Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    From the Principal

    Article by Mr Michael Exton

    From the Principal

    Lenten season begins

    We began the season of Lent last week with the celebration of Ash Wednesday this week. Students and staff received ashes on their foreheads on Wednesday morning during a short liturgy as a sign of repentance as well as a reminder of our humanity.  Lent is a period of preparation for the celebration of the foundational event of our faith, Easter.

    Lent is a time when we are reminded of the need for reflection, both personally and as a community.  We are encouraged to think about what we are doing or not doing to nurture our relationship with God, others, ourselves and creation. The Church invites us to strengthen our relationship with God through acts of prayer, fasting and generosity during the Lenten season.  Ways we can do this include praying together as a family before a meal, being careful about our food intake and giving to a charity such as ‘Project Compassion.’

    At school, our Social Justice team has organised ‘Project Compassion’ as a way for students to respond to others in need during Lent.  The monetary donations students give in their Homerooms will be given to ‘Caritas’ for their work in third world countries.  Thank you to our Social Justice Coordinator, Ms Alicia Deak for coordinating this awareness and fundraiser.

    Time for a check-up

    At about this time for many years, I have encouraged students and parents to review the term’s progress. We are now past the halfway mark of term one. It is now a good time for our students to ask themselves how well they have established their daily and weekly routines and in particular, the priorities reflected in their routines. Is schoolwork being given the priority it deserves and how balanced is the weekly program of activities? Are good meal routines and routines for those many housekeeping jobs are in place? What about her/his sleep routine?

    It is obviously essential that students have settled into a good routine by now so that as the demands of the school program increase they are in good stead to cope with the assignments and assessment tasks that will be set and be able to maintain the other activities necessary for a balanced life. Being able to set reasonable routines early in secondary school will help students establish patterns that will help them with the demands of the VCE program in their final years. 

    How can parents help their daughter/son establish a good routine? I am sure you are aware of many ways. I would like to suggest that now might be a good time to discuss with your daughter/son how they think they have commenced the year and ask them about their daily and weekly routines and what they may need help with or what she/he can do to improve her / his routines. It would also be helpful to ask them about the goals they set earlier in the year and whether they think they are off to a good start towards achieving them.

    It is very pleasing to see many students participating in a range of activities. At St Ignatius, we encourage the development of well-rounded young women and men, so we offer a variety of co-curricular activities. Through participating in areas such as sport, the performing arts, public speaking, debating, community service, environment group or social justice group we can see a strong sense of community, fair play, leadership and service fostered as well as the development of many different skills. I suggest that co-curricular involvement is considered in reviewing the term to date. What about joining a debating team or the choir or a sports team or auditioning for a part in the production?

    Annual House Swimming Carnival

    As you are aware, on Monday last week, we held the Annual House Swimming Carnival at Kardinia Pool Geelong on a very warm summer’s day. I congratulate the many students who participated on the day and all those who came along in good spirits to make the most of the day by cheering and encouraging their housemates and enjoying the opportunity to socialise with other students and staff. The students seemed to enjoy the availability of the waterslide and novelty events. As in previous years, many students swam very well and will go onto represent the College at the GISSA inter-school level.  The GISSA Carnival will be held on Wednesday 13th March at Geelong Grammar School. 

    Congratulations to Elliot House members for winning the House Shield. Well done!

    The overall results were:

    1. Elliot 1280 points
    2. Cuthbert 1201 points
    3. Fraser 1113 points
    4. Bradman 997 points

     Congratulations to the Age Champions:

    13 Years: Philippa McIntyre (Cuthbert) and Luke Devlin (Bradman)
    14 Years: Lauren Campbell (Bradman) and Byron Ward (Elliot)
    15 Years: April Smith (Fraser) and Sam Hines (Elliot)
    16 Years: Elizabeth Andrews (Elliot) and Drew Honey (Cuthbert)
    Open: Lexie McNaughton (Fraser) and Bailey Payne (Bradman)

    Thank you to Mr Andrew Philp (Sports Coordinator) for organising the carnival and all of the staff for their work on the day to ensure its success. It was great to see that a number of parents were able to attend on the day help make it a special event 

    The swimming carnival is one of the many co-curricular programs that we expect all students to attend and participate in.  We are now looking forward to all students attending the Annual House Athletics carnival on Thursday 21st March at Landy Field, Geelong. We are holding this carnival earlier than in previous years, so we have things in place to enable our students to have access to subsequent athletics competitions and to take advantage of autumn weather.

    Open Day – Sunday 24th March 2019

    On Sunday 24th March we will be holding our annual Open Day (11.00am – 2.00pm; Information Sessions at 11.00am & 12.15pm).  Parents and families are most welcome to attend.  We will be inviting students to be present on Open Day to help out.  In the past we have been delighted with the number of students who come along on the day to promote their school – they were outstanding ambassadors for the College.  If you know of any parent who is considering secondary schooling for their child, please encourage them to come along on Open Day and apply for enrolment. Applications for enrolment for Year 7 2020 close on Friday 17th May 2019. This closing date also applies in the case of where a sibling is already enrolled at the College.

    College Board

    The first Board meeting of the year was held last Thursday evening. I am very grateful that we have a very dedicated, talented and committed group of women and men who have taken on this important leadership role.  Members are appointed by the President of the Canonical Administrators to ensure strong governance of the College.  They contribute a variety of skills and knowledge to the decision-making processes, seek to enhance their stewardship of the school, work in partnership with the College Executive and ensure the College is focused on and fostering its Vision, Mission and Values.

    Tony Frizza – Chairperson and past Principal of Emmaus College
    Fr. James Puppady – President of the Canonical Administrators & St Thomas Parish Priest
    Peter Cooper – Xavier College Representative, Director of Burke Hall
    Fr Jim Clarke – Parish Priest St Mary of the Angels Basilica Parish
    Fr Darien Sticklen – Parish Priest of Queenscliff
    Rev Fr. Gerard Healy SJ – Representative of Australian Province of the Society of Jesus
    Lisa Bell – Past Parent and Educationalist
    Darren Henry – Past Parent and Accountant
    Steve Gibbs – Past Parent and Operational Risk Manager
    Toby O’Connor – Company Director - Social Services Sector
    Fran Kealey – Former Director of Teacher Development SICG
    Marie Emmitt – Emeritus Professor of Australian Catholic University
    Jo-Anne Britt – Previous PFA President & Teacher/Researcher Deakin University
    Michael Exton - Principal
    David Fitzgerald – Business Manager
    Paul Lewis – Deputy Principal (Staff, Identity and Operations)
    Annette Chidzey – Deputy Principal (Teaching & Learning)
    Michael Timms – Deputy Principal (Students)

    The Board provides valuable advice to the College Executive and the Association of Canonical Administrators.  Among the many matters the Board deals with, recent areas that have been on the agenda include the College Masterplan, building program, review of various policies, and Overseas Learning Experience (Trips) Program. An essential area of the Board’s governance is ensuring the College is enhancing its Catholic Ignatian ethos and identity. 

    Some thoughts on parenting

    By way of support and encouragement to parents, I provide the following advice from Erica Reischer’s book, “What Great Parents Do: 75 Simple Strategies for Raising Kids Who Thrive,” cited in “Principals Digests,” Vol. 23, No. 9.  I am sure most parents employ many very effective strategies and do a great job as they undertake the challenge of parenting their children. So you may be well aware of what Erica provides about parenting practice that she has synthesised from research and clinical experience to help parents reshape child challenging behaviour, create strong family bonds, and guide their children toward becoming happy, kind, and responsible adults. I hope you find contemplating the following helpful.

    Effective strategies include “Great parents do what they say they are going to do”, “Great parents see that actions speak louder than words”, and “Great parents are transparent about their decision-making process”.

    One easy-to-implement tip is replacing the word ‘but’ - which can have negative connotations - with ‘and’, which sounds more agreeable. For instance, instead of saying “That was a good job, but you missed out an important part”, you could say “You did a great job, and you could consider this part too”.

    Another technique is to pivot. This means to use words that get your point across in a more positive way. Pivoting is the art of saying yes instead of no, and meaning the same thing. For instance, “No, we can’t go to the park until after you have completed your chores” may get a better response if pivoted to “Yes, we can go to the park as soon as you’ve finished your jobs”.

    It’s best to avoid labels. If your daughter/son is reluctant to join an activity, resist commenting to other adults that “She/He’s just shy”. Acting shyly is a behaviour and not always a permanent characteristic. Your child is listening and could come to think of herself/himself in the manner you’re describing.

    Even a positive label should be avoided. By labelling your child clever, they may internalise this as “I am smart/creative/good at sports, and I want to stay that way”, which might lead to a reluctance to try new things for fear of failure and no longer being defined by that label.

    Great parents focus near and far. Focusing only on the moment and not the long term can create problems. If your daughter/son typically whines for something at the shops and you usually buy it for her/him, she/he will learn that whining helps her/him get her/his way. A short-term solution has created a long-term issue. This is also true of yelling to get your point across. If we habitually yell to get our children’s attention, we are teaching them to ignore us until we yell and we are also teaching them that yelling is the way to get someone’s attention. 

    Three questions to ask: “Is what I’m doing something I would be happy to see my daughter/son emulate? Is what I’m doing creating a positive family dynamic? Is what I’m doing solving one problem but creating another?”

    For parents with older children, there is one last tip, titled “Great parents start where they are”. Rather than fretting over past actions, keep in mind that you can only act on what you know, and most parents have been doing the best they can with what they know so far. Thankfully, most young people are both resilient and forgiving; they are more like hardy weeds than delicate flowers.

    Labour Day Holiday

    A reminder that next Monday 11th March is a Public Holiday and the College will be closed for the day. Best wishes for an enjoyable long weekend.

    Michael Exton  Principal



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