Parties have been somewhat rare over recent months. As we exit from and into various stages of post-COVID freedom, no doubt, they will become less so. My sons used to say that parties of up to twelve people were called “gathos” and I believe that congregations of greater numbers may have had other classifications. Certainly, over the years passionate negotiations to hold these higher density gatherings at our house strangely never seemed to succeed. I digress. Groups of friends coming together to enjoy each other’s company is one of those things that can give people a sense of connection, of belonging. Contrast this with those times you may have been invited to a party — or “gatho” — where you did not know anyone. This sense of connection takes time but sometimes all it takes is for one person to break the ice and the world changes.
In December 2014 I walked onto the grounds of St Edmund’s as a newly appointed Deputy Principal and, after a day of discussions, meetings and planning I walked to my car. At around 2:30pm on a hot December afternoon it was especially hectic. A group of Year 9 boys milled around the steps of the O’Brien Building dressed in their finest free clothes, tired after an exhausting excursion. As I stopped to search for my car keys — that had for some reason lost themselves in the deep recesses of my satchel — I felt like someone at a party where I knew no one. From behind the old fig tree which guards this entrance to the school, a face appeared, a smiling face, and from this young man came a friendly “G’day sir, how was your day?”. In that moment, the world changed. A friendly question, a simple act, a connection made, from that instant, I felt I belonged.
I can honestly say I have a passion for St Edmunds that has grown, beginning on that very first day from that very simple question. That young man, quite naturally, unthinkingly and authentically posed a simple question of genuine interest and in that simple act, made a difference. This difference culminated for me just two days ago. On Wednesday I was given a very great privilege of being appointed as the Principal of the College beyond this year. I am humbled and honoured to have been selected but am supremely grateful to have become part of this wonderful community. To be part of the Eddies team is special. We all create the environment for our young men to grow, to build their passion and as our Year 12’s would say “to show some ticka”. I hope for each of our young men that they take up every opportunity offered, to learn, to play and to serve as Eddies men, to be ready to make a difference for the better in their world. I look forward to many years of working with the young men of the College together with the staff, parents and caregivers in our Eddies Team.
This week we acknowledged our First Nations peoples. The five dimensions of Reconciliation are most pertinent in light of recent events. Race Relations, Equality and Equity, Institutional Integrity, Unity and Historical Acceptance. As a school in the Edmund Rice Tradition the five dimensions resonate very closely with our Touchstones: Inclusive Community, Liberating Education, Justice and Solidarity and Gospel Spirituality.
Reconciliation isn’t a single moment or place in time. It’s lots of small, consistent steps, some big strides, and sometimes unfortunate backwards steps …” – Karen Mundine – Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia
The First Peoples walked and cared for the lands on which we now journey. We acknowledge their traditions and heritage and look to a future of true reconciliation for our land.
Ray Celegato, Principal