20 October 2016
Dear ACK community,
For our year 12s, this is an exciting and an emotionally tumultuous time. Can you remember your own graduation? There’s the unknown horizons, the heightened sense of community and friendship, the limitless possibilities of the future, the tempering of the impending exams, and the busyness of just making it all fit together. As we come into these final days with our graduating students, we are conscious that each has a unique story. We will celebrate them collectively and individually, but only you, their parents, guardians and close friends, will have a real sense of what this time means to them.
Certainly, the final days of school are fun and exciting. For the last time, there is the security of the routine and people of Assumption: last classes, last locker visits, last giggles in the corridor, last Ref order, last time seeing all your favourite people in their lovely predictable places doing their lovely predictable things. The uncertainty of what the future holds can be mind-bending and scary, and as we, the rest of the school community say goodbye, we know that it is not a final farewell. There will be many things that draw us together in the years to come, and we look forward to seeing life unfold in a myriad of different ways for these outstanding young people. We hope to share their triumphs and their challenges and, most of all, to celebrate all the wonderful things that make a fulfilling life, hoping that our small contribution to their flourishing has been positive and helpful.
For parents and guardians of year 12 students, this is also an exciting and challenging time. We’ve had many parents through the school in recent weeks, talking about grouchy, stressed-out teens, disrupted family schedules and concerns about how the coming weeks will play out. To each of them, we bring the comfort of knowing that you are not alone. It’s normal for your home life to shift a little during these important days, and for your own emotions to be at heightened levels. A friend of mine recently reminded me of "the gift of unexpected tears" and I encourage you, as we will do here, to embrace the emotions of overwhelming joy and fear and doubt and pride with every piece of your heart, and share it with confidence. You are in our thoughts and prayers, and the ACK family is always at its strongest when it’s walking with those who need a bit of TLC.
So, good luck to everyone for the coming celebrations and exams. We had a beautiful celebration with the VCAL students and parents this week, acknowledging their amazing achievements this year, and the profoundly lovely young people they have grown to become. (Click on the pictures below of the night). So often, because of their learning program, the VCAL students are the public face of the school, and this group have represented us with enthusiasm and grace. We thank them and wish them well in whatever the future holds. Tomorrow evening, the whole year 12 family, students, staff and parents will gather for our final celebration Mass and dinner together. It is the final time this community will be together, and it is always a special time.
Please keep all families experiencing "the year 12 phenomenon" in your prayers this coming week. Exams begin soon, and the school will be quieter while they take place.We ask for your patience as we direct our attention and energies to this special group of people for a short period, so that they may go out into the world with the highest level of support and care.
The ABC has been running a show directed at dad’s called Man Up. It looks at the life of teenage boys, and the societal expectations that are shaping the way they face the world. It has some great insights for how to help your son grow into a warm, engaging, proud and productive young man, and does so in a humorous and interesting manner.I strongly recommend that all parents, but especially our dads, track it down on ABC iview and have a look. In related news, this year, ACK will be celebrating White Ribbon Day, and joining with the Shire to promote non-violent relationships, and we’ll be inviting our dads to get involved…stay tuned.
Thomas Merton is one of the great mystics of our tradition. His wisdom was in his ordinariness. Oftentimes, his writings spoke of the confusion that occurs in the junctures of life – the times of change or development. At this significant time of change for our year 12 students and their parents, his heartfelt prayers console us, and remind us that our life’s journey is one of ever seeking to grow and align ourselves more closely with all that is good, just and loving:
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me, I can not know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you, and I hope that I have that desire in all that I do. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire, and I know that if I do, you will lead me to the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will always trust you, even though I might seem to be lost. I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me ... alone”. Amen.
Peace and blessings,