As we approach the end of the 2018 school year, there is much to celebrate and much to be grateful for.
I have attended over 20 Campus assemblies this year and each time I am moved by the poise, talent and determination of so many students who either lead elements of the assembly or are recognised within it.
I am always impressed by the sense of community the students demonstrate. They clearly feel that they belong in our school. And they do.
But, the truth is that not all students get to speak at and assembly, or win an award, or perform, or are fully recognised.
For that reason, I have asked the Heads of Campus to look at our Courage and Courtesy program to make sure it is truly attuned to life at St Francis Xavier College as it is today.
It isn’t about giving everyone a prize because that is false. It is, however, about making we don’t miss anyone, and that we are valuing the right things.
It is the same with leadership. Everyone has a role, we need to be role models to each other, but not everyone gets to wear a badge. That’s life.
But everyone belongs, and everyone can be part of making the College an even better place for our young people.
As I said, what is on display at assemblies is very impressive. We have some amazing students in our community. Every day they go about their business and contribute so much to building our College up.
However, there are always going to be people among us who need more help. Not everyone has the same talents, or learns and develops at the same pace. In the classroom, in the yard, on the sporting fields, in choirs/bands/ensembles we see this too.
In this regard I am grateful for the work done by our counselors, our Learning Enhancement Team, our Pastoral Associates, our Heads of House and the many different leaders of learning.
We do not shy away from trying to help a young person grow just because they have complex needs or require more effort than some. If that was the case we would not be holding true to the example of our patron, St Francis Xavier, who never baulked at a challenge.
Instead, we recognise that each young person will make mistakes along the way, some minor and some more significant. Some will make their mistakes quietly and in private, some will have their errors play out on the public stage. But, we have faith in their ability to grow into positive contributors to our world if they and we can work together.
What makes a school great is not that it selects the best young people, but that it draws their best out of them. That is especially the mission of schools in Australia. We have an obligation to develop our young people for the benefit of the world, honouring the gifts given by our God and nurtured by their families.
As Principal, I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many staff and leaders who understand this, who are committed to helping your sons and daughters become fine people – the best versions of themselves.
I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many staff who are prepared to go the extra mile for them and look to help them grow. All of them.
2019 will be a year when we focus particularly on the challenge, the professional task, of helping our young people grow.