Dear St Joseph’s College community,
Whether you are an Old Boy, current student, current or past parent or a friend and supporter of the College, Term One 2020 has been a testing time for all. If 2020 was any other year, in these recent weeks the boys would have been full of excitement leading into the Easter break. Holy Week liturgies would have taken place, we would have seen the commencement of winter sport, with the Park filled with boys and families enjoying rugby, football, AFL and cross country trials across the weekends. And our Year 7 and 8 boys and their grandparents would have come together with much excitement for the annual Grandparents’ Day.
Afternoons at the College would have consisted of boys kicking balls around on the back ovals and groups busy with study in the Br Liguori Resources Centre. Our talented musicians would have been busy practising in their ensembles and bands ahead of the Gala Concert in July, and a number of our students would have been busy packing their bags, and parents pulling together last minute essentials, ahead of the immersions to both Tanzania and the Philippines.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worked its way across the globe, weaving its way into the lives of us all. Joeys, like the rest of the world, has continued to adapt to the challenges presented. On 23 March 2020, St Joseph’s College, in line with advice from the Premier, NSW Health, Catholic Schools NSW and Marist Schools Australia, made the decision to transition from face-to-face teaching to alternate offsite learning arrangements. The decision to initiate the transition to offsite learning was a difficult one, and came about through much consideration, but was made to particularly allow for the parents and carers of our 516 weekly and full boarders to facilitate the process of returning home, free of the apprehensions and concern that may have eventuated in the event of a possible confirmed case of COVID-19 at the College.
Joeys is more than bricks and mortar, it exists well beyond the College gates and the Park. It exists through a community that stretches from Sydney to Dubbo, Mildura to Mungindi, and far and beyond our little patch in Hunters Hill.DR CHRIS HAYES – HEADMASTER
Joeys is more than bricks and mortar, it exists well beyond the College gates and the Park. It exists through a community that stretches from Sydney to Dubbo, Mildura to Mungindi, and far and beyond our little patch in Hunters Hill. Now, across NSW and abroad, there are 1100 boys from Year 7 to 12 who continue to exemplify the Joeys spirit at home. Lounge rooms, studies and living rooms have been converted into makeshift classrooms, whilst kitchen and dining room tables are now places where our teachers, support staff and co-ordinators continue to provide the very best possible learning experience for our boys.
The boys have always been at the heart of everything we do at the College. We are here to lift up the boys, entrusted to us by their families, to find genuine fulfilment, happiness and security in their lives. I would like to sincerely thank all of the boys of St Joseph’s College for the way in which they have continued to conduct themselves throughout these difficult times. They have done their school, their families and our community proud.
To all of my colleagues, from the teachers to the coaches, the support staff, health care and wellbeing staff, as well as those in catering and maintenance, who work so hard to make Joeys the safe and supportive school that generations have come to know and trust, I express my deepest gratitude. To the numerous parents and staff who volunteered to assist and care for boys in the event of a confirmed case, possibly putting their own health and wellbeing at risk, the College community extends its admiration and profound appreciation.
Joeys is different from other schools, there is a warmth here that I haven’t experienced elsewhere throughout my career. There is a pride that is shared by all of those who have come through the College, and even upon graduation no one really leaves. There is a tangible spirit that binds and connects us, and I am continually in awe at the generosity, compassion and empathy amongst you all. There will be many examples of this supportive spirit in the weeks and months ahead, and already there have been some truly inspiring examples of selflessness.
St Joseph’s College is a Catholic school in the Marist tradition, and the Marist Charism is the very values that are central to everything we do. In these unprecedented times, we look to these values of Family Spirit and In the Way of Mary, where we strive to nurture, to teach, to gather, to pray, to reconcile, and to journey with young people, giving them a reason and means to believe, to hope and to love.
COVID-19 will forever leave its mark on our society, as it continues to change and shape our future, but with each and every day that we progress, I gain great encouragement that our community will forge ahead as it has done so well since 1881. I thank you for your continued support of our College throughout these testing times.
Let us take time to reflect during this Holy Week and remember the joyous Easter message as we look forward to a bright and hopeful future. Please be assured of our continued prayers for you and your families, and for the continued health and wellbeing of our community.
In Meliora Contende
Strive for Better Things
Dr Chris Hayes
St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill