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From the Principal

'Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age.'  Pope Francis

Never before have there been so many displaced people in the world seeking refuge.  Over recent months we have witnessed the development of the Rohingya refugee crisis which has led to the displacement of more than 900,000 Rohingya people.  We have seen the ongoing and devastating impact of drought and civil war in South Sudan and in Syria, the images of people on boats in the Mediterranean and this week, children being separated from their parents as they endeavour to cross the Mexican border with the United States.  It is good to know that this legislation has been revoked and that the children will now be reunited with the parents.

In the annual Papal message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees this year, Pope Francis reminds us of the Gospel call to welcome, protect, promote and integrate every stranger for the sake of their fundamental dignity.  John Lennon wrote the lyrics of a song, ‘Imagine’. I was reminded of this song as I read these words recently (and apologies to the author for not attributing credit as I can’t recall where I read this):
'Imagine if we truly understand and live by the truth that no one wins until everyone wins. Imagine if we understand and were able to see a world where there is no “me”, only “we”, there is no “them”, only “us”. Imagine if we lived by the understanding there is no “their” children or “my” child, there is only “our” children.'

As long as injustice, persecution  and inequity of access to basic human rights persist in our world, the global migration of people will only continue.  There is much misinformation around this issue and also good news and stories of welcome and inclusion in pockets of our world and our country.  May we all continue to work towards a more just world for all people.  

Staff and students have been very busy rehearsing for the Siena College and Whitefriars College musical, A Chorus Line: High School Edition.  It has been lovely to witness the commitment, energy and excitement of all involved and I wish the cast, musicians, backstage crew and the Directors and Producers well as they prepare for Opening Night on Wednesday, 25 July.  I encourage all members of our community to come along for what promises to be a wonderful night of entertainment.

At the same time, Siena student, Vanessa Parissi is preparing to perform in the Victorian Catholic Schools’ production, Time to Shine that will take place at The Arts Centre on 28 July.  It is lovely to have a Siena student involved and I look forward to seeing Vanessa perform in this very entertaining annual event.  Tickets are still available through the Arts Centre website for the matinee and evening performance.

Throughout the academic year, our students engage in a variety of assessments.  This past week has seen all of our Year 9 to 11 students undertaking their mid year examinations.  This is an opportunity to showcase their knowledge and apply many of the skills they have learnt over the course of the semester.  Providing students with opportunities to engage in formal assessments assists in developing useful study skills and habits as well as affirming their achievements and pointing to ways to improve future learning.    We trust that parents are finding the online reporting of students’ work and progress helpful and that these mid year assessments offer an opportunity to have encouraging and supportive conversations about learning.

Over the first two days of Term 3, staff will be engaged in significant work on curriculum, compliance matters and in relation to our Mission as a Catholic school in the Dominican tradition.  On Tuesday, 17 July we will welcome a former Master General of the Dominican Order, Fr Timothy Radcliffe, to Siena College.  Fr Timothy is the author of numerous publications and is currently based in Oxford in the UK.  In 2015, he was named a consultor of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and is Patron of the International Young Leaders Network.  Fr Timothy helped launch Las Casas Institute, that deals with issues of ethics, governance and social justice.   We will be joined on that day by staff and Sisters from Our Lady of Sion College and Presentation College Windsor, as well as by members of the College Board and the wider community.  We look forward to Fr Timothy’s insights and his engaging manner as he addresses theological perspectives on aspects of Church teaching and the Gospels.

We extend our deepest condolences to staff member, Liz Merrett and former staff member, Gayle Peggie whose mother Margaret passed away on 15 June.  Gayle is Co President of the Alumnae Association and both Liz and Gayle are Siena College alumnae.

It has been a busy and productive semester and now it is time for a break and an opportunity to step back from the intensity of the past two terms to a gentler pace of life. I would like to wish all of our Siena College community a safe and enjoyable break for the upcoming holiday period, especially our Year 12s as they prepare for their final months of secondary education.  I remind all parents and students that Term 3 commences for students on Wednesday, 18 July.


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