Encore… Encore… Encore!

Have you ever heard a song on the radio and immediately experienced a flood of memories from the past? On Saturday as I was driving to school to watch our students play sport, I heard the Billy Thorpe classic It’s almost summer. The song made the charts in 1975 and whilst it wasn’t a huge chart-topper at the time, it remains one of Thorpe’s greatest hits. The memories I have of that time are of the Port Noarlunga Beach and doing my training with PNSLSC, playing tennis for Christies Beach at the courts at Port Noarlunga, now of course the car park, as a family going to the beach on Sundays and having KFC as a special treat. I am definitely a summer person and can’t wait for the weather to fine up. There is something about the sea or water that brings happiness and serenity to the soul. Nowadays when the weather is fine you will find me walking along the beach enjoying the sunshine, the sea breeze and those moments to ponder and reflect on.

Last Friday at our academic assembly we acknowledged the outstanding achievements of students receiving straight As in their Semester 1 reports. To achieve straight As in each of your subjects is tremendous. To achieve straight As for achievement and effort is even more outstanding and I congratulate all our students. At the assembly, I shared my own experience of school after finding my report card the night before. I read the comments that the teachers wrote about me such as; “Despite having difficulty with English, Paul has always tried his best and he should see an improvement in the near future”. In Year 9, I received one A grade for French. In my final year I was a ‘middle of the range’ student. I was able to graduate from school to become a teacher and the rest is history. My point is that not everyone can achieve outstanding results – I certainly couldn’t but it didn’t stop me from always doing my best. Indeed, that has been a focus for all my endeavours in life that you can succeed in anything with the right determination and commitment. I am still quite astonished how I could possibly have achieved the highest possible credential in a PhD, whilst working full time in this job. On reflection, it was sheer determination and doing my very best to make it happen. I didn’t have an ATAR over 90, they didn’t have these measures then, but I feel I have been able to succeed and make the most of life and my career. One parent who came to the assembly to see his daughter receive an award emailed me to say that my speech was the perfect balance between celebrating individual students’ success and recognising that people achieve in many different ways and at different times.

I was very fortunate to attend the final performance of Encore, the Year 12 drama production. It was one of those very special moments when you can be witness to a gifted cast who performed a moving story of the struggles and challenges of dealing with childhood cancer. Mr Brady Lloyd is just amazing, having specifically written this play for this group of Year 12 students, with each student being cast to unfold their very special gift of drama. Congratulations to the cast of Encore and our very talented Mr Brady Lloyd.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, a Catholic secondary co-educational school (7-12) in the southern region of Adelaide with a total of 1120 students and 140 staff. Marcellin is a campus of Cardijn College. It provides students in Years 10 to 12 with SACE, training and apprenticeships. It has an enrolment of over 155 students and 30 staff. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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