By now, I hope, all have been given access to the news that I have been appointed as Principal of St. Peter’s College commencing the beginning of Term 3. I feel both humbled and extremely excited by the prospect of leading what I believe to be a first class Catholic secondary college.
A successful American businessman, Donald Bren once stated, “Education is the finest gift an individual can give a young person.” There is a lot to like about this quote and it is my firm belief that there is significant privilege attached to being a teacher in this context. As an educational leader I feel honoured to be placed in a situation where I will be able to work side by side with staff, students and parents in ensuring St. Peter’s College is the place where student dreams are fulfilled and where all are working together to reach their full potential. St. Peter’s College strives to develop the whole person. The academic, the spiritual, the social-emotional and the physical. It is in this context that I acknowledge the significant emphasis and the important role the Catholic and Petrine charism and ethos plays in identifying who we are as a Catholic secondary college and in influencing how our students are shaped.
Thomas Groome, a significant theologian once stated: “To be faithful to it’s identity a Catholic school would have to function as a life-giving community that reflects and teaches profound respect for everyone and that promotes people’s rights as neighbour and their responsibilities for neighbour”.
This must be driven and led by the leadership of the school and be both witnessed and actioned in communion with staff, students and parents. Groome also talks about the guiding vision of Catholic education as a “ministry of the Church” which should always be about the reign of God, where God inspires a fullness of life, a commitment to love and the stewardship of creation.
Values that are espoused through this vision are such things as: a positive outlook on life and humankind. An understanding of the sacredness of life. A commitment to community. Leading people to wisdom and responsibility. A commitment to justice for all. A living spirituality that is lived each day in the way we interact with each other and the world, and, a no boundaries or limitations approach to welcoming and reaching out to the marginalized. These are actionable in our school community where we have an underlying commitment to the dignity and respect afforded to each and every individual we come in contact with and where faith is the cornerstone of our existence.
Faith needs to be nourished, by eucharist, by living and working with and for a community, by striving to be a better person in all interactions with others. The development of one’s faith is a journey. I will savour the opportunity to work with our staff and students providing them opportunities to nourish their faith.
Core business for St. Peter’s College is learning. For students, running through St. Peter’s gates to commence their secondary school education is our want. More significantly though we hope students will be walking out of those same gates at a much slower rate at the end of Year 12 with confidence, a sense of purpose and positivity about the next chapter in their lives. At St. Peter’s College we will strive for all students to feel a keen sense of belonging to a community, where a sense of hope and purpose permeates all student thoughts, actions and efforts, and students gain a skill-set to contribute positively to society.
St. Peter’s College is and will continue to be recognised as the school which caters for and provides opportunities for all to flourish. It strives to cater for the high-achieving student, for those with special talents, those with particular needs and those who wish to pursue a vocational pathway. Students are, and will continue to be, challenged to learn in a stimulating and dynamic learning environment which features opportunities for collaboration, independent inquiry learning, critical thinking and problem-solving. We work towards ensuring a St. Peter’s College student is an engaged and successful learner and where staff are encouraged to contribute, as partners, in the education of the whole person.
We will continue to challenge students to be creative and critical learners who act with courage within the Gospel tradition. When our Year 12 students graduate, we will anticipate our young to be people:
- of hope
- inspired by the teachings of Jesus
- constantly searching within their own faith journey
- of confidence in their interactions with others
- of resilience and positivity
- able to make a positive contribution to the world
- who possess self-discipline and who are adaptable to change
- able to think critically
- who are literate and numerate
- striving for personal excellence
- prepared for their future pathways
- appreciative of individual differences, and
- passionate in wanting to make a difference
I look forward to working with you all, staff, students and parents as together we strive to provide an outstanding Catholic education for all.