Dear St Michael’s College Community,
This week is Refugee Week, with the 2021 theme being UNITY.
The Refugee Week website describes the theme as ‘The way forward’ and that “The volatility of life in recent times has shown us unequivocally that we need to work together often merely to survive, let alone to thrive and progress. Let’s take the opportunity to start afresh and rebuild our lives together. To count our blessings and to put them to work. Existing and emerging communities. Working together.
The powerful potential of Unity. The special brew of ideas from all over the world that created our great way of life can continue evolving if we work together. Let’s not stop now, let’s move forward unified. Stronger. Safer. Healthier. Happier. Together.”
St Michael’s College is committed to unity through an inclusive and respectful community, and I thank all those who were involved this week in activities and promotions relating to Refugee week.
This included our Beyond Borders team who bravely volunteered to help prepare an outstanding presentation of their voices and stories for our student community, Rana for her ARA ‘speak up’ address and the Primary Campus staff and students involved in the Youth Poster Awards competition. The exhibition was held at the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery in the Hawke Centre at UniSA City West Campus. The participants were able to view a diverse range and thought-provoking selection of artworks from primary aged, secondary students to university students. Year 6 students at the primary campus participated in this competition with 4 students’ artworks being selected for the finalist exhibition. Congratulations go to Marco Didyk, Oliver Brooks, Louis Pisoni and Marcus Waye for their sensitive and community minded posters to acknowledge the important contribution that refugees make to our society and the challenges they face before and when they get to a safe country. Their works demonstrate the primary values of being expressive, collaborative and socially aware.
Thank you also to SMC old scholar and Member for Cheltenham, Joe Szakacs for his invitation to a Refugee Week morning tea at Parliament House on Wednesday. Two of our Beyond Borders students, Meena and Zahra, also attended and we were honored to be amongst other schools and groups with a commitment to supporting refugees in South Australia. We were also fortunate to be invited into the gallery to witness Joe move a motion that noted Refugee week, the invaluable support of numerous organisations, the many and varied social and economic contributions of refugees, the ongoing challenges facing refugees and the need for ongoing and increased government support.
Brother in Residence
Br John Pill has this week been making his second formal visit to SMC in our Brother in Residence program. Br John is a past Principal of St Michael’s and a highly respected Brother and educator. His first visit was with the Pastoral teams and his current with the Teaching and Learning teams across both campuses. The theme of John’s visits is ‘Lasallian conversations’ and aims to link our Lasallian heritage to the everyday work of College staff. The plan is to have John visit SMC for at least one week per term. It has been enriching for us to host John in this exciting program and we thank him for his presence.
Dr Tessa Opie
With the recent increased media and social focus on issues relating to sexual assault and consent, the College has actively sought out and engaged Dr Tessa Opie to work with us. Tessa’s work is very much in line with our College vision, at the centre of which lies a respectful community, where each individual is known, valued and cared for. Tessa is the founder and director of In Your Skin® which is sex-positive, evidence-based, and harm reduction focused. It requires participants to actively consider their relationship values, attitudes, and expectations, in a social climate that feeds us often misleading messages about sex and relationships. Tessa has met with the College on a number of occasions and recently presented to secondary staff and a group of about 120 parents. She also engaged with our Year 10 students on Thursday and will be involved in ongoing program planning that we know will complement our existing pastoral, wellbeing and RE programs.