Principal's Blog - 10 November 2016

07 Nov 2016

Dear members of the Marcellin College family,

In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat, A Vision for Marist Education Today is a document that provides all of us who are called to work in a Marist Educational environment with a set of guiding principles for working with, walking with and educating young people. It suggests that the primary mission of a Marist school is as a centre of learning, of life, and of evangelising. As a school it leads students “to learn to know, to be competent, to live together, and most especially to grow as persons”. Every day I am privileged to see this mission come to life here at Marcellin through the many programs, events and opportunities provided to our boys. More importantly, I see it through the positive, respectful and supportive interactions between teachers and students.

Last week I witnessed an uplifting example of our shared Marist Educational philosophy at work at an encounter with our talented VCAL students. The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning is a qualification equal to the Victorian Certificate of Education which supports those who wish to pursue pathways in more practical careers and vocations. It gives students practical work related skills, as well as the literacy, numeracy and personal skills they need to take them into further training or their ideal job. VCAL is a rigorous program which calls on students to develop mature skills and abilities which will prepare them for the world of work and is designed as a study program that suits their individual interests and learning needs.

Last week provided a practical example of the great achievements and learning of our VCAL students with the opening of a pizza oven constructed from scratch by the boys themselves. The learning involved in bringing this project to fruition was immense and called on the boys to use all of the practical and theoretical skills they had developed through the course.

It was very encouraging to see the pride and sense of ownership and accomplishment on the faces of the students as they unveiled the result of their toil and effort. The event itself was also a great celebration of community as the boys put on a spectacular pizza lunch for their teachers – there are not many things tastier than a freshly prepared pizza from a wood fired oven, and these were no exception!

In speaking with those gathered I suggested to the VCAL students that after witnessing them at work throughout the project and seeing the finished result the word Applied in the VCAL acronym could be replaced by many other words. It could just as aptly be named the Victorian Certificate of Collaborative Learning or the Victorian Certificate of Taking Initiative or of Team  Building or  Problem Solving. I also suggested that the building of a pizza oven would be a lasting legacy for our College community but it would not be the only thing these boys would be remembered for.

The efforts of these young men pave the way for those who come after. They have set a wonderful example for the next group of students who will take up the challenge of the VCAL pathway. To that end I am particularly grateful to the VCAL staff who have walked alongside our students this year providing them with innovative, creative and engaging learning opportunities and who have supported them as they have juggled the complexity of study, TAFE and work commitments. Thanks particularly to Peter Baldwin, Coordinator of VCAL, Kevin Kelly, Coordinator of VET, Dora Karas, Careers Practitioner and the dedicated VCAL teachers; Ben Frize, Susan Kiernan, Luke Getson, Christina Gallichio and John Meagher. I am very grateful for the passion, dedication and commitment they show to this significant program in the life of Marcellin College. Most importantly I am grateful for the way this program truly lives out the Marist educational philosophy of learning to know, be competent, to live together and most especially grow as persons.

Mark Murphy