Dear SJC Families and Friends
It is with a heavy heart that I was able to welcome all but one of our students back to Term 2. At the end of each term, I always communicate to our community my wishes for the break, that they are relaxing, enjoyable and safe, and that I look forward to seeing all of our students upon their return. Sadly, one of our Year 11 students will not be commencing Term 2 with us following a tragic accident in the first week of the break. Beau Jensen, a fine, respected and respectful student, is currently in the paediatric ward of the Gold Coast University Hospital surrounded by those who love him, especially his mum and dad, Hope and Eric.
Since the accident, Hope, Eric and the extended family have asked for prayers for Beau as he fights to overcome the horrific injuries he sustained during the accident. I ask that when you pray, you offer your intentions for Beau's recovery to the patron of head and brain injuries, Blessed Fr John Licci and that he may intervene and deliver Beau safely back to his family and his SJC friends. Please also keep in your prayers Beau's friends who were present at the time of the accident, along with those not present, who are all struggling to come to terms with this very sad event.
If you can, and would like to make a financial contribution to the family, this can be made via a GoFundMe page that has been established.
There has been much reported recently in the media relating to the topic of respectful relationships and consent. It is clear there is a problem in this country. One need only look at some of the abhorrent stories of abuse and neglect that have been posted to understand the level of psychological and physical harm that has been purported, mainly by men.
Very sadly, two incredibly tragic domestic violence acts have been prolifically reported recently where a young lady (Kelly Wilkinson) and tiny little bub (Kobi Shepherdson) lost their lives. These heinous acts were carried out, it is alleged, by men who no doubt held a warped sense of entitlement. Sadly, many of the sad stories being reported recently involve men who think they are entitled to what they want. It is important, as a society, we reflect on what is going wrong to have people treat others in the manner they currently are, and commit to doing something about it.
As such, the three peak education bodies in NSW have recently released a Statement of Intent in relation to consent education. Our Catholic Schools Office has relayed this to all Lismore schools and I issued an app alert last week with the SJC Statement of Intent. Detailed within the document are the current structures in place to ensure we are making our young people aware of what is right and what is wrong and how we are attempting to do this. Please ensure you have read the documents. Also, please note the important role that is articulated regarding the role parents and carers have in this issue. This first of the stated Shared Beliefs reads, "Parents are the first and continuing educators of their children".
It was unfortunate that this year's local commemoration march and ceremony at Jack Evans Park was cancelled due to COVID concerns. As such, there was not an opportunity for students to march in their uniform and show support for those who have served our nation with such valour and bravery. The College commemorated the day with a liturgy held this morning in the Doyle Centre. This provided our students with a chance to understand and respect the sacrifice that comes with being a part of the Armed Services.
It was with great pleasure that I witnessed the first running of a Cross Country carnival in my time at SJC. It was the first event of its kind and many years and provided a great opportunity for students to be recognised by staff and their peers for something they are passionate about. The finishing chute was something to behold and our students in the competitive event will cherish that experience for many years to come.
Sadly, an extraordinary number of students were not present on the day. Whilst there are always legitimate excuses and reasons for students to be absent on a community day, it is very disappointing that on any given day we have attendance rates of about 92%, whereas, on a community day, this rate drops to below 75%. Last Friday was a normal school day until the end of Period 3. These absences will be reported on semester and yearly report cards.
Mr Scott Thomson