Dear Members of the Kolbe Catholic College Community
We are half way through Term 1 and the Year 7s have contended with settling into new subjects, getting to know new teachers and establishing new friendships. I believe they have handled it very well and I would like to congratulate all of the them. I would also like to congratulate the Year 12s who have helped the Year 7 girls and boys to settle in.
I hope the Year 7s have found Kolbe a welcoming community and that they have gained an understanding of what it means to be a part of a Catholic school informed by the life of Maximilian Kolbe. We aspire to be people of faith, courage and compassion. If we focus on the ideal of “compassion” we must keep challenging our young people to look beyond themselves and ask how they are standing in solidarity with others. The opportunities for justice and solidarity at Kolbe cannot be artificial or ‘add-ons’. For example, Kolbe has an exceptional commitment to working with and walking alongside refugees. We should be proud of the fact that a couple of years ago a technician from Sharp Edge, Hume Highway Campbellfield was onsite fixing some machinery in Wood Tech and he was so impressed by the work that we are doing with students that he refused to charge for his labour. Our ongoing challenge is to recognise and promote the cause of fair treatment of refugees beyond our school gates within an Australian context.
I believe the students come to school and experience compassion without even realising it. Herein lies the challenge! If bullying occurs at school, then our students are missing the point. Sometimes bullying can be related to race or even gender. Movements around the world are attempting to address inequities related to gender. March 8th was International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. And here I sit, talking to you, a middle aged, balding man in a senior leadership position in a patriarchal society, which fundamentally means I am part of the problem rather than the solution. You need to be the judge of this. Whatever I say to you now, words are not enough. Too many senior leaders just talk. I can only hope that actions at Kolbe speak louder than words. That the structures for staff are equitable and if not, people feel comfortable to challenge the status quo. That the Respectful Relationships program in which students are engaged will see meaningful change in our community when it comes to equity and respect.
Let us make next week an opportunity to not only thank the women in our lives for all that they do but to action change to make our society more equitable.
Finally, our students competed and enjoyed a day of inter-house swimming on Monday. I take this opportunity to commend them all on their positive attitude. The day highlighted our young women and men’s cooperation with each other and staff, the emerging leadership qualities of the Student Leaders and the passion the students possess for their House.