Dear St Joseph’s College community,
It has been some weeks since I addressed the Joeys community as a whole, and I would like to take this opportunity to pass on my sincere thanks for the many messages of support, encouragement and appreciation that have been received from our current parents, past parents, Old Boys and friends of the College.
May is traditionally the month we celebrate Mary, our good Mother, and we continue to pray for her protection and guidance of our Marist College.
This week marks another milestone in the history of the College, as on Monday for the first time since late March 2020, face-to-face classes have recommenced here at the College. Our Year 12 boys have now resumed their classes with great enthusiasm and a rejuvenated motivation for their education. Additionally, as of last Sunday night, a number of our Year 12 boarders from remote and regional areas have resumed their boarding at the College.
Although this marks a significant moment, I take comfort that the vast majority of our students are diligently continuing their online learning at home with their families, facilitated by their teachers. All of us at the College look forward to welcoming all of our boys back in the coming weeks. Next Monday, 18 May, our Year 7 and 11 students will recommence classes onsite, with the boys in Years 8, 9 and 10 following a week later on Monday, 25 May. I know that all of our students are missing the face-to-face interaction with their mates and their teachers, as well as the great joy and connectedness that each of them experience within our warm and uplifting community.
As an educator, my hope has always been that students enjoy their learning experience, that they appreciate the gift that has been bestowed by their parents to provide that education, and that they thrive and develop through the guidance of passionate and dedicated teachers.
“For all of the complexities that offsite learning has brought, families have spoken of the simple pleasures of having their family together as one”.DR CHRIS HAYES – HEADMASTER
In my time as Headmaster at this great College, I have been witness to many occasions where the character, determination and compassion of our boys are on full display, and it leaves me with a great sense of pride to see the practical ways in which our Marist virtues of presence, simplicity, family spirit, love of work and In the way of Mary are on full display, particularly whilst our boys have continued their learning offsite in the care of their families.
For all of the pain, anxiety, challenges and sadness experienced by so many across the globe, this period of isolation and containment has also brought joyous and memorable experiences into many households. For all of the complexities that offsite learning has brought, families have spoken of the simple pleasures of having their family together as one, and doing basic things together, such as family meals without other distractions, family walks or bike rides, games nights, and connecting in new ways and learning more about their sons.
For most families, this has been the first time that they have been able to see more closely and in greater detail the lesson by lesson Joeys education in action. Parents and carers have also seen qualities in their sons, such as resilience, initiative and dedication, that have come to the surface as their boys tackled a new way of learning. Whether it was in their bedrooms, at the kitchen table or, for one regional Joeys boy, on the front seat of his grandfather’s car parked high on a hill for mobile reception, our young men have displayed a ‘never give up’ motivation and desire to continue to learn, without excuse or limitation.
As we now transition back to full onsite learning and work towards resuming full onsite operations, let us continue to reflect on our experiences during this historic period in time and what we have learnt from those experiences and, in turn, how we apply that learning to shape and contribute to a better future for our College and the broader community. We will continue to provide practical support to those families who have been adversely affected by the emotional and economic impacts of COVID-19.
As our College Prayer reminds us, let us never be content with mediocrity, but always aim high, set our sights on noble goals and prize the things that are worthwhile as we look forward to a future full of hope.
In Meliora Contende
Strive for Better Things
Dr Chris Hayes
St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill