Image: This week our students enjoyed a performance by Mr Phil Geia as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations.
Dear and Caregivers,
Last Saturday evening Archbishop Wilson celebrated Mass for the installation of Fr Karl Emerick OP as Parish Priest of the parish of North Adelaide-Prospect. Fr Karl’s installation as Parish Priest continues the tradition of the presence of the Dominican Friars in the parish of North Adelaide-Prospect and maintains a strong parish connection with Blackfriars Priory School. The occasion was a joyous one with members of Fr Karl’s family from Queensland attending the ceremony. We wish Fr Karl every blessing as he begins this important role of continuing the spiritual journey in the life of faith of the North Adelaide-Prospect Catholic community. Fr Karl will continue in his role as Chair of the Blackfriars Priory School Finance Committee and a member of the Blackfriars Priory School Board.
The 2017 theme for NAIDOC week is ‘Our Languages Matter’. “The theme aims to emphasise the unique and essential role that indigenous languages play in cultural identity, liking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.” (http://www.naidoc.org.au/2017-national-naidoc-theme)
Blackfriars Priory School celebrated NAIDOC week with a special focus during pastoral care lessons and morning prayer. On Thursday, students attended an indigenous performance from Mr Phil Geia of Palm Island which is located off the east coast, north of Townsville. Mr Geia shared his ATSI ‘Island Dreaming’ culture and music presentation for NAIDOC week.
The purpose of the week was to focus on the process of genuine reconciliation with our indigenous people, built on a deeper understanding and appreciation of their unique culture and the principles of Catholic social teaching.
End of Term 2
Friday is the final week of Term 2 and it is the end of a very busy week with Year 10 students on Industry Week and Year 11 and 12 students sitting end of Semester-Mid Year Examinations. The term has been a very productive time of learning for students and participation in a wide range of co-curricular activities. I congratulate students on their enthusiasm, effort, positive behaviour, cooperation and quality of performance in making this term a very memorable and successful one.
Monday 24 July is a professional learning day for staff. Therefore, the first day of school for all students is Tuesday 25 July 2017. OSHC facilities are available for those families if required.
I wish all students and staff a safe and refreshing holiday break.
Mr Simon Cobiac
Image: Old Scholars and Army Reservists, Timothy Tedmanson and Brandon Nguyen, (Pictured with Mrs Mirasgentis) returned to Blackfriars Priory School to talk about Defence Force careers.
It has been an extremely busy Semester and I wish both staff and students a well-deserved break. When we review the semester, everyone should be proud of their achievements whether it is in the classroom, on the sporting field, on stage, in service to our community or in achieving our own personal and professional goals. The numerous highlights this semester reflect the diversity of curriculum and co-curricular opportunities and are a reflection on the people who make up our wonderful community. The staff as a whole are committed and are the reason this term has been such a success. I am blessed to be working with such a wonderful and dynamic team.
For our Year 12 students the semester break should be a time when they have a break from the routine of attending school, but I encourage them to maintain their regular study routine during the holidays in preparation for assessment tasks and final year exams. The feedback from their mid-year examinations should inform their revision program to improve their knowledge, understanding and application of skills and concepts.
Reports will be distributed to students on Friday 7 July 2017 and we encourage families to discuss the report with their child and invite them to share their own reflection on their academic performance; their own attitudes and behaviours. The School reports will provide parents or guardians with information regarding their child’s progress in all subject areas, their attitude and conduct in class. It is an opportunity to invite your child to discuss and reflect on their academic performance and how they are progressing socially and emotionally during the school year.
Image: Recently the whole school gathered to celebrate Mass for the Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul.
Staff Formation Program
Stopping to re-evaluate if our connectedness is giving us life is imperative. Despite our different expressions of giftedness, if we are firmly rooted in the Holy Spirit, our lives will be of God, and our fruit will last. As we come to the end of another term, it is important for us to stop and examine the balance of the Four Pillars in our life.
Some Ideas to Combat the Stress and Anxiety of Life
I am unsure of whether it is simply that winter seems to be colder than usual, and it is nearing the end of term, but there seems to be an epidemic of stress and depressive symptoms in the school community at the moment. Boys are stressed, parents are stressed and teachers are stressed. No doubt the holidays will help, but there are also some very simple remedies to stress that we overlook – sometimes we are more comfortable talking about our stress levels and anxiety rather than taking positive actions to remedy the situation.
So, what is it that is going to contribute to making us feel more at peace, more able to cope and to rid ourselves of that constant state of hypersensitivity that often results from feelings of stress and anxiety? There is nothing new in the following list, but we all need to be reminded from time to time of what we should be doing.
Image: Students enjoyed an informative FYI (For Your Information) Secret Agent activity.
As the term draws to end I would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement as the Acting Head of Primary. I have thoroughly enjoyed the term in this new role and being able to work in the different classes throughout the Primary School.
The teachers and students are busy finalising their reports and assessment tasks that they will bring home in their portfolios at the end of the term. Please take the time to look at the report alongside the portfolio of work. Your son will be able to discuss and describe the different tasks and how they went in the task and areas for improvement.
Image: Alex Hunter in action for 10A Soccer.
Winter Co-Curricular training and games will recommence in Week 1 of Term 3. Co-Curricular sport for Term 3 runs only for the first five weeks. Fixtures for Term 3 are still being finalised and will be made available in Week 1.
As part of St Dominic’s Day celebrations in Week 2 Term 3, the Senior A Soccer and Senior A Basketball teams compete for the annual Dominican Cup. The Dominican Cup was established in 2007 between Blackfriars Priory School and Cabra Dominican College to celebrate both school’s strong Dominican tradition. The Senior A Soccer and Senior A Basketball teams play for a trophy with the best players from each team being awarded a medal for their standout performance. These games will be played on Saturday 5 August at Cabra Dominican College.
Image: New Year 10 band BlackOrleans performed at the recent Rostrevor Battle of the Bands.
As we near the end of Term 2 I reflect on all the wonderful achievements of our students throughout this term. From Generations in Jazz, to the Music Soirée, to Primary Arts Night and most recently Catholic School’s Music Festival Auditions. It has been a term filled with success and enthusiasm amongst our students.
Rostrevor Battle of the Bands
Congratulations to the BlackOrleans – one of our newest Blackfriars Co-curricular Bands. They performed on Friday 16 June at Rostrevor College amongst various other Catholic Schools. Silas Koo had his composer’s debut when the band performed his composition ‘Say Hello to You.’ The band was comprised of Silas Koo, Julian McPeake, Harry Catley, Ryan Dalton, Lachlan McKay and old scholar bassist, Arthur Mezak, supported the group throughout the evening.
Image: Blackfriars Priory School old scholars join our Year 10 students for a question and answer panel at UniSA during Industry Week.
This week, all Year 10 students attended various universities and TAFESA as part of Industry Week which focussed on future pathways of for our students beyond school.
Flinders University Tonsley and TAFESA
On Tuesday they went on excursion to Flinders University and participated in a number of structured workshops and tours across the TAFESA campus and the Flinders University Campus at Tonsley.
All students visiting the TAFESA campus at Tonsley were given a tour of the facility. Students toured the following areas:
The TAFE lecturer spoke to the students about the various courses and what is involved in each course. Students were given the opportunity to see the work that is produced in the various courses and what the expectations were for jobs/careers in the various areas.
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.