I always enjoy the start of Term 2 as the mornings get colder and the leaves begin to change. There is a transition that occurs each year and I certainly notice it around the school as our community settles in. I believe we are still working through the impact of last year and I congratulate our young men on how they have started the term. We have been clear in our expectations of each member of our community, virtute ad altisimma – strive for the highest.

We ended our first week with an ANZAC Service and Student Leadership Assembly. We were privileged to have our Old Collegian, Mr Peter Wallbridge (Class of 1966), share with us his experiences after being called up for two years compulsory National Service in the Australian Army during the Vietnam war. I know we were all moved by his words and grateful to have him with us during our assembly.  Following is my address at the end of the Student Leadership Presentations. 

As many of you will know, this year the College’s theme is Breathe…The Spirit of Life. This theme has been adopted across Australia by all Marist Schools and Marist Works. The theme captures the need for us to stop, and take stock of who we are and why we are here. It can awaken in us the bond that we experience as we work together towards what it is to be a member of the Marcellin College community. Staff and students collaborating to make our community a better place. 

We require of our leaders a sense of loyalty to what the College stands for and an ability to encourage, listen to and support the people involved.  The simple message of our College is ‘Virtute ad Altissima’.  We strive for the highest.  To achieve this there are a number of expectations and we must all show presence to one another as we work towards achieving calm and good order around the College, a friendly family spirit that respects the rights of the group as well as the rights of the individual to achieve their goal, with simplicity and without complication we go about things, in the way of Mary.  All this, together, brings about a love of work.  These Marist characteristics are an important part of who we are at this College. Importantly, all students play their part in this and leadership is expressed in many ways and through numerous activities – like being part of the choir, or the Game Changers and REMAR groups or representing the College in sport or debating or music.  Student leadership is essential if we are to have a good year.

It is a wonderful opportunity for the student leaders being commissionedMarcellin Champagnat taught us that “openness to others” and “self-sacrifice” are essential characteristics if we wish to lead others.  So are hard work, energy and vision.  Therefore, leadership is not a position of status or prestige; it is a position of service. Our daily duty – yours and mine – done as well as we can, will be the key to our success.  For the rest of the students whether in Year 7 through to Year 12, you can show your support for the leaders by being encouraging, co-operative and loyal.

I congratulate the student leaders and wish them well in their efforts for 2021 and it is with pleasure and confidence that we commission them today.

In conclusion and as a reminder, your actions today will affect you in the years to come. Today we heard Marc and others lead us through the Heroes Poem. It is very easy to get caught up in what we see on reality television, on social media and believe that these are our heroes. I can tell you that MAFS is not real life, and to be a survivor is more than just living on an island for 39 days. The greatest hero still lives amongst us, within us and through us.  As you look around, God is in each of us. We just need to have the strength of spirit to see beyond what society can sometimes tell us. We need to remember to Breathe…the spirit of life