Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    Year 8 Family Evening

    Article by Ms Deborah Hodge

    Year 8 Family Evening

    The rain clouds stayed away and it was a fine, balmy evening when 290 family members  gathered in St Thomas’ Church on May 20th to celebrate Mass and a shared meal in the College’s Xavier Centre, whilst being entertained by the musical talents of soloists, a duet and drummer from the Year 8 level, as well as two of our senior musicians.

    The Mass was celebrated by Fr Gerry Healy, our Jesuit chaplain, who shared a poignant story of his early days as a priest when he had to give some sad news and struggled in knowing how to respond to these parents’ grief. This experience taught him the importance of presence and how the love of the Church can sustain people in moments of loss.  

    Mr Brendan Nicholls’ welcoming gesture of the playing of the bagpipes was certainly an uplifting way to greet families and we are always grateful for his presence and contribution to the liturgy. The theme of the Mass, “Where We Come From Shapes Who We Are”, was introduced by our Vice School Captain - Heidi Bakker and a Year 8 Ignatian leader -  Juddy Verlin; the readings and reflections emphasised the love, sacrifice and commitment of family.

    There were many moving moments, especially the Communion Reflections by Ross De Lange and Mrs Rebecca Blair (see excerpts below), as well as Oliver Harris’ inspiring reading of Albrecht Durer’s story of “The Praying Hands” and the sacrifice his brother made. However, the highlight was probably the letters of gratitude students wrote to their parents; there were many hugs and displays of affection in response to these heartfelt words. 

    Following this was our community dinner where families and staff indulged in lasagne and an array of salads and slices, whilst listening to musical items prepared so meticulously by Ms Linda Pape and her students. It was a joy to hear our students sing with such confidence and poise; the crowd was amazed by their renditions and applauding of their many musical talents. 

    Special acknowledgement to  Lily Petterwood; Summer De Vries; Genevieve Kelly; Eliza Bermingham & Brigid Keating; Ashleigh Cox, Ciana Rogers Ella Beasley; Mackinley Watson and our Yr 12 Performing Arts Captain, Jack Woodfine, and Callum Branch, another Year 12 student whose rendition of the Eagles hit, “Desperado”, was very soulful. Special mention to our effervescent comperes – Will Palmer and Noah Gullan – senior students who were similarly in awe of the talent in Year 8. Thanks boys for your energy, humour and enthusiasm! Heidi Bakker ‘s support and mentoring of our younger students, whether as a singer, speaker or server was another great example of positive role-modelling from our College leaders.

    Before we knew it, time was up and we farewelled families, grateful that they could join us in honouring the joyfulness of families and experiencing what it means to belong to the Saint Ignatius family.

    It was a significant undertaking overseeing this special occasion and the student leaders of our level (SRC & Ignatian) were pivotal to its success. They ran the evening and were outstanding spokespeople for our College, so enormous thanks to them for their efforts and commitment to really step up and take charge.  Congratulations to Kathleen Donald, Murphy Moulton, Ari Gillies, Tom Ray, Sasha Williams, Matt Brennan, Tiahni Paseuthsak, Juddy Verlin, Matilda Stepto, Flynn Smith, Ruby McCooke, Mitchell Blair, Lily Hallam, Ella Beasley, Jayden Voudiotis, Ross De Lange and Bridget Keating.

    It was wonderful to have the College leadership team (Mr Exton, Mr Timms, Mrs Chidzey and Mr Lewis) attend, especially when that was a busy week with many other College commitments. The students really appreciated them being there to witness their presentations and families enjoyed the opportunity to engage in conversations and share stories.

    To the incredible Year 8 homeroom team who were behind this endeavour and supported students as they wrote their tributes of love to their family and rehearsed speeches and prayers, sincerest thanks for empowering our students to lead and reflect on the importance of family. Without your commitment, hard work and generosity, the evening could not have been the success that it was. Included in that recognition must be Leeane Irving, from our College catering team, who should be thanked for the superb job she did in overseeing the food arrangements.  

    And finally, to the families of our level who attended, it was an absolute joy to meet you and your extended family. We hope you felt welcomed and thank you for being part of the 450 year old Jesuit tradition of educating the heart and mind of the students, as based on our patron, St Ignatius of Loyola.  

    Deborah Hodge  Year 8 Coordinator

    Excerpts…

    What Family Means To Me

    “My parents are my greatest champions. Their belief in me and in who I can become is limitless.

    People say that good mums let you lick the beaters…… Great mums turn them off first. I am lucky enough to have a great mum.

    My mum has taught me: 

    • To follow the rules.

    • To constantly strive to be better.

    • To be dependable

    • To treat others fairly

    • To stand up for what I believe in.

    Conversely, my dad is a dreamer. My favourite author, Dr Seuss, wrote:

    ‘Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh the things you can think if only you try.’ This quote typifies my dad. He is the most creative thinker I know.

    He has taught me:

    • To think outside the square.

    • To believe in the possibility of most things.

    • To dream big.

    • To view life optimistically.

    • And that there is always a plan B.

    Some people say that siblings teach you how to dance……… while waiting outside the bathroom door! Although this is true, my siblings have taught me so much more. They are the people I practice on and my parent’s greatest gift to me.”

    Ross De Lange – 8 Montserrat

    “Family is everything. Family shows up and supports you through good times and bad, in fun times and during sad times. Family are the ones who love you most, unconditionally.

    In our family we celebrate each other, birthdays are very important, regardless of the number. My number this year my children told me now makes me old, but I'm ok with that because it is a real privilege to be "old". Birthdays in our family are celebrated with grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins all sharing a meal and spending time together, kids playing and us "old" adults stopping for a while to catch up on what's been happening in our busy lives. Regardless of how long it is between seeing one another it's always so easy to pick up where we left off.”

    Mrs Rebecca Blair

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