Back together again
Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends,
We have welcomed back all boys this week and it has been a welcome sight. The staff are so happy to have them back and teaching face-to-face. The boys seem to be happy socialising and getting back into the swing of things as we reconnect as a community, a family - a Marist family.
In reflecting upon the journey we have taken as a community over the last two months, and as we come to the reporting period for all students in Years 7-10. I read a piece from “The Southern Cross introduction to Marcellin Champagnat”. In it is written:
It is often said that a champion team achieves more than a team of champions. Players who act as though everything depends on them can be bad news for a team. Likewise, when we aim to do God’s work, it is a recipe for failure if particular individuals think that the action must focus mainly on them. Marcellin knew this only too well. Very early he realised that without God’s help he would achieve little. Learning was at first difficult for him so when he felt attracted to the priesthood his lack of formal education was a major obstacle. However, he was unyielding in his resolve to become a priest and would not be deterred from what he believed was his vocation.
In his first year at the seminary he was judged ‘unsatisfactory’ and had to rely on his mother and well-placed friends to persuade the authorities to allow him to return for a second year. Had there not been such a desperate shortage of priests in post-revolutionary France, it is very likely that men like St. John Vianney, the ‘Patron of Priests’ and St. Marcellin Champagnat would not have been ordained.
Marcellin had eight scholastically demanding years at the Minor Seminary before moving to the Major Seminary near Lyon for a final three years of study. There he became a strongly committed member of a group constituting the nucleus of the future Society of Mary. They were headed by an older member of the group, Jean-Claude Courveille. Though talented and personable he was no ‘team player’. Although he saw himself as the leader of the Marists, events demonstrated that he was too self-centred to be a leader. This was a principal cause of problems leading to his being excluded from the early group of Marists.
Incidents of this kind only reinforced a conviction that Marcellin long held. He was attracted to the thoughts expressed by King Solomon in the ancient Hewbrew poem we know as Psalm 127. In today’s terms Marcellin might say that people working for God need to be on God’s wavelength. To a sympathetic friend, Father Gardette, he wrote: “If I tried to list my troubles, I wouldn’t know where to start. More than ever I see the truth of what the royal prophet says,
If the Lord does not build the house,
they who work on it labour in vain.
If the Lord does not safeguard the city,
The vigilance of guards will not save it.
If the Lord does not bless the task
toiling long hours is of little avail;
But rest and sleep neither halt nor hinder
the work of those who trust in the Lord” (Ps 127: Nisi Dominus)
Though the poem is from an ancient culture, the message of the first part is clear: When we are trying to do God’s work human activity can achieve only so much … the efforts of workers must be inspired and shaped by what God wants.
We as a community must remember to team up with God. Many of you have worked hard whilst at home, some of you have not worked as hard as you probably could have. Some of you found it extremely difficult to work remotely by yourself and some of you loved it and have excelled. However the experience went for you, it is now time for reflection on where you are at and how you worked. What influences around you allowed you to engage with your work or disengage? Did you take time to nurture your mind, body and spirit while you were away from school?
Gentlemen, how will you now contribute to helping build our Marist school community academically - what are your expectations of yourself and others? How will you work to achieve these expectations?
It takes a village to raise a child and we are responsible for each other here and our own actions. High expectations are key to success - belief in oneself is key to success.
I spoke to Year 12 this week about “Falling Forward”. This essentially means we take chances, we take risks, we fail over and over and over again. We have the guts to do this because we know where we’re falling - forward - to success in the HSC and more importantly beyond the HSC, to the life they’ll lead beyond school as Marist men.
We don’t fall back on anything because we can’t see what we’re going to hit, we fall forward so we know where we’re headed.
The message for all boys is that failure is great, because in taking the risk to fail, to lose, to embarrass yourself you’re trying, you’re learning!
The College has today surveyed all students in Years 7 -11 on their experiences of remote learning. We ask students to take the time to truly reflect upon how they went - being open and honest with themselves - fall forward boys.
Subject Selection Live Webinar - Youtube
For parents with boys in Years 8 & 10, we are trying something different and will be hosting a live webinar on youtube on Wednesday 10 June at 5:30 pm. This will complement the videos that have already been created and placed on Canvas, through the Curriculum and Learning @MCNS course.
You can access the live webinar at https://youtu.be/G_meDLq-elc