Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Farewell to Our Year 8 Students

Last night we held the inaugural prize giving for St Francis of Assisi Catholic school. For those who were unable to make I have decided to post the speech that I made because there are messages in that we think everyone would like to hear...

Mr Music, Members of the Board of Trustees, Staff, Parents and friends of St Francis of Assisi Catholic school and of course our wonderful students

You are the people that make up the community of St Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

What a fabulous opportunity we have all had this year, it has come after a number of years of challenge for many of you.

Challenges always come to prepare you for the great things that are coming your way.

Often the best view comes after the hardest climb.

When I accepted this role as Principal of St Francis I knew I would face some challenges. I consider it a privilege to have been welcomed into this community as Principal and to lead the establishment of this new school. At this point I want to thank the establishment BOT Alison Wilkie, Tom Music, Bill Morgan, Matt Tippen, Liz Gardiner  and our Governance Facilitator Terri Johnstone - your support throughout my first few months in this role was unwavering and I am very thankful to have had your expertise and backing.

I would also like to thank our new BOT so ably led by our Bot chairperson Tom Music - Jo Byrne, Katherine Eveleigh, Jonathan Mckenzie, Carol Dean, Clare Bell, Tania Ellenbroek, Richard Mackay . Thanks for putting your hand up and making our a school a priority. Your time and input is valued. I am enjoying working with all of you.

It is parents and school working together that make this community special, it is the commitment of Tom Music and the BOT, Kim Goggin and the PTA and the support of the Parish that make this community special, and it is you - the parents who also make our school community special - thank you to all of you.

If we are doing our job of being a truly Catholic school, then the philosophy behind the school, the ethos we should have, the way we do things should be distinctively Catholic.

I would like to thank Father Simon and Father Paul for all that they do to help us be distinctively Catholic. We appreciate the support and guidance you both provide.

Education in a Catholic school is based around the belief that our Creator made each one of us with all our gifts and talents and abilities.

Because we believe that God created each one of us, we try to respect each person, and to teach them about the rights and responsibilities that each of us has.

The Catholic school philosophy is built on the Gospel values that Jesus modelled to us.

Parents and teachers work with each child to discover and develop their God given talents.

We try to help students experience the support, responsibility and sense of achievement that can come from working in teams and communities.

Every day you parents hand off your children, your most cherished possessions to us. Each of your individual children is special and loved.

Sitting here tonight you can be assured that St Francis is the right place for your children to be. St Francis is an exciting, stimulating and challenging place. We’ve lived through many challenges, we’ve demonstrated our resilience and now is the time to move on. We are inspired to move forward.

At St Francis we have teachers in front of your children who are, in partnership with you the parents dedicated to teaching the whole person.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff - teachers and support staff, the foundation staff of St Francis of Assisi school - we are very lucky to have staff with such a high level of enthusiasm and expertise. Every decision that has been made, every activity that has been planned, every action has been carried out - has happened  with the learner - your children - at the centre.

Walt Disney once said “you can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful idea in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality. This is certainly the case at our school. The learning experiences that have taken place this year could not have happened without a  great deal of commitment  and support from a lot of different areas - your children are at the heart of this.

From day one, by design, everyone who teaches at St Francis shares the common commitment to deliver the curriculum in a way that will best suit the needs of our children. We are blessed with this wonderful environment. Here we guide your children to develop the competencies that they will need to become critical thinking and actively involved citizens in this ever changing world. This means that curriculum delivery will look different from the way it was when you went to school - and this is a good thing.

We are really proud of the fact that we are among the forerunners in introducing innovative practice. Already Staff from other schools are visiting and observing our teachers practice to help them develop their own innovations. We are upping the anti on this next year as we roll out the 1-1 Chromebook initiative from Year 5-8.

Technology is a game changer for educators. Preparing our students not only to be digitally savvy, but leveraging these technologies to help them create, communicate, connect and collaborate will prepare them to be contributing citizens to their future. We have the opportunity to bring the world to the classroom everyday. I would be excited to have this opportunity as a learner, but I am even more excited as an educator. We have the means to create opportunities where our students not only learn, but connect with people around the globe.

At St Francis we have a group of professionals who are constantly striving to ensure that we are abreast of best practice in 21 century education… and it  has been my pleasure to work with this dedicated group of people during 2016.

In particular I want to acknowledge the Senior Leadership team. Maire Bowler and Sarah Burrowes - you have both worked so hard this year and with such vision - you have guided and supported staff…. What a privilege it has been to work so closely with both of you this year.

Sadly tonight we farewell some of our teachers as they seek other opportunities.

Ali Ward -  Ali has been our Reading Recovery teacher and has worked in Learning Support this year. She is taking up the opportunity to work closer to home next year. We thank you Ali and wish you well for you start at Oaklands in 2017.

Melissa Burtenshaw - Melissa has been working in our Paiaka Hub this year and has secured a permanent job at Marshland School. We congratulate you Melissa, you have made a great start to your teaching career and we wish you well.

Carly Burgess, Carly came to us half way through the year and very quickly became an integral member of the Tumu Hub. She is staying in the Catholic system but is off to  Melbourne. Thanks Carly - we have enjoyed having you here and wish you well.

Charlotte Parish - Charlotte originally came to St francis for  the first term however we managed to persuade her to stay for the year and we are so glad we did. Charlotte is taking some time to work on growing her family business next year but we are not ruling out the fact that we might see her in the future. We wish you well for next year - and we really hope to have you back here in the future.

Sarah Burrowes - Sarah has been an integral member of the Senior Leadership team this year. Sarah has had the fantastic opportunity to move with her partner to Gore to establish a business there. Sarah has also secured an Assistant Principal role at West Gore School. Sarah, I want to thank you for your commitment right to the end, your loyalty to St Francis School, the staff and especially the senior leadership team. We are really happy for you and wish you well for this next phase in your life - however you will be greatly missed.

Even though these five staff are leaving - they will always be linked to us as foundation staff members fo St Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

Year 8 Leavers
And now to our Year 8 students - tomorrow will be your last day at Primary school - Our future seems destined to be in capable hands - this year  as will be highlighted in the awards part of our evening our Year 8’s have achieved great things - too many to highlight or single out suffice to say that these students have aimed high, set their goals and for the most part not only achieved them but surpassed them.

Tonight is a celebration of your graduation - from Wednesday you will not be a student at St Francis but always remember you will never cease to be a foundation student of  St Francis.
As you face and tackle the inevitable challenges - hold true to yourselves. Be distinctively Catholic - Remember to hold onto your value system, your work ethic and most importantly your humanity. It is these qualities that will guide you further on your journey.
Remember the best view often comes after the hardest climb - and it is your attitude along the way that will make all the difference.

I wish you all a happy and holy Christmas and thank you for your presence here tonight.

Thank you.