From the US election to the Pigeon in Adelaide

This past week has been a very interesting time with much of the media and world attention focussed on the US presidential election. I remember as a young boy in primary school learning all about the 50 states of America and their capital cities – I had to recite them from memory. Last week as I was watching the map of America on Fox News, with a sea of red and blue representing either Republican or Democrat states, it brought back memories of my childhood and questions about why was I learning this at school – American geography, really? Nonetheless, I was glued to the television watching the count and wondering what was going to happen. The US President is known as the leader of the free world and everyone across the globe is interested in this outcome. It will determine how the next four years will unfold. 2020 will be remembered in history as the year of the COVID-19 global pandemic but will also be known for the US presidential election. What I have witnessed is most disturbing as we see democracy challenged and people fundamentally divided. What we see is the divide of Team Trump and the Democrats, which has resulted in hate, violence, and a deep division in the psyche of the American people. We have also witnessed very poor leadership on the part of Team Trump. There is every right to bring matters to court regarding questions of the integrity of the voting process, but another to incite a narrative of fraud, a stolen election and being rigged. It is about every vote being counted.

In other news in our own city, people are responding to our new art installation in Rundle Mall. The Pigeon will become as famous as the two steel balls, better known as “The Mall’s Balls”, and become a reference point where people will meet. You might think why are we talking about a pigeon? Well, it cost the Adelaide City Council just over $170,000 and in these times, there may be some doubt about whether this is money well spent.

At Cardijn we saw a record number of middle school students enjoy coming together for their social event last Thursday, Year 8 students enjoyed their retreat experience led by our Youth Ministry Team, our first week of Year 12 exams was completed and tomorrow we celebrate our Year 11 End of Year liturgy. How good is it to be living in Adelaide, to be focussed on those things that bring grace and life to each day? Equally, we are thinking of the people of Victoria who are doing so well with nine straight days of no new COVID-19 cases reported and news that the borders might be open soon for us to travel again.

With just over six weeks until Christmas, arrangements are already being made for when the family will gather on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Plans are being discussed about the menu and who is doing what. How exciting, but in the meantime, there is still much to happen at school. Remembrance Day is this Wednesday, the Marcellin Campus Year 12 student graduation on Thursday and the Art and Music end of year celebration on Friday. Life is rich and full and let us treasure each moment as special.

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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