Whilst wandering through YouTube recently I found myself following a well-worn path. One clip invariably leads to another. An interesting clip about aeroplanes leads to a clip about how best to cook scones, which leads to a nice clip about cats, and so on. During this directionless journey I stumbled onto a familiar scene - the opening credits for an American sitcom from 1975. Unlike our young men and many of our staff, I remember 1975. Jeans with bell bottoms, shirts with unbelievably wide collars and big boxes with limited definition — HD and 4K were science fiction — that we called TVs.
The sitcom was based on the story of a teacher who returned to teach in the neighbourhood where he grew up. Apparently, it was John Travolta’s big break playing one of the students. What struck me was the theme song. The first words you hear are “welcome back”. There are only superficial similarities between the scene in Welcome Back Kotter and St Edmund’s. We see a school with classrooms and teachers but there the similarity ends, except for one thing, “welcome back”.
Next week we welcome back our young men from Years 7, 8, 9 and 10. They return after a long spell and it will no doubt take some time for them to reacclimatise to campus life. It will be a resumption where they get to know each other again, continuing, renewing and rebuilding relationships, in an environment where they can be in each other’s physical presence.
Our College mission is to educate young men spiritually, academically, socially, physically and creatively. As a community we all share in this mission. The Eddies Team - students, staff, parents and caregivers, have perhaps during these COVID weeks, shared in this vision more fully than ever before. Experiences of the ‘learn at home’ phase during this term have indeed covered a wide spectrum. There will have been times of high motivation, reasonable engagement, and times of intense frustration, reminders, negotiations and learning.
I hope with the return of all our young men that we take the positives that have come from this experience and we do not forget what we have learned. We all play an active part in the education of the young men of our community and while it is not always easy, it is definitely worthwhile.
On Monday, our young men will come to revitalise the campus with smiles, conversations and loud enthusiasm, textbooks, laptops and face-to-face lessons and as a team we will greet them at the front gate eagerly looking forward to the day.
The final words of the Welcome Back Kotter Theme play out, “Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back”.
Ray Celegato, Principal