Principal's Blog - 01 March 2018

01 Mar 2018

Dear members of the Marcellin College family,

Last week I spoke to you about data. I suggested that a knowledge of student data can assist us as educators to better understand the educational needs and potential of our students. This is very true and it is worthwhile and valuable work to continue to mine the rich veins of data to their very depths in search of the gems of knowledge and awareness which will see our students achieve personal academic excellence.

As educators and as parents we know that there are some aspects of student ability and achievement that are far more difficult to measure. Qualities such as social and emotional growth, empathy, compassion, personal integrity, honesty and faith amongst other things can’t be quantified as much as they can be qualified. Quantitative data is anything that can be expressed as a number or quantified. Examples of quantitative data are scores on achievement tests or number of hours of study. This data may be represented by numbers, ratios, percentages and other statistical tools. Qualitative data cannot be expressed as a number. Data that represent nominal scales such as gender, socio economic status, religious preference are usually considered to be qualitative data. Both types of data are valid types of measurement, and both are used in education.

I am particularly reminded of this difference as I write this article from the dining room of the Upper Plenty Conference Centre on Year 11 &12 Retreat. Over the past couple of days, I have been privileged to walk with and listen to the thoughts, hopes, prayers, anxieties, challenges, philosophies and passions of an outstanding group of young men. The Marcellin Retreat Program has provided these great boys with a luxury that is as scarce in our world today – the time, space, licence, environment…whatever you wish to call it…to reflect on the bigger questions of life and what is most important to them.

The theme for the Year 12 Retreat comes from the first letter St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians –

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Cor 13:11)

As a group we engaged in many activities and had conversations which were rich, stimulating and thoughtful. One such activity required our students make a list of the six most important goals they currently had for their life ahead. Then they were asked to rank them in order of importance. So after all this discernment and reflection, what is most important to them? The answer may surprise you.

The answer was family. Each of the boys in my group spoke about the importance of family in their lives. Above all other things, they believed that maintaining strong and sustainable relationships with family was the key to a fulfilled life. As parents of boys I am sure that at times that our sons’ priorities lay elsewhere, and at this stage of their lives it is probably true. However, they know deep in their hearts the inextricable link between family and happiness. As a parent that gives me great comfort. It also suggests that in the midst of teenage angst and upheaval, we as parents are doing something right.

I would like to congratulate the following students whose artwork has been selected by the curators to be included in the CEM Visual Arts Exhibition 2018:

- Solomon Britton- Year 10 2017
- Michael Tynan – Year 11 2017
- Tyron Tran – Year 10 2017
- 2017 Year 8 Art Collaborative Painting

The exhibition will take place at the Catholic Leadership Centre, 576 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne from Tuesday 13 March until Sunday 18 March.  Judging will take place on Friday 9 March and the awards will be presented at the presentation of awards ceremony on Sunday 18 March. In the past, Marcellin College has won the Archbishop’s Award on two occasions.

I would like to thank and congratulate our highly talented and dedicated art teachers who have supported these students on their creative journey.

Mark Murphy