Principal's Blog - 15 March 2018

12 Mar 2018

Dear members of the Marcellin College family,

What are the keys to success at school? There is an overwhelming number of theories which abound on this topic from the traditional to the radical. Some suggest that it is all about pedagogy, the types of strategies, processes and theories designed to engage students in their learning in and outside the classroom. Others are centred on knowing the students as learners, focusing on data and other indicators of student success and potential. Many too speak of the importance of the physical environment in and around the classroom. Books have been written on appropriate colour, light and furniture in the classroom environment. Technology and its’ use in providing a tool for learning, communication and connection to knowledge bases is another medium which has received particular attention in the last couple of decades. The training and ongoing professional development of teachers is another vital component in our quest to support students to reach their academic potential. A broad range of programs and pathways both curricular and co-curricular is another factor which connects students to school and provides them with a sense of purpose and meaning as they look toward their future. It goes without saying that the building of strong appropriate relationships between teachers and students, based on mutual trust and respect is the bedrock on which many of these theories are built. These are all important influences in supporting students to achieve their best at school and they are all ones which I can say with confidence our staff are consistently and passionately engaged in developing at Marcellin.

There is another concept which holds equal legitimacy to those listed above which perhaps does not receive the same level of attention in the academic literature. To achieve success at school young people need to identify with and feel a strong sense of connection to that school. More than this, the families of students should experience this same sense of belonging and connectedness in order to best support their children.

At Marcellin, I believe we provide many entry points for our boys and their families to build a strong relationship with our school, not only though the many events and occasions offered by our College throughout the year, but also through the relationships they build with the staff who support each House. Our boys gain a strong sense of identity to our College not only as young men of Marcellin but also through the equally important connection to their House. Whenever I ask a boy which of our 10 Houses he belong to, the answer is always stated with pride and gusto. And of course, his House is always “The Best House”.   

Last week I attended a number of House liturgies held at the College. The purpose of these significant events is to officially induct Year 7 and other new students to the College into their House. It is also an opportunity to pray for and encourage all of our students, especially our senior boys as they embark on their final year at Marcellin. At each liturgy I was struck by the very strong sense of family spirit and community which permeated the evenings, not only at the liturgies themselves but also afterwards as we gathered for supper in the Colleges’ new atrium space.

This feeling of belonging and connectedness to House is not something which occurs purely by chance or through osmosis. It is nurtured and cultivated through the leadership and skill of the House Leader and the dedication and care of the Pastoral Leaders and Assistants. One young Year 7 boys put it best after one of the House liturgies when I asked him what he thought it meant to belong to his new House. “I am really lucky that I now have three families. My own family, my School and my House”. It is this sense of belonging which I believe is key to the success of a student at Marcellin and one which is a hallmark of the health of our College as a centre of learning, of life and of faith.

Mark Murphy