18 June 2020

From the Principal

Article by Mr Michael Exton

From the Principal

Dear Parents and Carers,

Over recent months, the community’s focus has been on maintaining everyone’s health in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Alongside this has been the concern for mental wellbeing during this very uncertain and challenging time. Our society has worked well together to adopt the many measures to ‘flatten the curve’. Our College community response has likewise ensured that in most cases, our students’ learning continuity has continued. The community’s successful response to date has led to the welcome return of our students to classes at school.

I am grateful that so far we have had a very settled resumption of school with an overall sense that it’s good to be back and more connected. There continues to be no known cases of COVID-19 in our school community. However, we need to remain vigilant to the possibility of infection, and we have many practices in place to minimise the risk. Another area for vigilance is the maintenance of good mental health and wellbeing.

In the previous newsletter, I wrote about the tragic loss of four teens in the Geelong region since early this year. You may be aware that tragically another teen died last weekend. As a community, our hearts go out to the family and friends of this young man. I mention this again, to promote the continuing need for vigilance and prompt action if concerned about anyone’s mental health. ‘Headspace’ has provided a number of helpful information resources in regard to this and I included access to these within my previous newsletter article and make these available again through these links:

Headspace: https://headspace.org.au/

Wednesday’s ‘Geelong Advertiser’ (pg. 21) included an article, ‘Trust yourself’ by Associate Professor Steve Moylan (Clinical Director of Barwon Health Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol.) Assoc. Prof. Moylan wrote, “If you know a person feeling disconnected, reach out proactively in person, by phone or video conference. Organise a kick of the footy or a walk in the park. Let them know you are there for them.”

He added, “If you know of someone struggling and feeling a burden to others, help them understand the contribution they make to you and your community – remind them of a time they helped you out. Share how you are feeling too.”

And finally, Assoc. Prof. Moylan says, “While some people struggling at the moment will benefit from professional mental health awareness, don’t underestimate the power you have as a member of your community to help those around you. My advice to parents, teachers and friends is to trust your instincts. Remember that kindness and compassion are contagious. Work harder now than ever to remain connected and reach out to those who you believe may be struggling. If you are ever unsure of what you should do, access many of the excellent resources available online or call a mental health service for advice. Most of all; look after yourself – both physically and mentally – so you can help those around you.”

I thought Assoc. Prof. Moylan’s article was very encouraging, supportive and timely as we continue to face the challenge of promoting and maintaining our students’ mental health. As I’ve mentioned many times before, if you are concerned about how your daughter or son is travelling, please contact our Student Wellbeing Office.

Headspace 1800 650 890

Lifeline 13 11 14

Professional Practice Day tomorrow

Please note that tomorrow (Friday June 19) is a Teacher Professional Practice Day and students will not be required at school.

Peninsula Drive congestion

There have been some reports of traffic congestion on Peninsula Drive of an afternoon. To help alleviate this could I suggest the following:

- If you are turning right from our driveway and are holding up cars behind you, please turn left and at the southern end of Peninsula Drive execute a u-turn to travel back towards your destination; or

- Pick-up your daughter/son in Andersons Road. As a part of the Drysdale Bypass construction, parking spaces have been made available along this road. It is only a short walk from school via the new underpass for students.

The congestion along Peninsula Drive is only for a short period of time, so if you must use this way, please exercise patience and follow the road rules.

Thank you in anticipation of your cooperation.

Principal Review

As a key stage of the appraisal of my performance as Principal, interviews of a cross-section of our school community, was conducted yesterday. Ms Teresa Lincoln (Secondary Regional Leadership Consultant, Catholic Education Melbourne Southern Region) who is leading the review process, visited the school on Tuesday for a tour and an informal meeting of staff and students. Then on Wednesday, Ms Lincoln was joined by Mr Tony Frizza, our Board Chairperson and ex-Principal of a number of secondary schools, to conduct the interviews of many staff members, students and some parents. Thank you to school community members who were interviewed and to those of you who have provided comments by email to Ms Lincoln. Ms Lincoln will now prepare a report for the President of the Canonical Administrators, Fr James Puppady and me.

Last week of Term Two

As next week is the final week of term two, I draw your attention to the following notices.

Due to the Geelong region’s last day of term school bus timetable being different, our students will be dismissed on Friday 26th June at 2:20pm.

Classes for term three resume on Tuesday 14th July. (Monday 13th July is a Teacher Professional Practice Day.)

Semester One Statements of Results will be available via the parent portal as follows:

- Yrs 7-9 on Friday 17th July; and

- Yrs 10-12 on Friday 24th July.

As the term draws to a close, I again thank all parents for your ongoing support of the College. I commend my colleagues for their tremendous efforts to ‘pivot’ to and from remote working to ensure the learning continuity of our students during these very challenging times. I hope all students can have a relaxing and enjoyable time with plenty of physical activity and quality family time over the holiday break.

Best wishes,

Michael Exton Principal