Principal's Blog - 25 October 2018

23 Oct 2018

Dear members of the Marcellin College Family,

Last week I had the privilege of showing a group of prospective parents and their sons around our College as part of one of our fortnightly College tours. One of the great benefits of presenting these tours during school hours is the opportunity they provide to enter real active classrooms and engage with teachers and students in a variety of learning spaces. On this particular tour we were able to access a Year 7 Art class led by highly experienced and innovative art teacher Sally Bristow. As we entered the room the boys were so engaged in what they were doing they hardly noticed our presence. I asked one of these students to explain to our tour group what he enjoyed most about his involvement in Year 7 Art classes. Without hesitation the boy responded: I love Art class because it gives us a chance to express ourselves in different ways. This simple phrase captured all that we aspire to for our boys in our Arts programs – both visual and performing.

No more was this self-expression on display than at out VCE Visual Arts and Technology Exhibition which was opened in our beautiful atrium space last Wednesday evening. As I wandered through the exhibition covering a vast range of media across the VCE subjects of Visual Communication Design, Product Design and Technology, Art, Studio Art and Systems Technology, I was overwhelmed by the creativity, innovation, skill, and knowledge displayed by our VCE students. These works and their associated folios demonstrated an ability to think clearly, solve problems, persevere through difficult moments, collaborate with their peers and teachers as well as a maturity of thought beyond their years. I was amazed too at the way the students spoke so passionately, knowledgably and enthusiastically about their work. These interactions further put pay to the myth that boys are not able to express themselves well through the spoken word. Anyone who still believes that need only have a chat to these senior students about their work. More than this they need to hear the story behind the work. Stories of diligence and determination, of disappointment and elation. Stories that demonstrate perseverance and resilience, the ability to solve complex problems, to take advice when needed, to change direction and be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances. Are not these just the skills that we need to continue to promote and develop amongst the students in our school? Aren’t these the very skills which will determine their level of success in engaging in the world of work in the 21st century?

What was also undeniably evident at this exhibition is the simple fact that Marcellin College is blessed to have some of the best Art, Design and Technology teachers in Catholic Education. These teachers are highly skilled, knowledgeable and innovative in terms of their chosen craft as I am sure are many teachers in other schools. What sets them apart from many though is their single-minded determination to ensure that no stone is left unturned in assisting each young man to achieve his very best and produce work which is beyond that of which he thought he was capable. It is impossible to count the hours of thought and preparation these teachers have put into supporting these students. It is even more difficult to calculate the time, care and energy that these same teachers have put into building relationships based on trust and mutual regard with their students which is the critical ingredient in helping to unlock the creative potential of the Artist/Designer.

I am grateful to our all staff in these fields – Anna Deane, Julie Twomey, Randall Bezaire, Ed Doyle, James O’Connell, Angelo Nitsis, Brenda Osbourne, John Richards, Sue Dean, Sally Bristow, Adriano Di Prato and Matthew Collins ably led by John Meagher and Sean Kolednick whose ability, passion, dedication and hard work has assisted our young men to do to the highest level that which our young Year 7 friend suggested – to give us a chance to express ourselves.

Mark Murphy