07 October 2021

Faith Matters - Cuidese

Article by Mr Brendan Nicholls

Faith Matters - Cuidese

In two weeks our Year 12 students will complete there final face to face classes and leave the daily routine of school behind. This year the transition will be more disrupted as what is normal has not been possible. The time we have had together in the classroom this year has been more important for academic progression and connection to others as it has been so limited. When this journey ends it will for some be more challenging than it would be in a ‘normal’ year.

This transition from secondary education will also be more stark as all of the other events that we normally celebrate to acknowledge and soften the change have been postponed, or altered due to the ongoing restrictions. These celebratory events however, are simply a dialogue about change and transformation. They will occur a little later and a bit differently to our original plan, and in the interim I hope that the following contemplation sums up what we gain from these experiences.

Over the next two weeks I hope that the following letter to our Year 12 students is a fitting contemplation for them and for you.

Dear Class of 2021,

What a final year you have had! When you walked through the gates early in 2016 there is no way known you could have guessed how your final year would play out. As you enter your final two weeks it’s time to reflect upon your journey, the change that is about to occur and what your future might be.

What were you thinking when you ‘arrived’ on your first day? Who were your friends back then? What did you look forward to the most, and what did you ‘want to be’? Your first year was a new beginning, a great adventure: reflect upon the excitement and joy of 2016.

Over the next four years you grew as a student, a young adult and a member of our Ignatian Community. From Year 8 to Year 11 consider all the things that occurred. Reflect upon how your friendships became stronger, more diverse or the reasons why some faded. How did those friendships nourish and support you? Consider acknowledging these people and offer them gratitude for all they have done to help you become who you are today.

What academic challenges have you encountered? Did your ‘favourite’ subjects change over time as you grew? What have you learnt about yourself and your vision for life from the subjects you have completed? What difficulties did you encounter and overcome, and how did this perseverance and success open your eyes to what you are capable of with the support of those who guided you?

Have you become the person our community hoped that you would become? Have the virtues we respect and your ability to love others been embraced and refined by you over the years? Did you hear the wisdom offered in your Religious Education classes about who we are because of Jesus, who provides all that we need?

Have you learned to love those who are different? Did you embrace the opportunities to serve people on the margins? Have you become aware of the power you have and the change you can bring to the world as an advocate for those who are voiceless? Did the story of St Ignatius of Loyola inspire you? Are you prepared to embrace the life of a disciple as you begin your next pilgrimage?

Reflect upon your final year. What a challenge it has been to stay focussed amongst all of the disruption. What did you learn about life and yourself this year? Who helped you and who did you help when things were tough? How do you want the last two weeks to play out? How do you best celebrate the journey and enjoy your final classes? How do you balance the excitement and distraction of your last class in two week’s time against preparing for your final academic challenge at secondary school?

As you finish your time as a student at Saint Ignatius College Geelong know that we are proud of you! We know you and have seen you become someone who we believe in. We know you are destined to become a ‘big deal’. We hope that you have learnt that being a big deal is finding your vocation in life and doing it with passion. Some of you will become doctors, others political leaders, some of you will be tradies, others will work in a variety of jobs that serve others. It doesn’t matter what your future job may be, you are valued and if you live your life the way we have encouraged you to, you will be happy and successful. You will change the world by being you!

As St Ignatius would say, “cuídese”. Take care, we know that it’s time to say goodbye. We will miss you but you have outgrown the need for secondary education. There are bigger things for you to do now. Although you may be leaving as a Year 12 student, you will then become a member of our alumni community, and perhaps in the future you will entrust the education of your children to us.

Most importantly know that we are excited for you, that you are a loved member of our College and that you always will be.

In Jesus’ name cuídese,

Brendan Nicholls (on behalf of our College community)