Principal's Blog - 7 February 2019

04 Feb 2019

Dear members of the Marcellin College family,

It is with great excitement and anticipation that I welcome you to the 2019 academic year here at Marcellin College. I would especially like to welcome those families who are new to our school. It is my hope and prayer that your time in this community is a rewarding, happy and fulfilling one.

During the Christmas break I was fortunate to spend some time at the beach. Most days I would go surfing early in the morning. I must admit to not being a very good surfer. However, just immersing myself in a bit of salt water therapy was as good for the body and soul as catching a decent wave. Often, I would watch the other surfers and I was in awe of how they could “carve up” a wave with the balance of a tightrope walker and the grace of a ballet dancer. There were others however, like me who were less graceful, to say the least. On one occasion, a young surfer paddled passed me and said, “Hey mate I saw you take off on that last wave. If you just lift your eyes more in the direction you want to go and not look down at your board you will get better balance”. At first, I was a bit taken aback. Who was this young fellow to tell me how to surf! I have been surfing longer than he had been alive! Anyway, as I caught the next wave I did what the young man suggested and he was right, my balance did improve and I felt a greater sense of confidence and balance in what I was doing.

Embracing change is one of the most difficult things we can do in life. We can become suspicious of change and even a little jaded by it. The argument for change can be difficult to accept even from those we know and trust. This was brought home to me even more acutely in the Gospel from this week’s Sunday mass. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus attempts to deliver a message of change to the people of his own home town. People who had known he and his parents for many years. Not only did they reject his message they attempted to throw him off a cliff!

Change is not just about doing things differently. It often requires a transformational change of heart, even a spiritual conversion. In our Christian tradition we call this deeper type of change Metanoia. This year at Marcellin we are embarking on a change in the way we present learning in our community. It is the type of change which will require a Metanoia – a transformative change of heart – for many in our community.

Embarking on a change process requires a strong understanding of the need for it. The most futile change is that which happens purely for the sake of it. Following an extensive review of learning in 2018 we concluded that many of our students are not achieving to their full potential due to issues of engagement, ownership, relevance and belief or confidence. Our new learning program, Polaris, will attempt to address these issues to fully support the growth of our young men.  

Shortly you will receive a document which will outline the change to our learning program which will be rolled out over a three-year period commencing in 2020. Having said that, our staff dedicate themselves everyday to the engagement of their students in learning and much of what this new learning program will bring is already being produced in classrooms across the College.

So this year I plan to follow the advice of the young surfer. Lift your eyes more in the direction you wish to go rather than looking down at your feet and you will achieve greater balance and success.

I leave you today with a quote from the American author and journalist Gail Sheehy which say much about the sort of change we are trying to achieve at Marcellin.

If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we are not really livingGail Sheehy

Mark Murphy