Stand up and be counted – a message for all students

This week I was privileged to attend the opening mass and liturgies at our Galilee and Cardijn campuses. On Tuesday, Mr Nick Wright and I were formally welcomed to the Cardijn College Galilee community and in a rich tradition of the school we were blessed with sand representing the earth we step on, water to cleanse our hearts and souls and the vine to nourish us in our roles as leaders of the community. During the homily, Fr Josy Sebastian asked the children if they could name the new boss of the school. A beautiful response came from one student who shouted “God”. Fr Josy replied: “Beautiful, yes so who is the second boss?” Another student shouted “Mr Goode” – he is the new physical education teacher and another shouted “Jesus”. I am so pleased to be part of this wonderful community at Aldinga and feel grateful to be walking alongside staff, students, and families to shape the future of this school.

At our Cardijn campus, I attended the Year 10/11 liturgy, the Year 8/9 liturgy and the Year 7/12 liturgy which focussed on our theme of the year “Breathe – The Spirit of Life”. Our senior student leaders Patrick, Michaela, Annie, and Dylan led all the liturgies together with our priest Fr Josy, Fr Prathap and Fr Dev. They shared their reflections on the readings and their hopes for the year. My key message at all three liturgies was focussed on an understanding that we are now part of a much bigger community which spans from Aldinga to Noarlunga Downs and Christie Downs. With a roll of over 1750 students and more than 200 staff we are a large endeavour in the Southern Vales of Adelaide. With this comes the responsibility of knowing that we represent our school and community well, to be true and active members of who we espouse to be as members of Cardijn College. We endeavour to make a real difference in our community so that we can thrive and be people who are hope-filled and who are prepared to make a difference in this world with courage and audacity.

I specifically focussed on the importance for students to have a strong voice about what we do and what we stand for. I was particularly taken by the importance of our world discussions on climate change and encouraged our students to be actively involved in knowing and understanding why it is so important for us to engage and voice our need to change and embrace measures that will slow global warming. I can honestly say that I will not see the end of this century, but my grandchildren and their children will. So stand up and be counted, do something for our precious earth, treasure God’s creation and be the stewards of our earth and it’s future.

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.

1 comment on “Stand up and be counted – a message for all students

  1. Paul . I loved the points you made in final paragraph that we have to stand up to make a difference at whatever levels where we have influence with friends, family , community, school or wider community . My 7 year old granddaughter asked if we could move to an area that had no Covid after four nights of nightmares . We have installed a special nightmare bin to put them out with the rubbish but empowering children to respond and not just put up with challenges thrown at them is a much more gift for them to see in the 22nd century


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