A MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Dear Parents, Carers and Friends of Bethany,
Welcome to the 2018 school year. I feel quite privileged to be in the role of Principal at the College and have enjoyed my first 3 weeks leading the Bethany community. This year we celebrate our Silver Jubilee of 25 years since the two schools of St Joseph’s Kogarah and St Mary’s Star of the Sea Hurstville merged to become Bethany College. On Friday February 2, we held our combined Opening Mass and Silver Jubilee Mass which was celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral by Bishop Terry Brady. During the Mass Bishop Brady reminded us of the history of Catholic education in the St George District and the impact that the Sisters of St Joseph and Sisters of Charity had made on helping to attract Catholic families to the area through the provision of quality education for young people. I thank Bishop Brady, our special guests, parents, staff and students for making our Silver Jubilee Mass such a special event and no doubt a highlight of the year to come.
In joining the Bethany community this year, I have been impressed with so many of the staff, students and parents that I have encountered and the outstanding systems and processes currently in place at the College. At our Opening Mass, I shared with the community some of my initial impressions as outlined below.
The Vision of Bethany is impressive in its simplicity and inclusivity, TOGETHER WE GROW which speaks of the need to pull together and work collaboratively in order to keep improving and growing. We aim for all students to grow, spiritually, emotionally, academically and physically in an environment which is nurturing yet challenging.
The Bethany motto to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God is lived out in our values of
Relationships, Service, Wholeness, Welcome, Justice and Service
The staff have affirmed students on their ability to display these values each and every day and already I have seen some of these values come alive.
It was at Bethany in the house of Martha and Mary where hospitality and welcome was prevalent. This was lived in the first week when we welcomed 177 new Year 7 students to Bethany. What I saw were a large group of Year 10 students trained to be big sisters for Year 7 making them feel comfortable in their new surroundings and reassuring them by answering questions and looking after those who may have not known anyone else. I saw Year 12 students attend for just one hour as transport monitors to guide Year 7 on their travel routes swapping mobile phone numbers as a safety net for those catching buses and trains for the first time. I have felt welcomed and accepted from Day 1 when I first met with Mrs Russo and then later in the week with the College Leadership team. Our 11 new staff have also felt welcomed by staff and students alike.
As educators, we understand and foster positive relationships amongst students. Bethany girls know that their relationship with God, family, friends, staff and even those whom they encounter on the street are crucial to walking in the footsteps of Jesus and living out the College motto. If relationships are broken at times then we work hard to get them back on track.
This year as we celebrate the 25 year history of our College, I hope that we can all strive to do our best, to take risks in our learning and to take the time to grow in our relationship with God and one another.
The Bethany community also welcome our new staff for 2018
I also extend a warm welcome to all of our Year 7 cohort, new students who have joined us in Years 8 to 11 and parents who are new to Bethany. I trust that you find the College as welcoming as I have.
On Sunday February 4 our student leaders, Mrs Russo, Mrs Kennaugh, Mrs Colreavy, Ms Woods and myself had the privilege of attending the farewell mass of Fr Brendan Quirk. This was a momentous occasion for the Bexley, Rockdale and Arncliffe parishes and it was pleasing to see a more than full Church at Rockdale. We wish Fr Brendan well as he embarks on a new chapter in his life as an army chaplain and we thank him for his long association with and time that he has spent at Bethany.
This week saw the beginning of Lent, a time of reflection that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. All students were involved in a solemn liturgy on Wednesday where ashes were distributed as a reminder of our own mortality and a call to repentance. As a Catholic Community, during Lent we support the work of Caritas through Project Compassion. This year the theme for Project Compassion in schools is “A Just Future”. During Weeks 1 and 2 of Lent students are asked to focus on this theme with a particular lens of a just future starts with empowerment and a just future starts with community. I encourage all families to not only give what they can for Project Compassion but to visit the Caritas website http://www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion/schools#stories
It is through action not just the giving of funds that our girls can make a difference for a just future.
As we now begin the routine of formal classes, we ask that all parents help their daughters to ensure that study routines are set and followed, learning goals are established and communicated and most importantly that each girl is provided with an environment which allows her to achieve her best.
I look forward to meeting with families throughout the year and thank those parents whom I have met for their warm welcome.