As we enter Autumn and the second month of the term, it is timely to reflect on some of the happenings so far:
- 1511 students have been engaged in learning across both campuses
- Year 7 Information Evenings have been conducted and were well attended by the parent body.
- The House Swimming Carnival was well organised, had a high amount of student participation particularly in Years 7 & 8 and resulted in a win to Nolan house.
- Our Opening Assembly presented the students with some great models from the VCE class of 2019.
- Years 7 & 9 Camps have taken place
- A highly successful Year 7 Welcome Dinner has been held by the Parents and Friends Association with over 500 people in attendance
- Parent feedback on the transition of our new students has been most positive…
All of these activities take planning and preparation to ensure that they are successful events. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Penola community to thank the Parents and Friends for their efforts and ensuring the success of the Year 7 Welcome Dinner on Friday 28 February.
I would also like to thank the staff who have been extremely diligent and generous with their own time to enable the many events listed above to take place. Without the support of staff, these activities simply would not take place so I thank staff most sincerely for their efforts.
Cancellation of LOTE Tours to France and Italy
Unfortunately, with the Coronavirus emerging in each of these countries we have made the difficult decision to cancel these tours in the interests of the wellbeing and safety of the students and staff. After consultation with the Principals of the other 2 schools involved, communicating with our respective Sister schools in Italy and France and closely monitoring the warnings from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Tourism we have determined that risk of travel to Italy and France is simply too great. We had an information evening on Tuesday March 3 to discuss the ramifications of the cancellation directly with the families involved. I understand that this decision has caused considerable angst for the families involved but the COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) is an unprecedented event, which has had implications worldwide.
Beginning of Lent
The church season of lent began last week and is a time of preparation for Easter, the key event of Christianity. Last Wednesday saw all of our students involved in either our beginning of year mass or liturgy at the Year 7 camp, which included the distribution of ashes as part of our Catholic ritual on Ash Wednesday. These liturgies took place at the Broadmeadows campus as well as the Year 7 Camp at Mt Eliza. Each person has a sign of the cross marked on his or her forehead and, in doing so; we are taking part in a tradition that reaches back thousands of years. The ashes are an ancient symbol of repentance and purification. They are the outward sign of our inner intention to set aside the things that keep us from God and try to be better people.
Beginning of Year Mass
We celebrated our beginning of year mass on Wednesday 26 February with both campuses coming together. Once again, I was impressed with the reverence that our students displayed throughout the mass. Even if some students do not believe themselves, they recognise that it is important to others within our community. The mass is another way of reinforcing our Catholic identity. Thanks to the Faith and Mission team for organising the Opening Mass. It also happened to be Ash Wednesday so distribution of the Ashes took place as well. A liturgy was held at the Year 7 camp for the distribution of Ashes as well.
The celebration of the Eucharist is what unites us as a Catholic community and reinforces to us, within a sacramental way, our identity as a Catholic school. We have very few opportunities to pray together as an entire community and this mass allows us to give thanks for all our blessings. Any time we have an opportunity to gather together as a faith community it not only builds our community but also reinforces our culture.
2021 Year 7 Enrolments
As I hope you are all aware, 2021 Year 7 Enrolments closed on Friday 17 August of last year. We have had an additional 91 enrolments since the closing date. If there are any current families with children in Grade Six who are intending to enrol them at Penola in 2021, I would ask that you make contact with Ms Jessica Alvarez at the College as soon as possible. I would be saddened for one of our current families to miss out on a place due to the fact that they have not submitted an enrolment application. I have asked Principals of our feeder Parish Primary schools to check that all of their families who indicated that they were applying for a position at Penola have indeed applied. I ask our current families to do the same as a matter of priority.
Parent Teacher Student Meet and Greet Sessions
The first of our Parent Teacher Student Meet and Greet sessions took place last Thursday 27 February on the Broadmeadows campus. This session was an opportunity for parents to meet with the subject teachers of your sons and daughters to let them know relevant information about your child/children. I was delighted with the number of parents who came to this night and hope that it was a productive night for all parents who attended. We continue to engage more parents and students in the learning process with the aim of further improving student outcomes. There were many conversations about learning, setting realistic goals for the year and future pathway options.
As many of you would be aware, we have provided vodcasts on the parent login page on MyPenola. The intention was to reduce the number of nights that parents had to come out whilst relaying specific year level information for parents. I would be interested to hear from parents as to whether this was successful from your point of view. These presentations are available on the respective Year Level pages on MyPenola for those who were unable to attend.
AJASS Student Leadership Conference
Our 2020 College Captains, Taniya Senanayake and Ellie Tektonopoulos have spent 5 days in Kincumber, NSW with student leaders from 26 other Josephite secondary schools. These schools came from all around Australia and include two NZ Josephite schools from Christchurch and Wanganui. They were accompanied by Mr John Paul for the annual JJAMM (Julian, Joseph and Mary MacKillop) Student Leadership Conference. The conference allowed our College Captains to gain a better understanding of the Josephite charism and workshop leadership ideas for implementation in 2020.
St Patrick’s Day Mass
I will take our College Captains into St Patrick’s Cathedral to represent the College at the Catholic Education week Opening Mass on Tuesday 17 March.
College Board Vacancies
After six years of service to our College Board and community, Mrs Mary Anastasopoulos, Mrs Carmen Alongi and Mrs Marija Cakuran are required according to the constitution to step down from the College Board. First and foremost, I would like to thank each of these ladies for their efforts throughout this time and their support of me as College Principal and our Board throughout the past six years. Mr Chris Lang has also stepped down from the Board after all of his children having finished at the school. As a result, we have four vacancies on our College Board.
I am calling for nominations for four representatives from the Parent body to join our Board for 2020-2021. Nominations close on Thursday 6 March at 4.00p.m. If there is more than four nominations then an election will be held to determine the representatives. If you are interested in finding out more about what it entails, your responsibility as a Board member and the time commitment required then please contact me via email email@example.com
The College Board meets eight times this year, generally on the third Wednesday of the month during term time. If you have, any other questions do not hesitate in contacting me. I have attached a copy of the nomination form for the College Board vacancy and any interested parents are requested to email a completed nomination form to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you to those parents who have already submitted applications for these Board vacancies.
New President of the Canonical Administrators
Fr Dishan Candappa, Parish Priest at the Good Shepherd Parish in Gladstone Park and Greenvale, has been elected as the incoming President of the canonical Administrators. I thank him in advance for his commitment to the Penola Catholic College community and his involvement with our College Board, Finance Committee and Board Executive Committee.
I would like to publically thank, our outgoing President of the canonical Administrators, Fr Thien, for his personal support of me, in my role as Principal of Penola Catholic College. I would also like to thank him for his support of the Penola Catholic community over the past two and a half years in this role.
Prayer for Lent
Lent is a time to pray, fast and do good deeds. It is also a time to change our ways and to
turn to God for forgiveness. The Church invites all to pray traditional prayers such as The Confiteor, the Act of Contrition and the Our Father as these are prayers of acknowledgment of our sins and prayers, asking for forgiveness. Each time Mass is celebrated, those gathered ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness in the Penitential Act.
The Church also offers the sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation: a sacrament of healing and forgiveness. It is a celebration of God’s love and mercy. In this sacrament, Catholics are invited to confess their sins and receive forgiveness from a priest who is God’s representative.
Lent is an appropriate time for celebrating the Sacrament of Penance. The following is an extract taken from Pope Francis when talking about lent.
Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
Fast from worries and have trust in God.
Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.