The great gift of Easter is HOPE

Over the last few days I have had the opportunity to think more deeply about life than I normally do at this very busy time of the year. When life is normal, I am fully engrossed in my work. I try to find quality time to spend with my family and downtime to calm the mind. How life with COVID-19 has changed this for all of us! Being locked up on the weekend, I struggled with being housebound – reading the paper from cover to cover, drinking numerous cups of coffee and watching TV. I think with horror what this might be like if I had to do this for 14 days.

In thinking this through, suddenly my priorities began to change. I don’t need lots of things such as holidays and travel – we can get by with what we have. We don’t need to go out all the time nor do we have to spend lots of money on groceries. Over the last two weekends, I have discovered how much I like cooking and making large quantities of Dutch chicken croquettes, Indonesian spring rolls and my favourite borlotti bean soup with smoked ham. Suddenly you discover that this becomes a joy and a great leveller in terms of a simple life. My wife Debra has just bought fleecy tracksuit material to make jumpers and pants for our granddaughter. The last time she did that would have been over 25 years ago when our children were young. I wonder what life is like for you. My thoughts go to playing board games at the kitchen table with the kids, the fun of monopoly and playing cards.

It certainly brings a sobering perspective to how lucky we are in South Australia. At this point the effect of the virus seems to be contained and hopefully the daily reported numbers continue to stay low. Yes, I have come to accept that life with restrictions will continue to be with us for a while, maybe more than six months the Prime Minister tells us. I am very grateful for what we have and who we are. I am continually amazed at the appreciative response by the Cardijn community for the dedicated work of our teachers and ESO staff. They have worked hard to respond to this pandemic in just under a month to change our whole teaching approach utilising technology. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that every student has learning continuity that is underpinned by quality and pastoral care. They are committed to making sure no student is left behind because of our remote learning. They are also deeply committed to our families, that they continue to feel that they belong to Cardijn, that we are there to support families when the COVID-19 circumstances have taken a toll on people’s jobs or hours of work. Thank you for sticking with us and please stay with us as we travel this uncertain path. #Together

At the end of this term we say farewell to several staff who have been instrumental in the life of the College. We farewell canteen staff Shirley Parfitt (Canteen Manager), Tania Bailey and Jane Painter. The canteen will be outsourced to an external provider as of next term, so we bring to a close 35 years of the canteen run by Cardijn staff and parent volunteers. We say thank you to Shirley, Tania and Jane for their outstanding commitment to our students and staff, the loving care they brought to the students as well as the nutritious food. We wish them well in their future endeavours. We say farewell to Shane Carter who was on a replacement contract this term. We wish Shane well in his next appointment. We farewell Huw Channing who has been appointed to a role at the Be You program with Headspace. Huw has a deep passion for wellbeing and he will be terrific in his new role. We will miss Huw in PE and Sport. Tess Snape leaves us this term for personal reasons after 17 years of teaching primarily in Drama and English. Tess has been instrumental in the establishment of the Drama club and will look back on many drama performances which have inspired young people in their lives. We wish Tess well in her future endeavours.

Lastly, we finish the term with Easter, the great Christian feast which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life. This is symbolised with the word HOPE, an essential condition that we are all holding onto in this current state of COVID-19. The hope that we can get through this safely, that we have a better future to look forward to and that we can be with our families and celebrate Easter with joy and peace.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, an R-12 co-educational Catholic school in the Marist tradition, deeply inspired by the method of College patron Joseph Cardijn with a foundation built on the three pillars of his teachings; to See, Judge and Act. Educating and inspiring students in the beautiful Southern Vales region of Adelaide since 1984, Cardijn has grown to encompass three schools, each with distinct offerings. Cardijn College Galilee at Aldinga offers Reception to Year 7, expanding to include Year 8 in 2022 and Year 9 in 2023. Cardijn College at Noarlunga Downs offers Years 7-12 and is renowned for academic excellence and a vibrant extra-curricular program. Cardijn College Marcellin at Christie Downs provides a wide variety of vocational education and training opportunities for students in Years 10 – 12 and beyond, with relationships that extend well into their careers. With a current enrolment of 1750 students and 240 staff, Cardijn College is an institution which strives to be a beacon of faith in the community, with students who have enormous influence and impact on both a local and global level. 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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