Stereotypically, libraries are quiet places. Rows of bookshelves arranged domino-like, full of Dewey Decimal arranged titles eagerly awaiting adoption by an avid reader. These oft monolithic buildings with tables, chairs and students, notebooks, textbooks and laptops, have always been temples of learning characterised by intense focus and, silence. Policing this sound vacuum, is the librarian. Any vibration approximating conversation coming from wandering individuals is instantly suppressed with a withering look, a furrowed brow and a stern face. I am glad to say that this is not the lived experience of our Eddies men. As they enter the rooms in the Horan Building that currently houses the St Edmund’s Library, they encounter a very different reality. Our library is always a place of smiles and activity: from chess to reading, study groups to individual research, homework to Library Learning Hub, a welcoming atmosphere fills the air.
On Tuesday I accepted an invitation from a very friendly Mrs Callaghan to view a display celebrating Science Week. Interestingly, the theme, Deep Blue, was intended to spotlight innovations for the future of our oceans. Inside, the space usually allocated to quiet reading had been transformed. Windows were aquarium walls through which fish peered at the strange creatures within. Blue fabric decorated the ceiling simulating ocean waves creating an underwater space for anyone who needed a moment to sit and take in the view. As I walked through this blue paradise the urge to sing “Under the Sea” from the Little Mermaid became significant — fortunately not significant enough to burst into song.
Meanwhile, on a table in the centre of the room, carefully laid in the shape of a fish, were some 118 cupcakes each decorated with the symbol of a chemical element. There were pointing fingers, animated faces and contagious excitement, this from the College Principal. Our Eddies men were just as enthusiastic but somewhat more controlled. As each young man correctly identified the element for which the cupcake was decorated, the prize became theirs and a sweet ending was made to their lunch menu. Personally, I pride myself on having identified “Sb”, antimony.
There is so much preparation that goes on in the background at Eddies. This celebration of Science Week was only one of many experiences for our young men to encounter.
At present the young men of Year 12 prepare themselves for their final experiences here as Eddies students. They look forward to sixteen days of external exams or completing certificate courses. There has been and still is concentrated preparation going on in the background. Profiles have been tracked, consultants have been consulted and workshops have taken place. Our young men have seen, heard and experienced ATOMI, ATAR notes and Mighty Minds, Edvantage, Block Placements and Library Learning Hub. The same care and effort that transformed the College Library into an underwater learning land has been invested in transforming our young men into independent, self-directed graduates.
Now as the end of this “Long Game” — this journey that is an Edmund Rice Education — is in sight, the support of our Eddies Team is of growing importance. It is essential that in these last weeks, our young men keep their eye on the prize as they identify their future. In these final days we, their community, their team, will need to gently support them as they take on more responsibility for themselves in this final part of their journey, as they graduate into the world.
Ray Celegato, Principal