Principal's Blog - 27 October 2016
Dear members of the Marcellin College Family,
Last week saw the conclusion of formal classes for the Class of 2016. On Tuesday morning a generous group of Year Twelve parents arrived very early in the morning to cook a BBQ breakfast for our boys. Following the breakfast and a final assembly our departing students attended a mass in the College Chapel celebrated by Fr Gerry McKernan, Parish Priest of St Kevin’s Templestowe. The mass provided a wonderful opportunity for prayer and reflection as the boys enter the all-important examination period. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Year Twelve students on the way they attended to their Celebration day. I was particularly encouraged by the way they supported their teachers and for the way they participated in their final mass in the College Chapel. The boys singing of the Sub Tuum and Power of your love lifted the roof off!
On Friday evening the Class of 2016 accompanied by their parents and many staff of the College, gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral to give thanks to God for the many blessings and opportunities they have received over the past six years. This coming together of these fine young men at the home of the Catholic Church in Melbourne was significant in that it was the same place that, six years ago these same boys gathered with their families as they were inducted as the newest students of our College. The mass was celebrated by Monsignor Tony Ireland, Parish Priest of St Gregory. Monsignor Ireland delivered one of the most thoughtful and inspiring homilies I have heard at a Valedictory mass. He spoke about the symbol of the eagle as one which can inspire us to live our lives with virtue and courage. The mass was thoughtfully prepared by Carolyn Young and the Colleges Ministry Team and beautifully supported by Fiona Dyball - Director of Music and Ensembles and the Champagnat Choir. At the conclusion of mass each boy was presented to myself and Mr Paul Herrick - Regional Director of Marist Schools Australia (Southern Region) and former Principal of Marcellin, acknowledging the completion of their studies at the College.
Following mass our graduating class, their families, special guests and staff attended the Grand Hyatt to celebrate their years at Marcellin and to acknowledge their achievements and efforts through the announcement of a number of significant awards.
Throughout the evening I was struck by the tangible sense of community I felt as well as reflecting on how fortunate our boys are to have so many people in their lives both at home and at school who have guided and supported them throughout their time at the College. I reflected too on the many dedicated staff who made this evening a memorable and special one for all involved. I would like to particularly acknowledge the staff who attended, the House Coordinators who supported the boys, Nick Moloney - AP (Operations) who looked after some of the logistical arrangements for the evening, Clive Haese - Head of Senior School for his skilled leadership of the Class of 2016 and Adriano Di Prato whose devotion to these boys means that he left no stone unturned in providing a deeply meaningful and dignified experience for the graduating Class of 2016. Finally I wish to express my gratitude to Sian Cameron – PA to the Leadership Team who quietly, efficiently and effectively coordinated many aspects of this most special of occasions.
Below I have printed my speech for the evening which captures much of the hopes and prayers I have for the Class of 2016 as well as the gratitude I feel for the parents of these boys who placed their faith in our College and who have walked alongside our boys with loving commitment throughout their lives.
Principal’s Valedictory Address 2016
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is great to be here with you as together we celebrate the efforts and achievements of the Class of 2016 and give thanks to God and all here present for the support, opportunities and blessings these young men have received during their six years as members of the Marcellin College family.
This year I have been very fortunate to travel to a number of places throughout the world as part of my enrichment leave. The main aim of this experience was to allow me time and space to focus on developing and enriching my beliefs and spirituality as the faith leader of Marcellin College.
Travel provides rich opportunities to broaden our perspective, to develop understanding and empathy for people of other lands and traditions and it provides us with the chance to reflect on our place in the world. For these reasons and many others I encourage you young men to travel whenever you get the chance.
Apart from the incredible breath of learning and knowledge which I gained in my time away there was one important lesson which kept entering my mind as I journeyed along… There’s no place like home. It sounds cliché but it is true!
Home is not only where we find security, familiarity, warmth and love it is also where we find our sense of purpose and meaning. It is where we turn to in difficult or uncertain times in order to ground ourselves and to seek support and advice which we can trust. Home provides us with a firm platform from which we can leap into the unknown and it is a place we always know we can come back to, a place where we are known for who we are, not what we have done.
I think Pulitzer prize author John Ed Pearce sums it up beautifully when he said… Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.
Home is a place of peace, a sanctuary from a troubled world. It is place where you can be yourself without fear of ridicule, where you can laugh or cry without judgement. Perhaps some of this might ring true for you as young men of Marcellin.
For the past six years Marcellin College has been your second home, your home away from home. A place where, as St Marcellin suggests, you are loved and loved equally. You may not have always felt it but it was always there. At our recent open day I asked one of the Year 7 boys to tell the parents what being part of a pastoral group is like. He said, without hesitation, that pastoral is like home, “our Pastoral Leader is like our parent and the other boys like my brothers.”
Being part of a family has its challenges but I can say without fear of contradiction that each of you has enhanced your Marcellin home. Your presence here has made a significant difference. You leave a legacy flavoured by a passion and love for your school and for each other which in my time at Marcellin is unparalleled. I am grateful to you, for all you have done to make Marcellin a better place for those who come after you.
I am grateful also to your parents who six years ago made a leap of faith in entrusting their most precious gift to us to nurture and educate. But parents, you have not been passive in this action. You have worked with us, walked with us, sometimes confidently, sometimes with uncertainty but you have done so all the same and along the way given us great encouragement and confidence to support your sons to become the fine young men we see here today.
Now it’s time for you boys to leave your Marcellin home. To go out into the world and be what St Marcellin and all of us here at Marcellin know you will be, good Christians and good Citizens. But know that your home will always be here. Oliver Wendell Holmes said “Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” Boys you are definitely loved here at Marcellin and this place will always be your home whenever you need it.
On behalf of our College community I thank you for the positive legacy you leave for those who will follow. I thank the many staff who have taught, supported and cared for you and have been inspiring models of service and love. I especially thank your parents for the faith they have shown in making the decision to have you educated in this great school. Mostly, I thank you for sustaining and inspiring me every day through your words and actions. I have no doubt that you leave our College the better for you having been here.
I would like to conclude tonight by reading a blessing that Fr John wrote for the graduating class of Marcellin. It sums up all that we hope for each one of you. As the last boys of Marcellin who knew Father John personally I think it is especially poignant that I read it to you this evening. This is from Fr John…
Congratulations Class of 2016. Thank you for your friendship and your encouragement. I pray on this night that your future will be all that tonight you are praying it will be. We join you in your prayer, your hopes and your dreams and we ask St Marcellin to pray for these young men, their teachers and their families.
Go well young men of Marcellin and remember Virtute ad Altissima.