Principal's report

1 December 2016

christmas

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Blessings for a joyful and peaceful Christmas

Endings are interesting, drawing out both the joy and sadness of our lives, as we look back on the people and events that have influenced us.  For many of us, the end of the year does not yet feel like calming times but, hopefully, in the coming weeks you, your family and friends can enjoy time together in some new ways, refreshing and renewing one another with your company. 

Thank you for your support and encouragement of the school this year. I appreciate all each of you have contributed to the life of our common ACK family through your presence, voice and actions. Your care of our staff has once again been outstanding, and I deeply thank you for the times you have forgiven us when things have not worked out as well as they might.  We are a large community, and as we respond to the increasing academic and emotional needs of our students, the growing pains of change can sometimes lead to bumpy experiences. As you know, in 2017 we will implement some new "ways of being" which our experience tells us will help smooth the way for the development of an educational community that even more so provides for our young peoples’ growing needs. We look forward to sharing these times with you.

Blessings to you and your family this Christmas. May that amazing event in Bethlehem so many years ago touch your heart and renew your sense of wonder, joy and awe. May the beginning of 2017 find you resilient and renewed, ready to embrace all the good things our loving God has in store for us. Have a safe and happy break, and we look forward to seeing you again in late January.

Some farewells

At the end of 2016, we say farewell to teaching staff who are taking up positions elsewhere (interestingly, this is the smallest change-over of teaching staff the school has had in over five years): Liz Conway (Marist College, Bendigo), Denis McKinnon (St Kevin’s College, Toorak), Helen Campbell (Sacred Heart College, Kyneton), Sarah Lipman (Hazel Glenn College), Anna Liggeri (Marymede College, South Morang), Steven Davis (PEGS), Nigel Engel (Seymour College), Matt Johnson (Simmonds College), Matt Lillyst (Musswellbrook College), Nick Cootes (Our Lady’s Primary School, Craigieburn), Ben Terrell (Monivae College, Hamilton) & Meg Bryar (Northern Beaches Christian College).  Rita Mouchacca's and Courtnee Doering's contracts conclude while Peter Siebel, Bernice Galligan and Andrew Brown are moving on to new adventures.

The allied staff we are farewelling are: Carol Fisher and Michelle Jones (Marymede College), Sarah Crozier (own business) and Lyn Crowder (retiring).  We wish  these wonderful people well in the next phase of their lives, and look forward to hearing of their triumphs and joys in the years to come. Maureen Kurzman and Hannah Monagle are heading off on leave for 2017. We wish Hannah all the best for the birth of her child in January.

Fortunately we could begin advertising for new staff early this year, and have brought together a fabulous group of people to continue the good work of Assumption College: Mark Williamson (Deputy Principal – Wellbeing, from Padua College), Sasha Willlman (a former staff member and Senior Leader at Hume Anglican Grammar), Kerrin Smith (House Leader/ICT, St Joseph’s College), Darren Nicholl (Design Technology – Wood, Overnewton College), Madeline Laming (English, Victoria University), Anna Dohler (English, Salesian College, Sunbury), Rory O’Hagen (Business, Hume Anglican Grammar), Gordon Schroeder (English, Glenvale School), Jane Morriss (Design Technology – food, Marymede College), Alexandra Rokas (Visual Art, Marymede College), Gaia Milanesi (Italian, Craigieburn PS), Matthew Jon (PE/Maths, Maranatha Christian School), Paul Sartori (Sport and Rec/VCAL, St Joseph’s North Melbourne). 

Allied staff we are welcoming: Stacey McCarthy (Boarding, Rockhampton Grammar School), Simone Carrafa (Learning Support Officer, Jacana School), Cynthia Jardine (Marlhes Manager, APT College) and Michelle Slater (Arts Technician, practising artist). There are a couple more appointments being finalised this week, and we’ll introduce those people at the beginning of next year.

The summer break

While many at the school take a well-earned break, some of our staff will be pressing on, as usual, over summer to prepare the school for a new year.  We have major renovations going on, especially in the Kenneth, Upper and Lower William wings, as well as in staff work areas.  These spaces are well overdue for a "once-over" and will look quite different when our students and staff return in late January. As well, the new tennis/netball courts will be finished, and some significant utilities works will be completed near the Anderson Pavilion.  These are to prepare for the building of a house for the Director of Boarding and any other new buildings in that area.  There will also be new installations at the front of the school to improve our directional signage – this will be a staged process throughout the school in coming years. We thank the staff who have overseen the preparations for these works, especially Mr Des Langdon and the maintenance team, with the support of our Business Managers Jenny Buckingham and Joe Feery.  We are indeed fortunate to have the people and resources to ensure that our students continue to access fantastic learning spaces.

Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel

The retelling of the story of the birth of Jesus touches different corners of our hearts at different times in our lives.  In our churches, we will be reminded of how unifying the birth of a child can be. Gathered around the crib of a newborn, we can (and do) all gaze in wonder and hope for the new life before us, and join in common goodwill that this small, helpless person’s life will be one of blessings and joy, for themselves and others. Hearing the Christmas story reminds us that Jesus’ birth brought the promise of hope and wholeness to another people at another time, and has done so countless times again throughout Christian history. In our time, the same story of his birth unites people around the world: unites people gathered in prayer, unites families around the table, unites many countries and leaders around the acknowledgement of our shared humanity. It reminds us that God is at work in our lives in surprising ways, and that present in each of us, God is always trying to bring to birth love, justice and peace in each of our hearts.

Loving God, this Christmas, let us be attuned to the good things coming to birth in our hearts. Let us feed and nourish our best selves, so that like the Christ-child, we can be people who bring hope to others. May our world be peaceful and joyful together, knowing that what unites us is so much more bountiful than our differences. At this time, more than any other, may we be welcoming of the stranger, kind to the weak and generous towards the needy. Amen.

Peace and blessings,

Kate Fogarty