Principal's Blog - 15 February 2018

13 Feb 2018

Dear members of the Marcellin College Family,

Last Thursday as a community we celebrated the efforts and achievements of the class of 2017 and welcomed our Year 7 students and other students new to the Marcellin College Family. As always I was impressed with the maturity and attentiveness of all our students as they showed great admiration for the achievements of the class of 2017 as well as warmth and generosity towards the new members of our school. I wish to thank all staff and students who organized and supported this occasion. I would particularly like to thank Shannon Anderson (Executive Assistant) for the skill and organizational ability she brought to this most important celebration. Below I have printed a copy of my speech to the community on this occasion.

Anyone who has been at Marcellin for any length of time will have heard about the nest. It is a term, an idea which has become part of the vernacular, the culture, even the identity of our great school over the last 3 or 4 years. It is interesting that this phenomenon is most prominent at major events throughout the year. Sports grand finals, Valedictory, Year 12 formal to name a few. On these occasions the cry of nest is heard loud and strong. It evokes feelings of community, friendship, connection, celebration, support and a passion for our school.

If this is all the nest represents, if these are the only times when it is being promoted, I believe it becomes a shadowy reflection of what this idea really stands for.

My question to you today is if the nest culture is important to you and our College, where is it exemplified in the day to day life of this school? How does the culture of the nest show itself in the classroom, in the school yard, on the bus. Most importantly, what does it really mean to be part of the nest?

I believe the meaning of the nest resides within 3 important concepts; inclusivity, integrity and hopefulness.

Each time you welcome a new student to our school you demonstrate inclusiveness. Whenever you encourage a boy you don’t even know particularly when he is in your class, when you accept individual differences in the classroom or show respect for and celebrate the inherent dignity of another, you display inclusivity. The nest is not a closed insular place. It is a place which not only shows respect for those within it but equally to those outside it. One of the great attributes of a Marist is that of hospitality. Hospitality to all who enter our nest. The culture of the nest demands that we show respect to all those we encounter, particularly visitors to our school. The nest is a place of inclusiveness where everyone can reach their full potential without fear of failure, without fear of being judged, knowing all the time that they are supported and valued by those around them.

Simply put integrity is how you behave when no one is watching. It’s one thing to do what is right and to behave appropriately when you are in the presence of others, it is another again to present in the same way when no one is around. Integrity is about walking the walk not simply talking the talk. It’s about following through, doing what you say you are going to do, keeping your word, not letting others down. It can be as simple as picking up litter when no one is around or as significant as standing up for another at their most vulnerable moment. It can be pulling a mate up when he is about to do the wrong thing or showing empathy and support for your teacher to enhance everyone’s opportunity to learn. In the nest there is no place for the deceitful the hypocritical, the hollow, the phony. If you show integrity you demonstrate honesty and respect for all those you encounter.

To be hopeful is to be hope filled. This to me is the most valuable and perhaps the most powerful of all the attributes of the nest. Hoping is not about simply passively wishing for something and hoping it will come true. 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. Our good friend says that “…A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you…Hope begins with one “you”…”.

If we present as hopeful, hope filled, positive and encouraging people we are doing great good for ourselves and for others. As with an eagle in a nest our task is to help others to be their best, to fill them with hope. The simple and irrefutable fact is the more you support your friends, your teachers, your families, your classmates the greater will be the benefit for you.

The nest is a nurturing place, a place of safety and security but it is also a place which does not close itself off from the world. At the end of the day the real source of the identity of the nest is Mary herself. A woman of boundless love who exemplified the characteristics of inclusiveness, integrity and hope to all those she encountered.

So perhaps the secret to understanding the culture of the nest is to understand the person of Mary. Perhaps if we follow her example of love and service we can truly say we belong to the nest.  

Today we celebrate individual achievement and so we should. But we also celebrate the achievements of the whole class of 2017. A group of boys who truly lived out the idea of the nest. Who understood that by working together, putting aside individual differences and petty squabbles and being men of integrity, inclusivity and hope they could achieve far more than they ever could have done alone. Not only that, but they also realized, if they hadn’t already, that their teachers and parents were there to support them, to love them and to walk with them as they strove for their highest with virtue and courage.

I am certain that if each of you face this year with integrity, inclusivity and hope in your hearts. If each of you get the most from the incredible gifts and talents you have been blessed with, along with the love and support of your families and your school you will reach the highest with virtue and with courage.

Mark Murphy