Make your vote count for our future!

Over the last few weeks we have seen horrific media reports and footage of the suffering in Ukraine. It seems so far away but also so close, broadcast into the living rooms of every Australian family. I understand the complexity of the situation, the history, and the politics behind this war, but how do you begin to understand the suffering of innocent civilians, the people of Ukraine, subjected to the most brutal violence by an aggressor army? Children, the elderly, women, men – no one is excluded. It’s a human tragedy of enormous proportions. At the same time, we have also witnessed the destruction and loss by so many Australians who live in the eastern states affected by widespread flooding. Our response, to stand in solidarity with Trinity College Lismore and support their recovery as part of our Marist family, is a wonderful reply by our Cardijn community! Thank you to the many supporters of our #TogetherForTrinity Appeal which has raised over $1880 in just over 24 hours. I know we will exceed our target of $2480 with three days to go.

On Saturday 15 September 1979, I was getting ready with my best mates to cast an early vote at the Christie Downs Primary School polling booths. It was the day that I was getting married and, what were the chances, I would bump into my bride-to-be and her best friends who were also at the polling booth? Was this a bad omen? The bride and groom are not supposed to see each other prior to the actual wedding ceremony! Well, it turned out not to be a bad omen for me nor my wife, as we continue to be happily married with an amazing family. However, on that day it was a bad day for the incumbent Government with the Labor Government and Premier Des Corcoran losing the election to the Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition, David Tonkin.

This weekend, South Australians will head to the polling booths to elect a Government that will lead our state for the next four years. I have always remained neutral in my stance on politics, but in the end, I have always looked at what the members who are standing in my electorate have to offer. All politics begins at the grassroots and the candidates who stand for election in your electorate are who you are voting for. Of course, this is considered in terms of the bigger picture of what both sides of politics have to offer for the future of our state. In terms of education, both sides of politics are very much line ball with their policies in supporting a school such as Cardijn College. What I want from both sides is a commitment that they will deliver what they promise without any adverse effect on the families in our community. In the end, it does come down to trust and making sure that my vote counts to make sure this school, community and state continue to grow and thrive.

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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