Beaconsfield News – 31 May 2018

 

Parent Focus Groups

Dear parents/guardians,

Our College is a faith filled learning community in which the gospel message is clearly in evidence; one which acknowledges Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Each member of our community is called to be a living witness to the Gospel where Christ is encountered. It is our desire that, through the deepening of the culture of positive learning partnerships informed by positive psychology, student achievement will be enhanced. We invite parents to work together with staff to assist students to have a productive, fruitful and enjoyable experience at St Francis Xavier College.

Parents have a particularly important role to play in the educating community, since it is to them that primary and natural responsibility for their children’s education belongs. (Congregation for Catholic Education 1997)

We recognise and respect that parents are the prime educators of their child. In an effort to enhance the open communication between parents and the school we invite interested parents to register their interest in joining Parent Focus Groups at each campus.

These groups do not replace the Advisory Board or Parents and Friends Association. The Parent Focus Groups offer an opportunity for parents to gather and share a parent perspective regarding school matters such as Catholic Identity, wellbeing, pathways and connectedness to the College. These groups will work to:

  • Assist families to understand the College’s vision, mission and curriculum objectives;
  • Assist students to succeed at school;
  • Ensure students develop skills to operate efficiently in our constantly changing society;
  • Enhance the health and wellbeing of students.

We are launching this initiative because we know that home/school partnerships provide the opportunity to develop a shared understanding of learning and the needs of adolescents. It is our intention to help parents support their children during their secondary schooling knowing that one of the most influential factors in creating success for students is you.

The Parent Focus Groups would generally meet once a term. Each group would be comprised of around 10 parents and several College staff including the Head of Campus as host.

Parents appointed to the Parent Focus Groups would be expected to;

  • Support the Catholic ethos of St Francis Xavier College;
  • Listen the opinions of others with respect, courtesy and fairness;
  • Be willing to engage in positive relationships;
  • Have the capacity to work as a team;
  • Commit to attend scheduled meetings;
  • Advocate for the College.

 

Should you be interested in joining a Parent Focus Group you are invited to complete the expression of interest form via this link:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=hVR7pgXSOk-NoIMf0cdcNyzZ_zZNr7hGjOSq2ICcdDpUOU5YSTlPTTk4VEc5NjdGN081NlhIVDNYNC4u

In the event that we receive more parent nominations than the number of available positions the College Advisory Board will ratify the appointments with a view to ensuring a representative membership. Successful nominees will be notified of dates and venues thereafter.

We look forward to working collaboratively with you so that all students can reach their full potential.

Vera Treloar

 

 

CYSMA City Retreat 2k18 

Prior to the retreat, I was naive to think that homelessness wasn’t as great of an issue in Australia. In Melbourne. In saying this, of course I knew our home was not immune to homelessness – no one is.

Before the retreat I also thought homelessness was the result of alcohol or drug abuse. I was wrong – my naivety had gotten the best of me. Statistically most of the time people become homeless due to family circumstances (i.e. domestic violence, abusive relationships or mental health issues.)

Subconsciously I feel that I refused to believe the situation people like us were in. The extreme inequalities they faced daily, the lack of acceptance they experienced, all things that made their current situation worse.

Whilst five minutes into the retreat I counted two homeless people, by the end of the retreat I counted over 27 homeless people all in at least a 15-kilometre radius. Instantly, I wanted to give, I wanted to provide, I wanted to help. On the retreat, not only were we encouraged to do so, not only were we encouraged to sympathise, we were taught to empathise.

Even though my intentions to sympathise for these people were good, they could have been better.

You see there is a great difference between sympathising with someone and empathising with someone. To sympathise is to help or support someone. But to empathise, is to not only sympathise with them, but to sit down and listen to those who crave simply human connection – to truly put yourself in their shoes. To experience what they do daily even if it’s only for five minutes. To empathise is to provide your company and give it to someone, to be there for them.

On the retreat, I learnt this difference – the difference that changed my experience and the relationship I shared with multiple people who live their lives on the streets.

On the second day, I met a man named Mark, who came up to me asking for some spare change. Not only was he polite, asking if he could please have spare change – but he asked for spare change, as if he did not want to take away anything that might want to prevent me from anything in life. The generosity that radiated off of him was incredible, even though a week prior to our meeting, the day before his birthday; his bag was stolen. His phone, which wasn’t very good apparently, was also stolen. A phone that contained photos and the phone numbers of his family.

The retreat not only allowed me to come to terms with the reality of homelessness but secured the dramatic difference that separates sympathy and empathy. The specific difference that I know I’ll happily use for the rest of my life.  

Claire Price

 

Academy Conference

On 18 May, a group of high achieving year 12 students were given the opportunity to attend the Academy Conference at Camberwell Grammar. Aimed at curious and determined students, the conference allowed for high level thinking and deep engagement amongst like-minded individuals.

The day commenced with an analysis of the fundamental principles that form our society. Julie Arliss, a well-known international educator, commented on our modern-day society deviating from truth and logic, and our communal tendency to focus on emotion instead. Participating in the lecture allowed students to practice differentiating the truth from falsehood in varying circumstances­­­­ and view the English language in a new light. There was also a chance to engage in a morally challenging debate regarding the ethics of white lies. Furthermore, by contrasting the concepts of mind and matter, Julie exposed students to the beliefs regarding life beyond death using an interfaith perception.

Jeffrey Hodges, an Olympic performance consultant, also discussed the key to a successful mindset and the importance of aligning our thoughts with our ambitions. He emphasised the significance of identifying your skill set and using it to your advantage, which would ultimately lead to success. To conclude the day, students witnessed the divergence between physics and music. As Dr Mark Lewney performed on his electric guitar, he provided an explanation to the nature of sound waves in a simplistic and intriguing manner.

Overall, there was a plethora of content to be learned; but, it proved to be beneficial and eye-opening for our students.

Mary Evangelista and Adam Craig

 

Religious Education News 

A name is important. We believe in a God who knows our name, and calls us to assist in the creation of a world liberated from suffering and all that stops us from being fully human and fully alive, capable and giving to others near and far. Theologians call this place the Kingdom of God, which is present now and unfolding, and is highlighted through the Catholic Social Teaching principle of human dignity. I was reminded of the type of community we are during an interaction with a student, who did not want to share his name with me in the school yard. The conversation that followed helped us to break open the type of community we want to be – open, honest, genuine, created for engagement in learning, in an atmosphere of unconditional respect and trust. On the flipside the conversation about what our community life would be like if names weren’t important was also illuminating. The student was able to articulate that respect was at the heart of human relationships, and that this was a very important aspect of ongoing school life.

Our students on the Youth Ministry Retreat last week put this all in perspective. After input on the difference between sympathy and empathy, students then made an effort not to pass the homeless as we walked the Melbourne city streets. They sat with, talked with, and on occasions bought blankets, towels and hot food for them. On the night walk we observed the contrasts of Melbourne on the banks of the Yarra river – on one side Crown Casino, on the other people setting up camp under the freeway bridge. On this retreat, students were inspiring in their responses to the invitation to practice empathy.

In the days following Pentecost let us pray that all of us can share unconditional respect in our interactions with our children as they reflect on and live out the invitation to live in God’s Spirit.

 

Pentecost Prayer: 

Just as no fire can burn without oxygen, our faithful commitment cannot do without prayer. 
So let us pray for the many needs in our world. 
As we pray we give oxygen to the blazing eagerness of God’s Spirit.

We pray that our community may continue to inspire others and 
speak words of encouragement and help to our fellow human beings, 
to move and witness the friendship of God who lives in our hearts.

We pray for all people who are in a period of darkness in their lives, 
so they discover the flame of hope through a listening ear, a helping hand, 
just as the apostles were no longer afraid but full of confidence in the midst of God’s spirit.

We pray for our young people and for all concerned with their upbringing and guidance
that they do not lose faith in their potential, 
even though it sometimes seems impossible to succeed, 
may they continue building their life purpose. 
Be fire for them, Father.

We pray for all who are committed  to continue to spread the Gospel, especially our priests,
that they may experience the support and appreciation of enthusiastic parishioners 
as they share their love for Christ and the witness of God’s Spirit in this world.

You are the Light in our world, God, 
You are the oil through which our lamp remains burning. 
So stay with us, even in difficult times.
Help us, and encourage us, through Your Spirit, 
today and all the days of our lives, Amen.

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