Principal's Blog - 21 February 2019

18 Feb 2019

Dear members of the Marcellin College Family,

One morning, couple of weeks ago, I was coming out our main reception at Marist House when I met a fellow who had just pulled up in his car. His name was Mal and he told me that he was here to return a book that one of his son’s had borrowed from our library. I gratefully received the book and said I would personally return it to our College’s Resource Centre. I then opened the back cover to view the return date and stamped in the back of the book was the date 13 August 1983. I joked with Mal that I could return the book but the fine would be huge!

Mal and I got to talking about his sons who were now in their fifties and who had gone on from Marcellin to lead productive and successful lives. He spoke too about his involvement on our MCCA as well as some of the wonderful teachers of the day who had supported his sons. He spoke with particular affection for Brother Steve Bugg who was one of the Principals during his sons’ early years in the College.

At the end of our conversation I thanked Mal for returning the book after all these years which I said demonstrated great integrity on his part, as he could quite easily have disposed of it. He looked at me with a look of incredulity and said, “Well of course, I couldn’t do anything else.” I was humbled by Mal’s modesty, honesty and genuine desire to do the right thing.

The memory of this experience was still vivid in my mind as I shook the hands of 247 new Year 7 boys as well as students new to other year levels at our Induction and Commissioning Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral last Tuesday evening. As I looked into the eyes of these fresh faced, shiny shoed enthusiastic, happy young men I hoped and prayed that when I shook their hands in the same place in six years’ time – at their Valedictory Mass, that like Mal they might have developed into men of integrity, honour and selflessness.

So how do we achieve this lofty aim at Marcellin? Does it happen simply because we are a Catholic School? Does it happen because of our RE program or our social outreach and ministry initiatives? Is it as a result of our Marist identity? Is it learnt through participation in the many cocurricular offerings of our College? Or could it be through the living example of our dedicated and passionate staff? I believe that each of these elements of Marcellin could contribute in some way to the development of what Marcellin would describe as Good Christians and Good Citizens. However, is this enough? Surely we can’t be arrogant enough to think that Catholic schools have a monopoly on good values!

I believe one of the largest influences that a school has on a young man’s character is learnt through experiences in the classroom. People think that the classroom is a place where only knowledge is gained. If we were to think this way, we have missed a tremendous opportunity.

The Polaris learning program which we are currently developing places a great deal of emphasis on the development of the whole person. One of the foundational theories behind the development of this program is that of Self Determination. For students to not only experience success at school but equally importantly beyond the gates of our College, they need to develop three aspects of self as presented in the Self Determination Theory – autonomy, competence and relatedness. If our students develop autonomy they will become more confident people. With feelings of competence in their ability will come a feeling of capability. As our students develop a mature ability to relate to others and the world around them they will become men of character. As this year progresses, I would like to share information with you as to how this program will continue to develop our young men across these three areas. Finally, I turn as is often the case to our good friend Marcellin Champagnat who always had a knack for brevity, something this Principal needs to develop! He simply said that his desire was to create Good Christians and Good (global) Citizens. I think Marcellin had a good understanding of Self Determination Theory!

Mark Murphy