13th December 2018
Dear O’Loughlin Community,
Thank you for a wonderful year.
We have celebrated our achievements and successes at our Presentation Afternoon and I thought to share with you all my speech that reflects on the year.
Good Afternoon All,
Welcome and thank you to our students, staff, families and friends for sharing in this important and special event for the College.
Thank you and welcome Bishop Charles Gauci, who only in September became the new Bishop of the Diocese of Darwin.
Welcome Mr Greg O’Mullane (Director of Catholic Education NT), and to our Chair of the Board, Kim Leslie and all Board Members. And to all Special Guests who will help present our Awards tonight, welcome and thank you for joining us.
Once again, it is a privilege to be here tonight to speak about, and reflect on, our Year. 2018 has been exciting and busy. We have worked with energy to overcome challenges and achieve many successes. We are continuing to build and strengthen our community - a community of faith and support, respect and trust. Our Catholic Ethos guides us and we hope to fulfill our Vision to Make Us One in Christ.
Our students, teachers, staff and families work together to build this community. And while we do so, we set our expectations high and are witnessing many achievements. Our academic successes have continued to grow, and we are excited in expectation of our Year 12 results, our Vocational Education and Training achievements are outstanding and our students and teachers shine across all areas of schooling life.
What is particularly important is that while our students determinedly work toward achieving their goals, they also realise the importance of building their strong sense of self, of self-worth, resiliency, creativity and empathy. It continues to be a real privilege to be walking side by side with our students as they grow into strong, mature and responsible adults.
I was speaking to my great friend Margie Flynn the other day about O’Loughlin as a Catholic School. She shared that what is distinctive about us and other Catholic Schools is that we try to integrate the religious and spiritual development of students within the general education. We provide a religious education in which growth in faith is nurtured within the development of the whole person - not as icing on the cake, but as the yeast which, from within, gives form and direction to the whole educational process. I think this is a beautiful analogy.
It was an emotional time in particular this year for me as we congratulated and farewelled the Graduating Class of 2018. After 6 years of O’Loughlin life this amazing group, and my daughter, are ready to take on the world. I could not have asked for more for my daughter. She and the group have been able to become the people they are through the support and care given from our Community - the staff, students and families. The group will no doubt make a very positive impact on the world in years to come.
There are exciting times ahead. We will continue to improve and develop our teaching and learning to maximize our potential. We will continue to give every student the opportunity to be the best they can be!
It was a great day when we returned in Term Three to find the front of the school redeveloped. The entrance has made a huge difference and I thank all those involved for your work on the project.
We also are very pleased to see the building of our new Sports Precinct begin. By the start of Term Two, we will be able to reap the benefits of the facility. Thanks to the Board Committee and our team for
persisting with this project – it will certainly make a big difference.
Our staff have been incredibly hard working and supportive and I thank them all. Fortunately for us, there will be little change in teaching staff next year. Unfortunately, the one leaving is a big one! Debra Bonde has been our Head of Senior School and what an impact she has had over the past three years. She leaves to take up the Position of Head of Yr 7-9 Campus at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in Melbourne. This brings her closer to family and is a wonderful opportunity for an amazing person. Thank you Deb for all you have done for us and we wish you all the very best!
Congratulations to all Award Winners tonight. You reflect to us the importance of energy, commitment, determination and enthusiasm for your schooling. You are role models for our community and deserve all the accolades. Never lose sight of your goals and what is needed to get there.
And to all our students who have not won an award – congratulations and well done. You are achieving and winning every day. I never won an academic award, ever, I went close a few times, but I celebrated when my friends and classmates did, and I did not lose sight of the importance to keep trying. The rewards will come, as they have for me. Today, I get to stand here to talk to you!
Students - thank you also for your kindness, patience and care for me and for all our staff. You genuinely show an interest in our lives. I love when I walk around school, ride on the Big Bike Ride, go on camps, watch the sports etc and you come up and chat, ask me questions, care about what I am doing.
For example, Andy always says “Gday Mr Bowden”, Carter, Rayn, Jett, Dylan, Teagan, Mckenzie and all the 4 square players (outside my office) always say hello and chat, Rob says “Good stuff” to me and Jake James now instigates brilliant conversation with me. I could go on all day …
I love being a part of this place.
Thank you all. It has been a rewarding year and I can’t wait to do it again next year.
Have a blessed, safe and relaxing Christmas and New Year. See you in 2019.