Principal's Blog - 1 November 2018
Dear members of the Marcellin College family,
Last Friday night our community came together to celebrate the efforts and achievements of the graduating class of 2018 at our annual Valedictory Mass and Dinner. It was wonderful to see our boys, their parents and the Marcellin staff come together to give thanks for all these young men have given and received during their time at Marcellin.
I am very grateful to all those who contributed to the success of this evening:
- Mons. Tony Ireland, from St. Gregory’s Doncaster for his thoughtful and prayerful celebration of our Eucharist supported by our AP (Mission), Carolyn Young who planned the entire mass.
- Matt Thomas and the music staff and students involved in the Choir for bringing a great sense of prayer and occasion to our celebration of the Eucharist.
- Nick Moloney AP (Operations) for his work in providing transport and logistical arrangements.
- All the House Coordinators who presented our Valedictorians and for nurturing the boys over the past 6 years.
- Sarah Pyle for her strong and supportive leadership of Yr 12s throughout this year.
- Adriano Di Prato for his overall coordination of the event and awards and mostly for his wonderful attention to detail and his dedication to providing our students and families with a meaningful and memorable experience as graduates of our College.
- I would particularly like thank Shannon Anderson, Executive Assistance for taking charge of the overall event and doing literally the 101 tasks which need to be completed to ensure the evening was the wonderful success that it always is.
Below you will find a copy of the address I delivered at this significant occasion in the life of our College:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is great to be here with you as together we celebrate the efforts and achievements of the Class of 2018 and give thanks to God and all here present for the support, opportunities and blessings these young men have received during their six years as members of the Marcellin College family.
On a warm February morning in 2013, 243 anxious and excited boys supported by an equal number of excited and anxious parents filed into St. Marcellin’s Hall. The wide eyed and shiny shoed brigade of students found their way up into the stands while the trepidatious parents stood nervously on the court. I then welcomed the newest students of Marcellin College as the Class of 2018, which at the time must have seemed like a million years away.
In that first address I expressed a few of my hopes and dreams for the Class of 2018 as they embarked on their adventure in secondary education. I hoped that they would feel welcome and safe in our school. I hoped that they would reach out and grab hold of all the wonderful opportunities this College has to offer and give each new opportunity to learn their absolute best effort. I hoped that they would reach out to their teachers and other staff when they needed help and I hoped they would find God as well as a few good mates along the way.
I would like you boys to think for a moment about how you felt that day and what hopes you had in your head and in your heart on that morning? I think on that first day your hopes would have been simple ones. I hope I can find my away around this huge place, I hope I can read my timetable and open my locker, I hope the big kids will be nice to me. Some of your hopes could have been a bit more tangible and forward thinking like making a particular team or performing in the school musical or debating team or achieving a certain result in a subject. There may have been other less tangible but equally important hopes like making friends or feeling a sense of belonging.
As parents what were your hopes for your sons? I know as a parent my only desire was that my children were happy and safe at school, that their gifts and talents would be nurtured and that they would be known and loved by the people looking after them each day. I hope we have achieved that for your sons here at Marcellin.
St. Marcellin himself had hopes for you too. Hopes that you might come to know God and that you would turn out to be good Christians and good citizens. I think he would be pretty happy with what I see before me this evening.
Hope is a powerful idea. But hoping is not about simply passively desiring for something to happen. Hope without action is just wishful thinking. Hope without community is a lonely and unfulfilling exercise. Hope without a plan is a waste of time. Hope without prayer is wasteful of the greatest resource we have – God.
Pope Francis too speaks of the power of hope. He says that hope can begin with just one person and then another and eventually it becomes a revolution. The great man goes on to say that this revolution is one of tenderness. Tenderness means to use our eyes to see the other, our ears to hear the other, to listen to the children, the poor, those who are afraid of the future. Tenderness means to use our hands and our heart to comfort the other, to take care of those in need. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility. I have witnessed you as men of tenderness so I remain hopeful. I am hopeful that each of you will continue to take the opportunity both at home and abroad to spread the revolution of tenderness to all who you encounter.
So tonight my advice to you boys is to think back to that wide-eyed, excited, nervous hope-filled boy you were on that first day of Year 7 and enter the next stage of your life with that same hope, enthusiasm and thirst for life that you had all those years ago. I promise it will serve you well particularly at those moments of difficulty and despair. I hope too that you remember what you have learnt here, not only in Maths and English but the many lessons you have received and examples you have seen about what it means to be a good man and that you take the God given gifts you have been given and go out and do good in the world.
Tonight, I would also like to pay tribute to the parents of the Class of 2018. It’s not easy being the parent of a Year 12 boy. The mood swings, the self-doubt, the highs and the lows – these are all part of the daily lot of the Year 12 parent. So well done to you all for surviving the year, for continuing to love and support your sons – even when they aren’t always so lovable and thank you for the faith and trust you placed in Marcellin College to educate these fine young men.
Each year since the death of our great friend Fr. John Carnie I have read a blessing that he wrote for the graduating class of Marcellin. It sums up all that we hope for each one of you, so I would like to conclude with it this evening. This is from Fr John…
Congratulations class of 2018. Thank you for your friendship and your encouragement. I pray on this night that your future will be all that tonight you are praying it will be. We join you in your prayer, your hopes and your dreams and we ask St. Marcellin to pray for these young men, their teachers and their families.
Go well young men of Marcellin and remember, Virtute ad Altissima.