The recent school shooting in Texas, America, is devastating and something that we as a nation find so hard to comprehend that such a thing can happen at a school. We pray and hold in our hearts the family and friends of the victims as they try to come to terms with their loss. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the wider Uvalde Elementary School community as they grieve over the coming months and years.

Term 2 commenced the day after ANZAC Day and at our assembly, we acknowledged ANZAC Day as a day that commemorates Australian and New Zealander Army Corps’ first arrival on the beaches of Gallipoli. A day that ultimately marks the beginning of the loss of thousands of young, Australian men and women. Today ANZAC Day stands as a day for remembrance for all those who have served in the Australian defence force fearlessly working to maintain peace.

As we gathered at our assembly as a faith community, we gathered not in glorification of war but in remembrance of those who have dedicated and lost their lives to peacekeeping missions. We gathered keeping in mind the millions of people globally who are impacted by the devastating effects of war. And in that moment, we particularly kept in mind our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Russia. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, people who are subject to suffering due to the decisions of a select few.

At this assembly, the Class Captains were presented to the College community and I congratulate them on their appointment and I thanked them for taking up the challenge of leadership. I am confident that they will listen and work with their classmates to ensure that they are supported and have a voice.

I also wish to thank the Student Leadership Team who have been very proactive in providing students with opportunities to be involved in so many co-curricular activities. They have certainly encouraged them to dare to live with courage and try new things.

As you may be aware, there is a critical shortage of teachers available for both ongoing and relief teaching. I thank you for your ongoing understanding as we adjust our program to try and ensure that for the most part, students can be taught and supervised on site. We welcome to MSJ the following staff who have joined us in Term 2:

Judah Dundon - Health and PE Teacher
Laura Dalta-Viota - Art Teacher
Laura Zarb - Drama and RE Teacher
Jacquelyn Brain - Psychology Teacher
Rebecca Green - Librarian
Corina Wrampling - Social Worker

At the end of Term 1, we tried something different and held what we called ‘Activities Week’. This was a week where no formal classes were held and students were involved in many different activities to support their learning, faith and wellbeing. Thank you to the parents who provide feedback via a survey distributed at the beginning of the term. We have also sought feedback from students and staff and this feedback will assist us in planning for next year. In the coming weeks, we will be seeking feedback from you about the week’s activities so that we can continue to provide you with a meaningful program.

It was announced at the College on Monday 23 May that Mr Steven Mifsud, Deputy Principal Student Wellbeing, has been appointed Principal of Damascus College Ballarat commencing in Term 3. We congratulate Steven on his appointment and we will be acknowledging Steven's contribution to MSJ over the coming weeks.

Kate Dishon