Uniforms and more
In a pastoral letter to the people of the Diocese of Parramatta, Bishop Vincent Long spoke of being ‘first and always a community of disciples following our one master, Jesus Christ. We are not the church of one particular leader, be it Pope Francis or Cardinal Pell or any other bishop’. He remarked that ‘we are the living Body of Christ made up of saints and sinners’. Bishop Long called for humility, and a letting go of superiority, privilege, and power.
I have heard Bishop Long speak a number of times and each time I am impressed with his ability in few words to cut through, to say it as it should be said and to say what needs to be said at the time. This has been a dreadful week for the Catholic Church and this week follows a dreadful five years. It is our great sorrow for the victims of child sexual abuse that is at the heart of our dismay. These crimes should never have been committed especially by a church that should have been protecting the young.
Last Friday, I had one of those great positive experiences in life. One I had not been expecting. My whole day was set to listen to four school uniform companies put forward their thoughts on the Kindergarten to Year 12 school uniform for Marist Catholic College North Shore. Not a simple matter in that it included girls and boys, infants, primary, junior and senior secondary, summer, winter, sports, accessories such as bags, scarves and more. I could not have imagined a worse day. Hours of conversation about fabric, fashion, skorts vs culottes.
Our journey with the uniform is only just beginning. Our group on Friday consisted of Bev Coffey, Principal of St Mary’s Catholic Primary and three mothers. I won’t name them for their personal safety at this stage. Two of the mothers have sons at our school and daughters who will be joining us. One of the mothers has children who are much younger and will be making this their school into the future.
After a couple of presentations, I could not believe my personal transformation. I was asking questions of thread count, shades of colours and was very enthused with the experience. I think what happened was that I gained a glimpse of the future with children and young people dressed in this uniform studying at this college. Young adults dressed in these new, smart colours benefitting from our traditions and yet finding new ways of being Marist.
It is early days in the uniform discussions. We are very keen to bring parents, students and teachers along in this process. We have not made big decisions yet but are very interested in the creativity of two of the manufacturing companies. I may have found my calling in life.
Sadly, this week we will farewell our outstanding English Coordinator, Janette Durand. Janette is a great English teacher, coordinator, and member of staff. She has built the English Faculty into being a strong and effective team. Under her leadership, our HSC results have shown outstanding success. Each year HSC English students at the various levels have shown strong growth when compared to their expected performances. This was Janette’s seventh year of coordinating English at Marist. Janette is moving to become the English Coordinator at an independent girls’ school.
Ms. Candice Green will take over from Janette. Candice has a strong record of teaching and leading English and will commence at Marist at the beginning of Term 2.