I am delighted to welcome all families and staff to our 2020 school year. It is a historic moment as we begin the first year of our decade and of course our Year 7 students officially begin their first year at high school. This year we welcome 257 Year 7 students and an additional 32 Year 8 students and a number of new students in other year levels.
Around this time 35 years ago, Cardijn College officially opened with 102 Year 8 students. I remember the day well as students and staff gathered in the library, very nervous but full of expectation with tremendous excitement and hope as to what the journey ahead would bring. That feeling is no different today as the new school year begins.
At our Marcellin campus, we welcome 26 new Year 10 students who begin their journey in a trade and vocational pathway. Cardijn College has grown today to a school with just over 1300 students on two campuses and provides an outstanding Catholic education for young people in the greater Southern Vales.
Across our nation, the excitement of a great start to the new year was marred by the devastating bushfires both in our state and in Victoria and NSW. We cannot imagine the pain and suffering by communities as they face the loss of life and loss of property and livelihood. We are also devastated by the loss of animal and plant life, something we have treasured in this great country of ours. We are in awe of our firefighters, their bravery and commitment, their ultimate sacrifice to save lives and property. We are in awe of our emergency service workers and the Australian Defence Force as we rally to assist our communities. As a nation we have come together to look after our “mates” to do what we can to support and alleviate as best as possible the suffering and pain of those affected. Here at Cardijn, I know the students and staff will rally to support the St Vincent de Paul Bushfire Appeal where 100% of donations will reach the neediest people affected by this disaster.
Our Marist Theme in 2020 is “One Wild and Precious Life.” Pope Francis challenged us not to keep giving ‘answers to questions that no one is asking anymore’ (Pope Francis, Medellin, Sept 2017). What are the questions, then, that people are asking? At a meeting recently with a group of Year 11 students, one student gave a simple yet somewhat surprising response to this question saying: ‘For me, it’s how can I live my life more meaningfully?’ What was most interesting about his response was the reaction he received from the other students who spontaneously smiled and nodded in agreement. Then, each student went on, one after another, to express in their own words how they too shared a desire to understand what this question meant for them. Our theme this year is a response to this desire and it is expressed in some ways in the closing line of Mary Oliver’s poem, ‘The Summer Day’: ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild and precious life?’
I am delighted to welcome new staff to Cardijn College and Marcellin Campus. Teaching staff joining the Cardijn Campus are Shane Carter, Caroline Cienciala, Ben Dray, Kenneth Fay, Michael Goode, Kara Hargreaves, Charlotte Hejka, Dylan Hicks, Matt Kempson, Christopher Lamont, Amey Lekkas, Rebecca Maio, Anthony Martin, Andrew Puccio, David Smith, Jarrad Strain, Michael Taylor and Georgia Zientara. Education support staff at the Cardijn campus are Emily McCarthy (Army Cadets) and Tyler Orr (Sports Academies). At our Marcellin Campus we welcome the following teaching staff: Sean Beath, Pete Chambers and Damian Fenoughty.
Congratulations also to staff who begin new leadership roles. On the Cardijn Campus: Charlotte Hejka – Director of Teaching and Learning, Ben Dray – Director of Students, Debbie Williams – Daily Organiser, Caroline Cienciala – Acting Curriculum Leader English and Literacy, Jarrad Strain – Curriculum Leader Mathematics and Innovation, Dylan Hicks – Curriculum Leader Health and PE, Anthony Martin –Sports Coordinator, Eleni Takianos – House Leader Mitchell House, Sean Lang – House Leader Lombard House, Matt Kempson – Acting Student Pathways Coordinator, Susan Watt – Careers Education Coordinator, Kate Thompson who picks up the additional responsibility of Acting Curriculum Leader Integrated Curriculum on top of her Year 7 Coordinator responsibilities and Amelia Cooper as Service Learning Coordinator. On the Marcellin Campus: Shaun Halliday – Coordinator of Students and Chanelle Santucci – Administration Coordinator.
I extend my best wishes to all families and look forward to meeting you at the information evenings in the next couple of weeks.