A MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
With five Sundays down, the Lenten journey continues.
As the penitential season moves along, so must the introspection of the Christian disciple. The believer must be cautious not to get stuck in overthinking things. There is a serious danger of a certain navel gazing that impedes a real course of action for change and reform.
The Christian has to be cautious about the comfort and at times self-indulgence that interior reflection can provide or nurture. At some point, in the midst of her thoughts and feelings, the believer just has to get out of her own head or heart and just do something.
But what? What actions are recommended to the believer as she seeks to adjust and realign her life after some very serious Lenten soul-searching?
Before describing spiritual action items, it might be helpful to name some of the bad spirits that Lent is meant to help us fight and leave behind.
In his Lenten Message this year, Pope Francis refers to the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, which is found in the teachings of Jesus Christ. In the account, the Rich Man is absorbed in himself and neglects Lazarus, who is a poor and sick man suffering at his very doorpost. When the Rich Man dies, his omission toward Lazarus merits him a place in hell. He is in torment and sees Lazarus in heaven, in the “bosom of Abraham.”
Influenced by his Jesuit spirituality, Pope Francis uses the biblical story to identify the three bad spirits of greed, vanity, and pride. He explains the progressive corruption of the human person through them, writing: “[Money] is the main cause of corruption and a source of envy, strife and suspicion… it can come to dominate us, even to the point of becoming a tyrannical idol. Instead of being an instrument at our service for doing good and showing solidarity towards others, money can chain us and the entire world to a selfish logic that leaves no room for love and hinders peace.”
The pope continues: “…the rich man’s greed makes him vain. His personality finds expression in appearances, in showing others what he can do. But his appearance masks an interior emptiness. His life is a prisoner to outward appearances, to the most superficial and fleeting aspects of existence.”
And finally, Pope Francis observes: “The lowest rung of this moral degradation is pride. The rich man dresses like a king and acts like a god, forgetting that he is merely mortal. For those corrupted by love of riches, nothing exists beyond their own ego. Those around them do not come into their line of sight. The result of attachment to money is a sort of blindness. The rich man does not see the poor man who is starving, hurting, lying at his door.”
In identifying these enemies of the human soul, the question remains: In seeing these bad spirits within her, what actions can the believer do to remedy this spiritual sickness?
In having the question posed in such a context, the traditional practices of almsgiving, fasting, and prayer take on a new light as they are seen as the tested and proven answers to the question and as the necessary actions of the person who wants a healthy soul and a strong spirit.
We are called to follow the more excellent way of love taught and modelled by Jesus Christ. They are actions that call the believer out of her own thoughts and feelings and create a forum for grace to work and flourish within her soul.
This is the summons and labour of Lent. What begins in the heart is to be worked out in the world, and the practices of almsgiving, fasting, and prayer are the trusted tools for the fight against greed, vanity, and pride.
(Father Jeffrey Kirby, 2/4/2017, www.cruxnow.com )
- At the end of this term, we farewell a teacher who has been with us for only a short-time, Mrs VandenHengel, who was job-sharing with Mrs Camer. We wish her well in the future.
- We welcome Miss Clarissa Bellissimo to the College who takes on the role that Mrs Camer and Mrs VandenHengel shared, teaching English and Drama to Years 7 to 10.
- We congratulate Mrs Camer and Mrs Criniti who have announced that they are both expecting their second child.
- We thank Ms Carrabs who has filled in for Miss Mirabello whilst she has been on sick leave.
- From 22 May 2018:
- Miss Grimm will become the Acting Year 8 Coordinator; and
- Mrs Moroney will be the Acting Assistant Year 7 Coordinator.
- Mrs Loren Pelham will shortly be leaving Bethany following her appointment as an Assistant REC at another school. We thank her for her years of dedicated service to the College and wish her well. Mrs Pelham’s replacement is yet to be confirmed.
We have contact from a few parents who are concerned at the lateness of buses on our school special routes. We faithfully report all of your concerns, however, they are best directed to the bus company itself on the following number 8700 0555. In reality, we are fortunate to have so many free, special bus services for our girls and in the context of the congestion on local roads, it is natural that buses will run late at times, often trying to traverse heavy school afternoon traffic. It is not too much to ask that students wait for their bus connections under teacher supervision. Transdev is committed to providing its bus services to children within 30 minutes of the end of their school day and to date, the vast majority of our buses are here well before 3:30pm.
BUSTING NEW HSC LITERACY AND NUMERACY MYTHS
David de Carvalho is chief executive of the NSW Education Standards Authority and he recently was interviewed about the link between NAPLAN and the HSC for Year 9 (2017) and the cohorts who follow them.
Myth 1: Students need to get Band 8 or above in year 9 NAPLAN tests to qualify to sit for the HSC.
False. No student will be excluded from sitting for the HSC on the basis of their year 9 NAPLAN results.
Achieving a Band 8 or higher in the year 9 reading, writing and numeracy is a great result, and means they already have reached the minimum standard. But year 9 NAPLAN is just the first of many opportunities students have to pre-qualify to the HSC minimum standard.
Students will be able to sit the online literacy and numeracy tests at least twice in each of Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12, if they need to, and they will only need to take online tests in those areas in which they haven’t achieved the minimum standard.
Any student will be able to sit their HSC exams and receive their HSC results regardless of whether they have met the minimum standard or not. Those who have not met the standard when their HSC results are issued have five years from when they started the HSC to meet the standard and receive their HSC credential.
For the few who don’t meet the minimum standard within this timeframe, a Record of School Achievement will be awarded – the credential already available to students who leave school before the HSC.
Myth 2: Band 8 raises the bar too high for year 9 students.
The bar is not being raised. NAPLAN Band 6 is the year 9 student benchmark. This has not changed. It is not an expectation that all students in year 9 should attain Band 8s, but if they do, they have pre-qualified for the HSC minimum standard.
Myth 3: Linking the HSC and year 9 NAPLAN is unnecessarily stressful for students.
To the contrary, linking year 9 NAPLAN results to the HSC minimum standard will ensure students who may need support to achieve this important functional level of literacy and numeracy are identified earlier – and helped to acquire the skills.
Myth 4: This should not go ahead, because some students will be disadvantaged.
As is the case with NAPLAN tests and the HSC exams, students with a learning, sensory or physical disability will be able to access disability provisions to provide them with a fair opportunity to respond to the online literacy and numeracy tests. Students with an intellectual disability undertaking Life Skills English or Mathematics courses will be exempt from the HSC minimum standard requirement.
Mr De Carvalho makes an excellent point that “Education policy should express our aspirations for society. To students – and their parents – we should say let’s embrace this challenge because settling for anything less than a functional level of literacy and numeracy for the HSC would be a disservice to us all”.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SYDNEY CATHOLIC SCHOOLS: PRINCIPAL FOR A WEEK!
In Week 2, Term 2 (1 to 5 May 2017), Dr Dan White, will be assuming the Principalship of Bethany College in my absence. Dr White is committed to experiencing our schools from the ground up and as such, will take on the Principal’s role and get about to meet as many teachers, staff and students as he can.
During that week, he will be hosting a forum for parents on Tuesday, 2 May from 9:30am-11:00am. If you are free and wish to attend, please click on this link to RSVP https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GCWFVFM
Our mantra:“Girls can do anything. Bethany girls can do everything!* (*except divide by zero)” Vicki Lavorato Principal