Principal's Blog - 29 March 2018

22 Mar 2018

Dear members of the Marcellin College Family,

There are many hallmarks which indicate the health of a school community. Strong enrolment application numbers, retention rates, student academic results, success on the sporting field, survey results, etc. Of course, all these indicators have their place along the healthy school spectrum to greater or lesser degree. My experience at Marcellin College suggests that there are other less tangible and measurable pointers which are of equal if not greater value when discerning a school’s success.

Participation of parents and other community members in the broader life of the College is one success indicator. It could be as simple as attending parent information evenings or Parent/Teacher/Student conferences or coming to watch Saturday sport. No matter what the action may be, if a student witnesses their parents taking an interest and participating in the life of their school, their own results generally benefits.

There are other levels of participation in the life of Marcellin which go above and beyond what would be expected of a parent and which brings tremendous broader benefit to the Marcellin College community. These acts of service often go unnoticed. I would like to share a couple of them with you.

The Marcellin College Community Association (MCCA) are a generous, hardworking, modest and gracious group of people who spend countless hours supporting a variety of activities, events and initiatives all with the expressed aim of helping families to feel a sense of belonging and support in our community. 

One of my favorite activities is to visit the second-hand uniform shop. There is a great sense of warmth, welcome and hospitality whenever I enter this space. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t just come over to this space for the nice cakes and biscuits! What I witness in the second-hand uniform shop is the generosity of women who understand that constantly outfitting a growing boy can be murder on the hip pocket. Sometimes too due to changing circumstances, families desperately need this thoughtful and valuable service. I think some just come because they wish to feel a sense of community. Whatever the reason, the second hand uniform shop has become a quintessential part of the Marcellin landscape. More than this, the incredible women who each month bring it to life and spend countless hours ensuring that the products look their best are the archetypal models of Mary our Good Mother. How lucky are we to have them here.

I love attending the Mother’s/Father’s Day breakfasts and the Gala Ball. These are wonderful examples of the MCCA’s ability to build a strong sense of community and belonging. Loneliness and isolation are not nice places to live in. The efforts of the MCCA bring people together, people who may not have much of a network of friends and family to draw on for support, companionship and care.

Finally, I love going to the Volunteers and Past Mothers’ masses and luncheons. It is here that I witness people gathered in faith, hope and love. I see men and women who have formed life-long friendships, who have walked with each other in difficult times, who love our school and who love their sons.

I remain unfathomably grateful to all those associated with the MCCA. Without you our College would lose a piece of its soul. Thanks for all you do for your boys and for our College. 

Another group at Marcellin who is constantly engaged in connecting the broader Marcellin family is our College Foundation. In the early part of the year this group have been responsible for providing opportunities for our new Year 7 parents to connect with each other through a series of House gatherings. This culminated in a large gathering last Saturday night in the College Functions Room with over 150 Year 7 parents enjoying a great evening of conviviality and relationship building.

There is one last group of people I would like to mention who have been one of the great constants of Marcellin College over many decades. The Marcellin College Advisory Council is a group of highly skilled and dedicated people who share one important factor in common. They have a deep and abiding love of our College. The Advisory Council is appointed by Marist Schools Australia under the authority of the Provincial of the Marist Brothers to advise and support the Principal to make wise decisions and set sound policy for the benefit of the students of our school. This group of people consists of current and past parents, former students, Marist Brothers and other people with a strong desire to see Marcellin remain as a significant and successful Catholic, Marist School for Boys. I am very grateful to the Advisory Council for the generous time, energy and expertise they bring in support of me as Principal and our College more broadly. This group has been instrumental, in recent times, supporting the development of the Colleges’ Master Plan, particularly with regards to the Hermitage Project.

I present all these examples to you as powerful illustrations of the health and vitality of the Marcellin College Community. I thank God every day for the incredible Marcellin Family and all it does to assist in growing fine young men at Marcellin.

Mark Murphy