Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

Dear members of the Marcellin family

On the morning of Monday 20 January, as I drove through the front gates of Marcellin College for the first time this year, I was greeted with quite a sight. There had been a fierce storm the previous evening and as I headed up the driveway, I observed large numbers of people in yellow jackets atop trees with chainsaws. Branches and other debris also littered the grounds. As I entered Marist House, the news of the water damage in the Placidus Centre, Ardmara Building and the Functions Centre was relayed to me and I was subsequently taken for a tour of the damage. Day 1 on the job had begun! 

By mid-March, COVID-19 of course had become the main game – for everyone. Concerns around health and safety turned quickly to development and adaptation of a Home Learning Program and ongoing adjustments to teaching, learning, looking after our student and staff wellbeing, and supporting families. Teachers teaching online, students learning at home, and whole families in lockdown, all tested the resilience of our community and stretched our capacity to support everyone. It certainly provided a challenge.

I think the ultimate measure of success for any organisation is how it responds to a crisis. When it is confronted with challenges and threats, does it respond by turning these things into opportunities for growth and development. My assessment is that our College has done exactly that – not perfectly, but very successfully. I could provide pages and pages of detail around how this has been done in a range of areas; in fact, at the Strategic Planning Day held recently, the Senior Leadership Team came up with a very extensive list of the various successes achieved and opportunities explored during the course of the year. Many of these opportunities arose out of challenges faced by our community.

As I come to the end of what has been a relatively short but rather eventful temporary Principalship, I would like to extend my gratitude to all. I have spoken often of the importance of the partnership between school and family and I have felt that very strongly here and it is undoubtedly a key to the success of the College. It has been a great privilege to serve this wonderful Marist community. As some would know, my last school appointment was as Principal at Marcellin College Randwick in Sydney, so I consider it a great honor to have had the opportunity to lead the only two schools in Australia named after the Founder of Marist education.

I shall drive out the front gates in a few weeks (hopefully on a warm sunny day with a light breeze and mask-less) with a years’ worth of great memories and knowing that I will be staying in contact with so many wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure to engage with over the past twelve months.

With blessings for 2021 and beyond.

John Hickey