Principal's report

27 August 2015

ZaneDear Parents and Guardians,

Finding the words

At times like these it is nothing short of a privilege to lead a school community. Yes it is difficult and painful, but there is also tremendous beauty in watching people lean on and support each other with generous, heartfelt comfort and concern. While we see and feel brokenness, we also see and feel humanity at its most altruistic, and the school feels different for a time. Petty grievances are set aside, unimportant matters truly become peripheral and the simple inclination to hold the moment as sacred, and to be with and for others becomes our core heartspace.

Zane’s life, illness and death have transformed so many people. We have been touched by his charisma, his tenacity, his humour.  Even those who did not know him personally have taken meaning and encouragement from his story, reminded that every life is sacred and that grace comes to us in the most unusual of places.

This Saturday we will gather with his family to celebrate his life, and to draw strength from each other and from our faith. Like most funerals, Zane’s will be a mysterious mix of sadness, laughter and joy. In our faith tradition we allow the sadness to dwell in our hearts, but we do so knowing that death is not the end. We may be enveloped by grief, but we are not overcome by it, because our faith teaches us, through the life of Jesus, that death is not the end: light overcomes the darkness; good overcomes evil; Good Friday is always followed by Easter Sunday. And even though we might not understand it, we give thanks.

Giving thanks

Psychologists tells us that the ability to live gratefully is one of the best indicators of personal wellbeing. This week, of all weeks, there is so much to be thankful for:

  • I am thankful for our students, who have been able to give each other space and time to grieve in ways that are meaningful. For their generous hugs and quiet moments of presence to each other in profound and simple ways, we say thank you.
  •  I am thankful for our teaching staff and wellbeing team, who have, in their own grief, reached out to the adolescents in their care with a gentle and genuine commitment to their needs. They have supported each other, and generously given the more than was asked of them through these difficult days so that our youth might begin to find a way through their confusion and pain. We say thank you.
  • I am thankful for our allied staff, whose willingness to step in and support the management of each day was taken to a new level. Their unassuming and forward-thinking service of our community, has provided the time and space for others to care for your sons and daughters. We say thank you.

  • I am thankful for all those community members who offered kind words of support. If might not feel like much, but when all around is sadness, it is a real lift to know that others are thinking of us. We say thank you.

Zane’s funeral

Zane’s funeral is on Saturday at 11am in the Gonzales Centre. Students who are attending are asked to wear their school uniform. It is our strong recommendation that if your child is coming to the funeral, that they are accompanied by a parent to provide comfort and emotional guidance. Our staff who are attending are doing so as members of our community who are saying farewell to Zane, and are not expected to be ‘on duty’ for our students.

We have a number of volunteers assisting on the day, and, as you may know, we have asked our year 10 families to help with the morning tea by providing a plate. This can be dropped off to St Patrick’s Hall any time after 10am.

And we go on…

Many of you have been watching our Facebook page over the past few days. You would have noticed that in the midst of this challenging week, we have continued to report on the normal, important successes and interests of our students. For many of the students and adults in our community, a normal routine and the ability to keep their minds and hearts busy has been significant. Routine and tradition hold meaning for us and are important markers of our day and lives. At times like these, we are reminded of the unpredictability and vulnerability of life, and so our prayer today might simply be to thank God for routine and predictability, and to ask for the grace to enter into moments of disruption and chaos, knowing that God is present, and that, as St Julian of Nowrich so beautifully put it: ‘All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well’. Amen.

Peace and blessings,

Kate Fogarty