Dear members of the Marcellin College family,
I was walking through the main courtyard of our College the other day and came across a student from the class of 2013 who had come for a visit. We chatted for a minute about what he had been up to since leaving Marcellin at the end of last year. He spoke enthusiastically about the fact that he had just started at University and how much he was enjoying learning and university life. As we parted I asked him why he had made the trip to visit us. He said that he missed the place and just wanted to catch up with some of his past teachers. This encounter gave me pause to think about the strong sense of community and belonging, our boys experience whilst at Marcellin and the fact that for many there is almost a kind of grieving process they go through when they leave our College.
I believe that one of the most important factors in supporting the growth and development of young people is the idea of community. Belonging to a community gives a child a sense of belonging, a strong sense of self and a sense of connection. As part of a community young people feel emotionally and physically safe and valued and they develop social skills and abilities which will assist them in becoming active and positive contributors to society.
Marcellin College is a place where students, parents and staff develop an understanding of the significance of community not only as a vehicle for their personal growth but equally importantly as an entity which they can actively contribute to for the benefit of others.
Last week at Marcellin our students experienced this sense of community both within the College and beyond. On Tuesday our students participated in the annual House Swimming Carnival held at Northcote Pool. Our students were provided the opportunity to compete for and support their House both in the water and by cheering from the sidelines. It is true that our students have a strong sense of belonging to the College. Equally they display a robust and loyal devotion to the House they belong to. This is obviously enhanced by the Colleges pastoral system which is a great strength of our school. More so it is encouraged and enriched by the enthusiastic and committed leadership of our House Coordinators, Pastoral Leaders and assistants and by the passionate and thoughtful leadership displayed by our senior House Captains, Vice Captains and other ardent and supportive senior students. I would like to thank all these people for providing such a powerful experience of community for our boys. I would particularly like to thank Justin Abbott, Head of Sport and his staff who always provide a carnival founded on the idea of inclusiveness and good sportsmanship in a safe and well organised environment.
On Thursday evening I witnessed a further example of the promotion of community at Marcellin at the first of the Colleges annual House Para-liturgies. This is an occasion where we officially induct our newest students to the College as members of their respective Houses and also show our prayerful support to the Year 12 students as they commence this most significant year in their academic lives. We do this in a particular way. A way which is founded in our Catholic, Marist context and which helps our boys to recognise that they are part of a much broader and richer faith tradition. Like so many of our major College events and celebrations it was the students themselves who ably led these important rituals under the caring guidance of their House Coordinator and Pastoral leaders and assistants. I would particularly like to thank Br. Mark Fordyce who presented such a thoughtful and authentically Marist ceremony for us all to participate in.
It is one thing to develop an appreciation and understanding of our place in the Marcellin community, it is another again to recognise our role as members of and contributors towards the wider community. On Friday our senior VCAL students provided valuable support for the wider community when they ventured out in support of Parks Victoria as they work to rebuild and redevelop areas of bushland still feeling the effects of Black Saturday. Led by dedicated VCAL teacher Julie Toomey these students gained an understanding of the issues faced in rejuvenating our native forests and the infrastructure involved whilst at the same time providing practical support to this program led by Parks Victoria.
At Marcellin we recognise that we are also part of a global community which requires our understanding of and participation in. On Wednesday we held an assembly at Marcellin at which we officially congratulated and farewelled a group of ten Year 9 students who will soon travel to China as part of the Victorian Young Leaders to China Program. These students will soon be part of a group of students from eight secondary schools in Victoria who will live in China for six weeks participating in language and cultural immersion programs and who will live in a Chinese boarding school. The program aims at assisting these students to not only develop their Chinese Language skills but also develop an understanding of Chinese culture and their place as global citizens in this important region of the world. I wish these students all the best as they embark on this life changing experience and thank Sean Leubin and John Di Natale for their vision and hard work in providing this experience for our students. I would also like to thank Rosemary Chapple, College Counsellor who has generously given of her time and talent to accompany these students.
At this assembly we also acknowledged our Under 17 cross country team who are a about to compete on the world stage at the World Cross Country Championships which will shortly take place in Israel. On behalf of our College community I wish these boys and their coach John Meagher all the best for a safe and successful trip.