Dear Parents and Friends,
Prior to the school holidays, I attended the National Catholic Education Conference “Faith to Lead … Lead to Faith,” in Perth. Over three days, I had the opportunity to hear numerous renowned speakers presenting various approaches to leadership in the Catholic context. Chris Lowney, Chair, Catholic Health Initiatives USA, was one such speaker. He began his presentation with the words:
“In order to teach it is enough to know something. But to educate, one must be something. True education consists in giving oneself as a living model, an authentic lesson. This is what Jesus did.”
When speaking about leadership he stated that it is what we do with our status as a leader that makes a difference. The role of a leader is to point out the direction to go and then influence how that happens.
Chris then shared three early stories related to Pope Francis using the symbols of dirty laundry, dusty shoes and the church bell to exemplify some key messages about leadership.
As a leader in his community before becoming the Pope, Francis needed to reduce living costs. He allocated tasks to all within the community and he took on the job of doing the laundry. He told those he was leading that “we all need to sacrifice if we are to survive – so I will go first and do the laundry”. He was adamant that we are all here to deliver. Great leaders win the respect of teams and will sacrifice to service a mission greater than self.
His second example of true leadership was service - the need for leaders to serve all the people. He told the seminarians under his guardianship that they were to walk to the villages and meet and support all families. Each night he would stand at the gate when the seminarians returned home. He judged who was doing the work of God by how dusty their shoes were on their return. Those who had the most dust were those who truly “got out there amongst the people” and did the will of God
Pope Francis also used the Monastery bell as a reminder that we need to stop for five minutes throughout the day and reflect on “for what am I grateful?” From the hustle and bustle of our daily routines, we need to lift our horizons to the bigger purpose of life. These five minutes of reflection should focus on the last few hours of our day when we process and understand God’s presence in our behaviour. To grow as a person, it is important to focus on what’s going on within oneself. Great leaders create a habit of regular reflection throughout the day. This is not easy in the busyness of our lives in the 21st century; but as Chris reflected, this is not going to change – we need to get comfortable with the reality of being uncomfortable. A key characteristic of effective leadership is accepting the uncomfortable environment and be willing to lead anyway. Everyone is afraid at times, and can feel overwhelmed. Effective leaders accept that they do possess talent and wisdom and they need to honour that call and the confidence that others have placed in them. And as Catholic leaders, we are particularly privileged that our tradition has the potential to provide the much-needed wind at our leadership backs.
The school will be closed on Monday 1 August for a Professional Development Day. On this day, staff will attend a Professional activity in the city where we will be led through a History experience based around the Indigenous story and the settlement of Melbourne. For the first part of the day, we will participate in the Aboriginal Yarra Walk led by Dean Stewart and for the second part of the day, we will attend the Koorie Heritage Trust Resource Centre. This learning will support teachers to authentically work with students in this very important area of learning within the Australian Curriculum.
Thank you to all who came along to our Working Bee last Saturday. Unfortunately, attendance on this occasion was not high which was disappointing. Members of the MAD Team are continuing the work on the preparation of the base for our Junior mini Basketball court. This work is being done outside of designated Working Bees and the commitment of the MAD Team is highly valued and appreciated by the staff of St. Mary’s. It would be much appreciated if more families could come along to Working Bees to assist the work of the MAD Team and to share the load. Our next Working Bee will be held on Saturday 27 August.
Today all families will receive an invitation to a Parent Forum which will be held on Tuesday 2 August commencing at 2.45pm in the Parent Room (last room in the Languages and Arts Building – Double Storey building.) At this Forum, we will present our work so far in our School Review process and hear from you your thoughts and wishes for the future. Please come along if you are able.
At St. Mary’s, we are most fortunate in having onsite parking and facilities for drive though drop off/ pick up options. It is important that we are all vigilant in using these facilities to ensure the safety of all people. I once again remind you
• to slow down when entering the school grounds
• That students must only alight from a vehicle on the near side of each drop off zone. i.e. at the William Street facility, please exit via the left hand door of the car and if using the Oval facility, please exit via the right side of the car.
Our School Performance with all students participating will be held this Term. Due to numbers, it will run over two nights, these being Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 September. This year, families with surnames beginning with L- Z will perform on the Monday night and those beginning with A – K will perform on the Tuesday night. There may be some exceptions in-order to balance numbers. The Performance will be held in the George Wood Performing Arts Centre, Yarra Valley Grammar School Kalinda Road Ringwood. Further details will be conveyed to you shortly.
We will be celebrating Grandparents’ Day on Tuesday 26 July which is on the Feast of Ss Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, thus grandparents of Jesus. We will celebrate Mass at 9.15 am after which there will be morning tea. Classrooms will be open for grandparents to visit between 11.10am and 1.30pm. Please return the form which was sent home last week indicating who will be attending on the day and whether you are able to provide a plate of food for morning tea.
Please ensure that you have booked a time for the upcoming Student/Teacher/Parent meetings which will be held on Wednesday 27 July and Thursday 28 July. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss future learning in light of what has been achieved in Semester One. Online Bookings are open. To make a booking go to www.schoolinterviews.com.au and enter event code XTP4Y Meeting times will be as follows:
Wednesday 27 July Thursday 28 July
Prep – Yr. 2 2.30pm – 3.30pm Yr. 3 – Yr. 6 2.30pm – 3.30pm
Yr. P - Yr. 6 4.00pm – 5.30pm Yr. P – Yr. 6 4.00pm – 5.30pm
Yr. P – Yr. 6 6.00pm – 7.00pm