Dear members of the Marcellin College family,

Summer holidays can provide wonderful opportunities to rest, recharge and reconnect with the really important things in life – family, friends and in my case, the beach. I believe too that the most attractive and comforting aspects of life on holidays is that we don’t have so much to worry about. The pressures and pace of daily life subside, for a little while at least. The need to live by the clock is not as acute, feelings of having to be somewhere all the time lessens and the constant driving of children to the next sporting or social commitment takes a hiatus.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could maintain that feeling of calm and quiet order all year round. Perhaps this is wishful thinking. How about at least being able to feel in control and not overwhelmed or anxious about the many worries, concerns and tasks of daily life.

At our recent retreat for senior leaders at Marcellin we were fortunate to have with us Dr. Craig Hassed from Monash University who is an expert in the idea of Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of mental training which focusses on the practice of paying attention, knowing where our attention is now and being able to choose where to direct it. It is a practice which teaches us how to live in the moment, without being distracted or overwhelmed by all the other worries and concerns of life. Mindfulness helps us to learn to be at peace with, or less reactive to, our anxiety or tension and it greatly helps us to not amplify their impact when they do arise.

Dr Hassed speaks about the value of mindfulness for students in an education environment. For example when we are unmindful we catastrophise and our minds are filled with worry and negativity. We are distracted by our worries and find it tough to switch them off and as well as having difficulty concentrating. When we are mindful our minds are clear, lucid and calm. We are focussed, engaged, in control of where our attention is and most significantly we can discern imagination from reality.

At Marcellin our three wonderful College counsellors are all experts in the concept of mindfulness and this week they began a process to introduce this idea to our staff. It is my hope that over time we will be able to support our students in developing this valuable strategy with regards to their learning and wellbeing.

Achievements of the Class of 2013
This week I published a letter on mcOnline which provided some details about the achievements of the class of 2013. I congratulate Adrian Grosso dux of VCE with an outstanding ATAR of 99.65 and Lachlan Marrett Dux of VCAL. The class of 2013 achieved many exceptional individual and collective results. Of particular note 36% of VCE students achieved an ATAR above 80. At the same time there was a continued decrease in the number of students achieving ATARs under 50.

It is one thing to speak about raw results it is another again to focus on where these results take our students beyond school. Of the 176 students who applied for tertiary entrance, 97% received a first round offer. Of these students 94% gained a university offer. Most importantly of those students who received a tertiary offer 89% of them received either their first, second or third preference, compared with 83% in 2012 and 80% in 2011. Almost half of these student (47%) received their first choice.

These figures are a tremendous credit to the students themselves and a just reward for their hard work and diligence. The boys themselves would be the first to acknowledge that they could not have achieved this by themselves. At Marcellin over the past 5 years we have developed programs and support services which our students have utilised to assist them in finding their preferred pathway beyond school:

  • A focus on post school destination processes in the Colleges Student Wellbeing Program
  • The introduction of the VCE Expo evening featuring the presence of a vast number of tertiary provider
  • A new Year 10 VCE subject selection process
  • The evolution of our VCAL program
  • An increase in VET subjects available at Marcellin
  • The valuable work done by Marian House staff in assisting our boys in developing pathways options

Of most significance is the incredible dedication of the Colleges Careers Practioner, Dora Karas who has personally worked with every year 12 boy throughout their time at Marcellin and who worked countless hours once the results were known in helping boys to discern their options beyond school.

News of summer works at Marcellin
For many in our community December/January is about rest and recuperation. For a handful of our dedicated staff this time provides opportunities to complete works and projects with the sole aim of providing an enhanced learning environment for our students and staff. The following is just a small snapshot of the many projects undertaken at Marcellin over the summer break.

  • Painting of Ardmara Building and Functions room
  • Air-conditioning throughout the Montagne Science Building
  • Renovations of College sports grounds
  • College website development
  • Preparation and imaging of almost 500 new student computers

Cambodia Immersion/Italy Soccer Trip/Santa Teresa Immersion
At the end of 2013 Br Mark Fordyce, Mark Ashmore, Laura Duncan and ten Year 11 students embarked on the second Cambodia Immersion experience. Our staff and students continued to develop a supportive relationship with the Marist Brothers and people of Pailin in Cambodia as they assisted the Brother in their important work. I would like to thank Br Mark for the wonderful work he has done in continuing to build on the great work achieved by the previous group along with the support of Mark and Laura. Well done also to the students who participated in this significant College initiative.
I would like to congratulate Dino Faelis for his efforts in providing a memorable and valuable opportunity to a group of students who participated in the Italy Soccer Trip. Our students represented Marcellin with distinction and good sportsmanship in the tour of Italy ably assisted by Mr. Faelis along with Justin Abbott and Lou D’Amico.
In December Angela Tsotsos led a group of year 12 students who had all graduated from the REMAR program from Marcellin and Assumption College Kilmore on a ministry and immersion experience to St. Teresa. During their stay in this remote indigenous community Angela and the students support the Marist Brothers in their valuable work with people of Santa Teresa. Thanks particularly to Angela for giving her time, expertise and energy in supporting these students.

New Staff
Finally I would like to welcome the following new and returning staff to Marcellin and hope that their time with us is a productive and beneficial one:

Andrew Bryson   Assistant Principal – Learning
Hugh Holiday       LOTE: Indonesian
Tom Major            Design Technology
Rob Lowe            IT / Maths
Liam McCormack   RE/Visual Arts
Philip Viola            Maths / Science
Nicholas Bavcar   AFL Trainee
Tom Connolly       AFL Trainee
Joan Russell        Canteen
Justin Carroll        Teacher in Charge of Rugby
Mario Frazetto      RE/Humanities



Mark Murphy