Principal's Blog - 31 October 2019

30 Oct 2019

Dear members of the Marcellin College Family,

People often ask me, 'What are the boys of Marcellin like?' Now of course there is some level of bias in my response because I think they are all wonderful young men. My response is usually along the following lines. I would say that they are warm hearted, respectful, energetic, supportive of each other, talented, family oriented, generous and empathetic. They can also be clumsy, both socially and physically, apathetic, thoughtless and careless. Generally speaking, though, there is no intent or malice with regards to any of these more negative descriptions of our boys. As I often say every young person should have a sign on their heads that reads under construction. Perhaps it is not just our boys who should have this sign! It is our role as parents and school to work in partnership to help to construct, to build, to grow these young men into the best versions of themselves they can be. This will look different for each young men. We do not produce cookie cutter versions of our students. You have heard me say before that we believe in the concept of Multiple Masculinities – that is, there are many pathways to manhood, many ways of becoming a good man.

Over the past week I have seen many examples of this partnership and many and varied examples of the opportunities our young men are taking as they journey toward manhood.

On Tuesday last week a large number of our boys attended the funeral of Jim Rottura, father of Giordan (Year 11). These boys demonstrated wonderful maturity, sensitivity and empathy in the way they attended to their friend Giordan in this time of grief and loss. I was speaking with Giordan’s mum Nicky who said that the attendance of the boys and a number of teachers had given the family great comfort that the Marcellin community was there for them. As I watch our boys approach their friend, they showed no self-consciousness in expressing their emotions which spoke volumes to me about their character and more importantly that they realise that it is OK for young men to show their feelings at times like these.

On Wednesday evening over 400 parents attended our transition evening for students commencing Year 7 in 2020. Obviously on a night such as this there is a touch of nervousness and even a little anxiety in the room. Our newest parents attempt to absorb the information they need to know to support their sons in making that, not inconsiderable, leap from primary to secondary school. In an attempt to allay these feelings of apprehension we asked a couple of our Year 7 boys to speak about their experience of starting at Marcellin. The responses of these boys demonstrated great empathy and understanding for their audience. They spoke with great confidence about their own nervousness and worry as they commenced secondary school. They also spoke glowingly about how the older students and staff supported them to feel at home here through the relationships they built in their pastoral groups and beyond.

On Thursday evening I attended the final music concert for the year. It was a great privilege to watch and listen as a group of highly talented and passionate young men present themselves to an enthusiastic audience and produced a highly entertaining and skilful performance. I was particularly impressed with the way our senior musicians supported and encouraged their junior counterparts through word and action. What a wonderful example our senior students demonstrated not purely through their skill but more importantly through their understanding that music is not only an individual pursuit but one which is often best enjoyed in the company of others. I was particularly overwhelmed by our VCE music performance students who displayed great discipline, resilience and determination in having reached such a high standard.

On Friday morning I wandered into the Functions room and witnessed a gathering of over 150 chess enthusiasts from schools across Melbourne participating in a battle of strategy and skill. On Saturday morning I observed a similar number of students from our AGSV schools drawing on different skills and strategies as they participated in the second round of the AGSV summer season. The same passion and motivation, just though a different vehicle. On each occasion our students performed with great sportsmanship and generosity. Both activities equally celebrated and supported. Both opportunities were equally beneficial not just in terms of the skills honed or results gained, but more importantly in relationships built and confidence developed.

The Marcellin vision statement tells us that Marcellin is a place where opportunities are provided in the way of Champagnat and partnerships are formed to support our students to grow to become fine young men. I believe that we are well on the way to success in this endeavour.

Mark Murphy