3 August 2017
Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends of Assumption,
Family violence is a societal tragedy that we have become acutely aware of in recent years, and schools play a vital role in preventing such violence by providing information and strategies to young people as their attitudes and behaviours are forming. In adolescents, we see the antecedents of family violence play out in a variety of ways, including the use of disrespectful language, the display of strong emotions through physical means, and attitudes of superiority that produce behaviours that can be covertly and overtly cruel.
Assumption College is pleased to announce that we are joining the Victorian Government’s Respectful Relationships coalition. In coming months we will be auditing and planning our programs for support and information sharing in this space, including information for parents. With our strong wellbeing team, the college's intervention strategies are very comprehensive, but there is considerable work to be done with our adolescents around the promotion of respectful relationships, especially between men and women, including the teaching of the skills and knowledge to confront disrespectful relationships appropriately and safely, and the development of skills for building a respectful community that supports families to grow in harmony. Some of our students' parents work in community organisations tackling family violence, and I invite any of you who would like to contribute your professional knowledge and skills to assisting the school to engage with this important issue to contact me in coming weeks.
Celebrating all that is good
We’ve been doing some research on the best ways that schools communicate with their families. And we've discovered that our school Facebook page has more "followers" than most other schools (in fact we struggled to find one with more). Looking back over the last few days of posts, the stream of information flowing through that site is quite remarkable. It celebrates student work and achievement, showcases great initiatives, and informs our community about coming events. We can justifiably feel proud of our community that such a site can exist as a service to us all, without any of the negativity that other schools and organisations experience. Thanks to all those who contribute to and curate our site. We know that not all of our community use Facebook, but know that it is a vital cog in the wheel that keeps our school community ticking.
In saying that, we’re also looking for new ways of helping parents and friends to easily access information about the school.
On August 15, we celebrate the feast of The Assumption. This church feast acknowledges the special place of Mary in our Christian story, and commemorates the belief that she was "assumed" [taken up] body and soul into heaven. Of course, it is also our special annual day of celebrating all the wonderful things about our school. We begin the day with Mass in the Gonzales Centre at 9.15am. Families are welcome to attend (although please be early because seats are usually at a premium). Following Mass we enjoy time together at the student-led fete, which raises money for our sister school in Timor-Leste. We encourage all students to give generously as they are enjoying the activities. After lunch we gather again in the Gonz for the annual Assumption’s Got Talent concert...one of everyone’s favourite events of the year!
On Friday, August 18 we welcome the staff and students from Sacred Heart College, Adelaide for the annual exchange. On Friday evening we host the netball match in the Gonz, and on Saturday evening there is Mass (6pm), the debating competition and battle of the bands in the St Pat's stadium. Sunday is an action-packed day of sport beginning at 9am. Families are welcome throughout and it’s always great to see our younger students along to support their senior peers. This is the 61st exchange so it is a significant tradition of importance for our community. The P & F will be running the barbecue and coffee van on Sunday and would appreciate any volunteers who can spend some time between 10am-2pm. No experience necessary, just come along!
We all want to be transfigured
It’s part of human nature that there are parts of ourselves that we wish we could change for the better. Certainly, this is often about our physical attributes but, as we age, we also become aware of the deeper parts of ourselves that we wish we could improve (our unwitting responses, our strong emotions, our bad habits, our guilty secrets, the times when we are not at our best). In this week’s Gospel, Jesus is transfigured right in front of the apostles! In his deep relationship with God, Jesus allows himself to be shaped into the image of God – loving, just and peace-filled.
How often do we resist allowing God to work to transfigure us? Sometimes it’s just easier to allow things to go on as they are, than to spend time in quiet contemplation with God, to envision the person we want to be in our deepest heart, and to plan to walk towards that version of ourselves, one step at a time, one day at a time.
Loving God, let us be courageous and committed enough to allow ourselves to be transfigured into your image. Give us the confidence to trust that the changes we make will lead us to greater peace and joy. Send people into our lives who will support us in this change, so that we might work with them to build your heaven on earth for all.
Peace and blessings