatius was and why we celebrate his life and legacy on the day.
It is interesting to note that we celebrate feast day on the day St Ignatius died (31 July 1556), which may seem strange to some. However, in doing so we do not celebrate the fact that he died as such. What we celebrate is that on this date he returned home and entered into a different phase of his eternal life. Ignatius is a beacon that we look to as a guide both through his life story and today in heaven, connected to us through the communion of saints.
On feast day we celebrate both the life and legacy of St Ignatius. From the outside looking in it may seem that he is in some way being worshiped by the community. After all, on feast day we talk about him, pray to him and for him. He is not an idol however. This may be a temptation for some because St Ignatius lived a life that we can truly relate to and understand. In his early years he was egotistical and vain. These traits lead to his injuries at Pamplona and a period of reflection and conversion. Many of us can see links as to how the life of Ignatius is similar to our own. In knowing Ignatius we also make use of the spiritual legacy that he offers which provides a way we might develop our faith. For us as a community we do not idolize St Ignatius, but we do celebrate and commemorate his life and his legacy. Ignatius might correct those who do not understand by saying, “Not me but Him!”.
When we consider feast day we find that what we celebrate is that Ignatius leads us to Jesus. He offers us a bridge that connects what we know and experience in the modern world to the Risen Lord. Ignatius was proclaimed a saint because of his life, the revelation he experienced and offers in his spiritual exercises. His connection with the Trinity is what we strive for and in knowing Ignatius we find a way to develop the same connection he had through his legacy.
A profitable way to understand Ignatius’ vision and teaching is to consider the ‘principle and foundation’ of his spiritual exercises. This teaching articulates a number of profound insights. It begins by stating, “The human person is created to praise, reverence and serve God Our Lord, and by so doing to save his or her soul”. Ignatius’ primary view point is that we are created and have therefore an innate desire to seek and follow God. The text furthers this in stating that other created things have been created to help the individual to achieve the end for which they have been created and that we can achieve this only through the freedom offered by God. He concludes this overview by saying, “…but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created”.
On feast day these points are what we celebrate. Through the teachings of Ignatius, we are more able to find God in our daily lives. We celebrate his life as an example of how we too might be able to come to know God as he did. We also celebrate his sainthood and the fact that he intercedes on our behalf with the Father.
Throughout the spiritual exercises Ignatius identifies Jesus as the way to reach the goal we have been created to achieve and in so doing the gift of consolation. When we celebrate St Ignatius life and his legacy, we look to him as a beacon whom may guide us to know Jesus intimately and live as he taught. In following the teachings of Ignatius we are able to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus, live in a manner that changes the lives and prepares us for the next phase of our eternal life where we will be reunited with the Trinity and all who have lived and will live in the future; including Ignatius.
As we reflect upon feast day and move forward towards the end of the school year we are further inspired by St Ignatius because of our celebrations yesterday. We are encouraged to understand his teachings more fully and implement them into our lives for our benefit and for the benefit of others. In doing this we are guided towards Jesus and a profound awareness of his presence in our lives. As a community we strive to understand St Ignatius as a person and a saint whom we are connected to and guided by. I hope these thoughts inspire you to see through the eyes of Ignatius as we remember him this week.
Yours in Chirst,
Brendan Nicholls Liturgy Coordinator
Molly Cross, Year 12 student, with the support and encouragement of Ms. Alicia Deak, Ignatian Coordinator & Social Justice Coordinator and Mrs. Anna Oliver, VCE Coordinator & PE Coordinator, will be our first ever student to go on a ‘Cardoner Project’ Immersion Trip.
The Cardoner Project is a not-for-profit, student-focused hub for volunteering, founded in 2010 by Jesuit priest, Fr David Braithwaite SJ.
Its mission: To deepen the human, spiritual and intellectual formation of young adults, grounding them in a love of the poor in the service of the Church.
Next year Molly will be participating in two immersions to Guatemala and Belize for a total of five weeks with other young graduates from Jesuit and Ignatian schools around Australia.
These immersions are organised and run by "The Two Wolves Abroad", an initiative of the Cardoner Project. The Cardoner Project is a Jesuit young-adult ministry and not-for-profit student-focused hub for volunteering. It was established in 2010 with the mission to deepen the human, spiritual and intellectual formation of young adults, grounding them in love of the poor in the service of the Church.
Fr David Braithwaite SJ, CEO of The Cardoner Project notes that "By providing transformative experiences of service, we are creating Australia's next generation of leaders as companions, faithful and dedicated members of society".
This will be an extraordinary experience for Molly to engage with other young men and women formed in the Jesuit model of loving service for poor and most vulnerable and continue her formation in this tradition. Molly will be the first graduate of Saint Ignatius College to participate in the Cardoner Project and we hope that she will inspire other Saint Ignatius students to consider dedicating their time and efforts to a similar formative overseas experience with "The Two Wolves Abroad".
More info. on The Cardoner Project (a Jesuit organisation) can be found at: http://thecardonerproject.org/abroad/
Molly has set up a go fund me page to help raise some money for the trip. Some may like the opportunity to support her. The link is: gf.me/u/j3mc82
Pictured with Molly is Ms. Alica Deak and Isaac Demas SJ who visted our College recently.
Isaac Demase SJ was born in Maryborough, Queensland, and grew up in Lemnos in Victoria. He lived both at St Mary’s and Newman College in Melbourne as a university student. He trained as a school teacher and worked at the FCJ College in Benalla, Victoria before joining the Jesuits. Isaac took First Vows at the beginning of the year and is currently studying Philosophy at the University of Divinity. He visited Saint Ignatius College Geelong on Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th July and spoke to the Year 8 students about the Jesuits, the role of Jesuit Mission and his time in East Timor.
Ms. Alica Deak Ignatian Coordinator & Social Justice Coordinator.
Round 4 of the Debaters’ Association of Victoria’s (DAV’s) competition for schools in the Geelong Region was held on Monday 23rd July. Once again, Geelong Grammar hosted the evening’s program of fixtures.
SICG was strongly represented in the D Grade competition by Year 8 students Adisa Fabiano, Luca Martino, and Emily O’Kane. They took the affirmative position against the team from Clonard College, with the topic being: “That employers should adopt a four-day working week.” Students worked steadily on their preparation in the weeks leading up to the debate and explored many facets of the topic whilst conducting their research. Although Clonard scored the points on this occasion, our students spoke very well and special congratulations are extended to Luca Martino for a great performance in his first formal debate. I am very grateful to Ms Brooke O’Brien for her continued support of these students. Debaters from Years 7 to 9 are currently preparing for their final fixture on the topic “That we should impose mandatory minimum sentences for all violent crimes.”
In the A Grade program, our team was given just one hour to prepare their case in a secret topic debate against Geelong Grammar. The secret topic format is always a challenging experience, as students cannot access any digital devices for the hour and they cannot be assisted or coached by teachers. Students developed some good arguments against the proposal “That we should privatize the ABC.” Anthony Zanghi (Year 11) opened our case with some sound points in a clearly structured speech. Leah Maffescioni (Year 11) continued our case and presented some solid rebuttal. Kyle Wig (Year 12) spoke exceptionally well, delivering a comprehensive rebuttal to conclude, and was deservedly named best speaker for the debate. Our students can be proud of their efforts despite a very narrow loss. The team’s final fixture will also be a secret topic debate.
The DAV’s Junior Secondary Program commences in September. Students who have registered for this program will have their first lunchtime meeting here at school on Monday 3rd September, with their formal training night on Thursday 20th September, at 7:00 pm, at Clonard College. Participants will receive further information over the next few weeks.
Ms Andrea Dart Debating Co-ordinator
Building Project commences!
I am glad to inform you that our much-awaited building project has commenced. These works are located on the vacant land on the south-east corner of the College’s property. The builders have fenced the site, set up their site sheds and started the earthworks. This is exciting news as we look forward to accessing the new Year 9 and Multi-Purpose Centres mid next year.
For your information, I have included some of the architect’s diagrams and drawings with my message (see the photo gallery) and some details about this project as follows.
Builder: Commercial Industrial Construction Group Pty Ltd (CICG)
Architect: Clarke Hopkins Clarke Architects
Design & Construction Cost: $14M (approx. overall)
Funding: The College is very grateful for State and Commonwealth Governments Capital Grants towards the cost of this building project.
Timeline: Commence 16 July 2018 and Finish - Mid 2019
If you require further information or have any questions at any stage, please contact our Business Manager, David Fitzgerald.
This massive building project will provide our students with tremendous new facilities that will significantly enhance their learning environment. It will also make a strong statement about the College’s presence as an outstanding faith and learning community. We have been on the site here at Peninsula Drive for 21 years. For the last eleven years, we have proudly grown as Saint Ignatius College Geelong. These new facilities will mark an important step forward in the development of our College. It will be symbolic that, as we begin this new chapter, our new Multipurpose Centre will enable the students and staff to meet together again as a community under the one roof. Also, after many, many years of classes in relocatable rooms, future Year 9 students can look forward to learning in wonderful, attractive and purpose-designed learning spaces.
College Feast Day
Tuesday 31st July is a special day for our College community - the day we celebrate the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, the College’s patron saint. All students are expected to attend school on this day and join in the spirit of the day by fully participating in the special activities that have been organised.
Parents are most welcome to attend the Full School Assembly on this day. Please report to the office at 9.00am so that seating can be organised for you. This assembly in the gym will finish at about 10.30am and morning tea will be provided for parents and friends of the College.
We have a formal College assembly once each term. This term’s assembly date has been specially chosen to coincide with our feast day. At the assembly, we will acknowledge staff service (10, 15, or 30 continuous years) to the College community, hear from the students who attended the recent Jesuit and Companion Schools Immersion trip to East Timor and present Loyola awards to some students.
Following the assembly there will be a variety of activities organised for students to participate in for the rest of the day. As some of these activities may be of a sporting nature, all students are required to wear their correct Sports Uniform on this day.
The canteen will be open at both recess and lunch times. Students can order lunch (“red” foods allowed on our celebration day) from the canteen and there will be a variety of food vans present on the day as well.
Previous years’ feast day celebrations received overall very positive feedback. We are hoping that this day will continue to be a special one in the culture of the College over the years and indeed a day the students and staff look forward to and celebrate – a very positive community building event.
Year 7 enrolments 2019
I am pleased to report very strong interest in the College continued again this year with many more applications than places available for next year.
The support provided by the students, staff and parents for the Open Day & enrolment promotion program was a valuable/vital contribution to this success – thank you. The very positive reputation of the College is a commendable result of the commitment of our students, staff and parents to our College community and its continual improvement.
Due to the large number of applications received, with the College Board’s support, I applied to Catholic Education Melbourne to take an extra stream for 2019 (only.) I have enrolled 250 students (ten classes of 25 students) for Year 7 next year.
Any enquiries about enrolment can be made to the College Registrar, Mrs Gail Myers.
Michael Exton Principal
Human beings have a great need for evidence. Signs and symbols are quantifiable and offer us a tangible value or measure that signifys the ‘real’ existence of what it represents. In our Church we have thousands of signs and symbols that remind us of our faith and connection to God. The most significant and ongoing points of difference in Christianity since the Reformation has been the continued use of symbolism within the Roman Catholic Church. For Catholics signs and symbols are evidence of the transcendent and evidence of the eternal connection that exists between the eternal Church.
Over the holidays we received word of some preliminary results of the archeological excavation on the Andersons Road hill, as part of the Drysdale Bypass project. The most significant find at present is a 5,000-year-old stone axe. Credit must be given to Vicroads and their sincere effort to protect and preserve potential sites of historical Indigenous significance as this project is completed. In approaching the task with respect we as a community and more broadly as a nation are able to learn more about our past through the sign/symbol of a simple stone axe.
To put this find in perspective we might consider the history of our Church. When the axe that has been found was deposited on Andersons Hill there was no Church, Christianity was 3,000 years in the future. In fact, Judaism had not begun! The axe was left some 1,500 years before Abraham (Abram) was called by God. Although there was ‘religion’ at the time the axe was left on the hill none of those ‘religions’ remain today; except for the religion(s) of our Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people.
Although we do not know the exact religious understandings of Australian Indigenous people 5,000 years-ago we do know that there was religious behaviour. The Mungo woman is one of the earliest known cremations, occurring some 42,000 years-ago. In the years between the Mungo woman’s cremation and the time the axe was deposited it’s highly likely that Indigenous spirituality and religion had developed to, or very close to, what we know of Indigenous religious belief and practice today. This find is therefore exceptionally important in both an historical and religious terms.
That simple stone axe found on Andersons Hill is a sign of existence. An intelligent human once walked this land and used simple tools to enhance their ability to survive. That person is an ancestor of us as a nation. That person did believe in a creator – Bunjil. That person was created by our God and loved by him. We also know through faith that that person is connected to us today as a Church through our belief in the Communion of Saints – in death the spirit of that person came back to God and is with him in heaven today!
To Indigenous people this find is further evidence of their connection to this ‘country’. This is further evidence of the Wadda Wurrung (Wathaurong) people’s ancient presence in this place. More so it’s evidence of something more than an ancestor or place. This symbol is quantifiable evidence of something that is transcendent. It is a start. It raises questions that we need to explore and discern a response to.
Does this axe offer us an insight into the ancient burial practices of the Wadda Wurrung people and their religious beliefs and practices? Does the axe indicate a significant meeting place or sacred site? Is this object an example of ‘sacrifice’ similar to the Celtic offerings of important items in accordance with spiritual belief? Was this axe simply lost in swampy ‘bunyip’ land?
Although conclusions will be reached in time once detailed academic research is completed what can be known now is that the axe is a sign and symbol that is of great importance to us at the College. Today we as a community are a voice for respect and justice. In this context we are called to advocate for our community, especially the Indigenous community who since European settlement have so often been ignored, and excluded. Just as the symbols we have as a College remind us of our Traditions, history and belief the axe that has been found has the potential to do the same for the Indigenous community. Further, it also might be a symbol that we as a whole community can value, discuss and respect.
As we consider this find and what it does and might offer us, we might observe a subtler transcendent sign. This axe was found during NAIDOC Week. Was the timing of this find the work of the Holy Spirit? Indigenous people might see the work of their creator Bunjil at work here as he watches over them. After 5,000 years this axe was discovered during the week we as a nation celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. At the least this axe has prompted us to question and has opened up a conversation that helps us in our obligation to seek reconciliation as a society.
The big question in the local community at present is “Will it slow the progression of the Drysdale Bypass?”. The answer I offer is, in light of the likely cultural, historical and religious nature of this find – I hope so! With respect to every Australian I truly hope that every precaution is taken to continue excavations at a pace that ensures the integrity of further potential objects that symbolize our shared and largely unknown history.
Yours in Christ,
Brendan Nicholls Liturgy Coordinator
We celebrate significant events like Birthdays, Baptisms, Christmas Day and Easter but why do we celebrate a Feast Day or why do we even have Feast Days?
In the Christian religions a Feast Day (or ”festival” day) is when a special Holy Day has been set aside to commemorate the life of a saint. On a Feast Day there is a celebration by holding special prayer services and having a rest from work.
Tuesday 31st July is the Feast Day of St Ignatius of Loyola. It’s the anniversary of his death but rather than being a sad day it’s regarded as a special day each year when Jesuits and Jesuit friends around the world celebrate his life.
At Saint Ignatius College Geelong the celebration of Feast Day includes:
Part of the focus of Feast Day is to celebrate the life of St Ignatius. There is also a focus on raising awareness of how we can get involved in programs and activities that “give back” and help those less fortunate.
Mr Paul Lewis Deputy Principal
An Evening with Christine Nixon
Scholarship Applications Open Today
2019 Academic Assembly
An Evening with Christine Nixon
Book Collection Day 2019
College House Athletics Carnival
College House Swimming Carnival
College Office Opens 2019
End of Term 1
Labour Day Public Holiday
Open Day 2019
Parent / Student / Teacher Conferences
Parent / Student / Teacher Conferences
Parents and Friends' Association Meeting
Scholarship Applications Close Today
Senior School Expo Evening
Start of Term 1 2019
Start of Term 2 2019
Term 1 Holidays 2019
Year 11 Wellbeing Day
Year 12 Retreat
Year 7 'Welcome Mass'