Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Last week we recognised Refugee Week in our School community through coming together for our School Assembly on Wednesday. We were moved by the presentation of a power-point presentation and video on the “Refugee Condition” produced by Year 12 student, Reza Mohammadi. The statistics on the number of refugees worldwide are staggering:
Of these numbers, only 107,100 people have been re-settled.
With the help of family pictures Mohsen Sarwari (Year 5) and Joseph Pitia (Year 4) retold their personal and family story of being a refugee and seeking asylum in Australia. Mohsen was born in Syria and having experienced the atrocity of the recent war in Syria his family was sponsored to come to Australia. Towards the end of his presentation Mohsen said, ”I am happy to be in Australia because I no longer feel scared for my safety”. However, Mohsen worries about his auntie who still lives in Syria, who is safe for now, but fears that one day the war may encroach on her city.
Joseph Pitia traced his family life in South Sudan torn apart by three serious civil wars where three million people have died. Before moving to Melbourne in 2006 Joseph’s father had sought refuge in five countries in Africa. Joseph said, “I’m lucky to be born in Australia and I feel safe when I see all the atrocities occurring in South Sudan”.
Congratulations to Joseph and Mohsen for their exceptional courage in telling their story to all students and staff of Blackfriars Priory School. It was a wonderful experience for us and gave us an insight into the lives of displaced people and an understanding of how courageous, resilient, resourceful and grateful refugee people are for a new start in a new country. The stories of Mohsen and Joseph touched our hearts and opened our minds to see their world and understand their experiences with a clearer vision.
As the Australian Bishops wrote,
“As Christians we know it is within us to hear the call of Jesus (in the person of the refugee). As Australians we have shown ourselves willing to take the path of generosity and leadership. We can do so again”
Australian Catholic Bishops; Social Justice Statement 2015-16.
Reza Mohammadi then presented a video where he interviewed students and staff about their family cultural background. There are 45 nationalities represented at Blackfriars Priory School making us a truly multi-cultural School. Students spoke of their acceptance and friendship within our diverse community taking delight in the multi-cultural nature of our School. I felt very proud to be a member of our School community and proud of our students who are building a peace-filled world through respect and acceptance of others. I would like to thank Reza, Mohsen, Joseph and all students who participated in our celebration of our multi-cultural School and recognising Refugee Week.
Farewell Fr Karl Emerick OP and Welcome Fr Matthew Boland OP
We also farewelled Fr Karl at our assembly. Fr Karl joined the Blackfriars community as Br Karl in 2013. He was ordained to the Priesthood in 2014 and has continued in his role as Chaplain to the Blackfriars community until the end of April this year.
Fr Karl has given generously of his time and talents as our Chaplain. He has celebrated the sacraments in our community and lead the community in celebrating Mass in St Albert the Great Chapel. He has generously made himself available to students and staff to talk about our spiritual lives and he has been a source of encouragement to our community. Fr Karl will continue to serve our community on the School Board as Deputy Chair, Chair of the Finance Committee and member of the Capital Projects committee. In all his work, Fr Karl has and continues to have, the best interests of students and the progress of our School in his mind. Fr Karl has been appointed as Parish Priest of the North Adelaide and Prospect Parish and will continue to be a welcome presence in our school community.
In farewelling Fr Karl Emerick OP, we welcome Fr Matthew Boland OP to our community as our School Chaplain. We are very fortunate to have a Dominican priest in our community and we look forward to the spiritual guidance of Fr Matthew and his presence among us for years to come.
Youth mental health: depression and anxiety.
This week, I was asked to present to Year 8 students on youth anxiety and depression. In my research for this presentation, I came across the statistic that approximately half of the people currently living with a mental illness in Australia experienced illness symptoms by 14 years of age. Raising awareness of mental health issues is very important as it can lead to prevention and early intervention. In an all-boys school environment in particular, some students may be reluctant to acknowledge and seek help for mental health issues due to a lack of understanding, or because they think this will mean that they are ‘weak’ or ‘different’ (gender stereotypes that males must not show emotions and are inherently insensitive don’t help). Education can aid in normalising mental illness for students and therefore, increase the likelihood of them accessing support. Indeed, many are surprised to hear that a whopping 25% of young Australians currently have a mental health condition. Concerningly, research also indicates that only 13% of young men with mental illness symptoms will seek help.
It has been a busy fortnight in the co-curricular program. Aside from the midweek and weekend fixtures, there have also been different carnivals to attend and some exciting news for some of our students.
The Year 6/7 boys went down in a close game to CBC. The boys played really well and dominated patches of the game, but CBC came out in front on the scoreboard at game’s end. It was the boys’ first loss of the season, but they can look ahead to St Ignatius on our home turf this weekend.
The Year 6/7 boys faced off against Rostrevor on our home field. The boys battled hard in the first half to be tied, but Rostrevor ran away in the second half scoring five goals to win 6-1. The boys continue to work hard and a win cannot be far away.
The Year 3/4/5 Blue teams both had losses to Pulteney Grammar but continue to play some decent soccer. Pulteney simply proved too strong on the day.
Image: Simon Russell, Isaac Jacobs and Joseph Russell
On Tuesday 13 June eight primary students completed the ICAS Writing paper. These students were from Year 3-6 and they had to write an argument about the question “Would you rather be rich or lucky or intelligent?” We will get the results back from this test next term. There are only two more ICAS tests left to complete, English on 1 August and Maths on 15 August.
Woolworths Earn and Learn stickers are coming back. We have registered the Primary School again to collect these stickers, and this will start from 26 July. Please ask all your family and friends to collect these stickers for us, as we would like to aim for 20,000 stickers this year.
Image: Joseph Pitis, Reza Mohammadi and Moshen Sarwai presenting at the Multicultural Day Assembly
My family came to Australia from Italy after WWII. My grandparents and parents followed the well-worn migrant path of; faith, hard work, family and food (lots of it). I love my Italian culture, but I am proudly Australian. As a son of Italian migrants, I have grown up with the Italo-Australian culture at the core of my life. I am proud of my heritage, and I am proud to be Australian. This country gave my family the chance to have a better life, and my heart is ‘True Blue’ with appreciation.
Image: Football Team
Due to the student free day occurring on Friday 23 June, there is no co-curricular sport scheduled on the Friday and Saturday 24 June. The final round of co-curricular sport for Term 2 will occur on Friday 30 June and Saturday 1 July.
Tuesday Night Football at Prospect Oval
The First XVIII Football team will be playing Trinity College on Tuesday 27 June under lights at Prospect Oval. The game will commence at 5:30pm. Special thanks to North Adelaide Football Club for allowing us to use their ground and facilities. All parents, family and friends are welcome to attend and support the Blackfriars First XVIII Football team.
Upcoming Knockout Sport Fixtures
Mr Michael Parrella
Secondary Co-Curricular Coordinator
On Friday 16 June, Year 12 Student Leaders from each of the four Dominican Schools in Adelaide came together at St Mary’s College to discuss and seek opportunities to strengthen partnerships and build community. Students took this opportunity to explore what student leadership in each of the schools looks like; and how each school brings the Dominican ethos and charism to life.
The students shared a commitment to truth, explored through their dialogue, and shared an appreciation of the different structures and processes in each of the Schools. The morning was a celebration of our Dominican spirituality expressed through the Four Pillars of Dominican Life and our shared values in the pursuit of excellence.
Image: Good luck to Year 12 students Zachary Dalton (left) and Connor Watson (right) who compete in the semi-finals of the United Nations Youth SA Evatt Competition on Sunday 11 June. Zach and Connor are pictured with Mr Bob Becker, UN Youth Coordinator (left) and Mr Simon Cobiac, Principal (right).
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Student Safety in the Community
It is important for parents to speak with their children at home about the need for appropriate awareness and best courses of action if they are approached by a stranger in the community. Principals are sent timely updates from the South Australian Police (SAPOL) and recently we were advised to remind parents about potential danger to their children if such a circumstance arose. This week, there has been a report of a male acting suspiciously on Prospect Road and approaching students or walking alongside students. We have reported the matter to the police but wish to alert parents of this situation. Students in the Primary School have been addressed by their teachers and Secondary School students have received the following email:
Please be vigilant when coming to school and leaving school grounds for any unusual interactions from members of the public. If you do see any suspicious behaviour please notify the police and/or the school immediately. If at any time you feel unsafe, please go to the nearest safe space which may include coming back to the school office or library, going into a shop or towards other members of the public. Avoid interacting with the person in any way. Also, keep an eye out for each other when travelling to and from school so we can all reach our destination safely.
Month of Ramadan and ‘Id al-Fitr
I would like to extend the best wishes of the Blackfriars Priory School community to our Muslim families and students who are celebrating the month of Ramadan and ‘Id al-Fitr. Pope Francis has sent a letter of greeting to the Muslim communities of the world ensuring our support and encouraging the combined efforts of Muslims and Christians to protect the environment and to care for all life. I have included below a short section of his recent letter.
“Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters,
We wish to assure you or our prayerful solidarity during this time of fasting in the month of Ramadan and the celebration of ‘Id al-Fitr that concludes it, and we extend to you our heartfelt wishes for serenity, joy and abundant spiritual gifts. The experience of both of our religious communities affirms the value of this Message for promoting cordial relations between Christian and Muslim neighbours and friends, by offering insights on current and pressing issues. May the religious insights and blessings that flow from fasting, prayer and good works sustain you, with God’s help, on the path of peace and goodness, to care for all the members of the human family and for the whole of creation.”
(Message from Pope Francis for the Month of Ramadan and ‘Id al-Fitr (Brief Extract). Link to full text: http://www.adelaide.catholic.org.au/
Student Health and Wellbeing — Child Protection Policy Documents
Blackfriars Priory School is committed to the health, wellbeing and education of the whole person for each student from ELC – Year 12. Our education extends to an explicit Child Protection Curriculum from ELC – Year 12. The Child Protection Curriculum follows the Catholic Education South Australia Child Protection Curriculum and is supported by curriculum guidelines, professional development of staff, approved teaching resources and programs on Cybersafety and Social Media.
Should you have any questions about the Child Protection Curriculum at Blackfriars Priory School, please contact one of the following key staff members:
Mrs Anna Mirasgentis (Deputy Principal, ELC – Year 12)
Mr Carl Todman (Middle School Curriculum Coordinator)
Mrs Alison Ronoastro (Acting Deputy Principal - Head of Primary)
Mrs Karen McEntee (ELC Director) or
Mrs Rita Quaini (OHSC Director)
Furthermore, I assure the community that all staff have the appropriate qualifications and have completed the criminal history screening processes to work with children. All staff have also completed mandatory training including ‘Responding to Abuse and Neglect’ (7 hours) and regular refresher child protection training, as legislatively required.
I would also like to encourage you to read the major Child Welfare and Child Protection policy framework used in Catholic Schools and at Blackfriars Priory School.
Please follow the link, http://www.cesa.catholic.edu.au/our-schools/safety-security/policies-publications for access to the following policies:
Please contact me if you have any questions about the Blackfriars Priory School policies and practices on Child Protection and related matters.
United Nations Youth SA Evatt Competition
The Evatt Competition is South Australia’s largest competition for school students in Years 9 – 12. Participants assume the role of UN Security Council representatives and debate current and historical issues which concern the United Nations.
Congratulations to Connor Watson and Zachary Dalton who have successfully competed in preliminary rounds and have progressed through to the semi finals on Sunday 11 June 2017. For full details please see the newsletter report by Mr Bob Becker.
Primary Arts Night
Congratulations to all students who participated with such joy, enthusiasm and courage in the Primary Arts Night on Tuesday evening. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing such a variety of acts and such talent on display. Thanks to our talented teachers for bringing out the best in our artists, singers and musicians and thank you to the parents for your presence and support of the performers. It is with sincere appreciation that I also noted the presence of a number of senior students who provided great assistance to students and staff.
Mr Simon Cobiac
Image: Year 1 students James and Harry along with their Art Teacher, Mrs Emily Kenny, proudly show Mrs Anna Mirasgentis their paintings now on display in the Primary Administration Building foyer.
“The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.” Elliot W Eisner
On Tuesday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the Primary Arts Night which was filled with colour, creativity and music. It was a wonderful opportunity for the Primary School to come together and showcase the students’ many creative talents. Their artwork and music engaged their imagination and provided them with an opportunity to express their creative gifts. Art is one of the multiple languages available to children promoting the children's sense of freedom and cultural expression.
Thank you to all the families who came along to support their sons and to the staff and students who contributed to making this such a special occasion where our community gathered to celebrate the many achievements of our students.
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Albert Einstein
Image: The Primary Arts Night was a wonderful celebration of our students’ many artistic talents.
On Tuesday 6 June, all the Primary families gathered together in the gym for the annual Primary Arts Night. This is an evening where we get to sit back and listen to Primary School students sing different songs they have been learning during class or as part of a choir, and we also get to see them perform if they have been learning an instrument. Around the outside of the gym, is the art work they have completed throughout the year. Congratulations to all the students and staff on a fantastic night, and a big thank you to all the families who came out and supported the boys on the evening. It is truly wonderful to see how many talented artists and musicians we have in our community.