The Year 12 retreats were held in the second week of Term 1 and are an important part of the final year of schooling for our students. What is important is that following the retreats, students and staff talk about enjoying a most productive time together, engaging in spiritual, wellbeing and educational sessions, that really do help all students to have a very successful year ahead. At the same time, the retreats help our students develop into wonderful young men and women who will be leaders in many and varied fields in years to come.

Powerful sessions included areas such as:

  • Our Life Story – how we choose to live our lives - hopes for the future
  • Communication
  • Who am I and Goal setting for the year
  • Meditation techniques
  • Our family
  • Letters - a wonderful session where students received letters from family members - normally a very emotional session
  • Jesus – Our Story
  • Mass and blessing/distribution of Year 12 badges

Letter writing and affirmations – students affirmed the members of their small groups and also wrote themselves letters of goals and targets that they would have for 2024 and beyond – these letters were collected and will be given back to students at the end of the year - hopefully all goals are achieved

Thank you to all the staff who attended these retreats and for their willingness to lead groups, present sessions, and support students in their growth.

Likewise, Year 7 camps are held in Term 1 and again, we appreciate and thank staff who participate in those camps and for their enthusiasm and willingness to be involved. I know the students and parents greatly appreciate these opportunities for students to bond, get to know new friends and get to know their teachers.

Our annual College swimming carnivals were held in mid-February (one carnival for Years 7-8, and the other for Years 9-12, with Kennedy House claiming the title of overall House winner across the two carnivals. Congraluations to every competitor who participated. It was a joyous day for all the students who came along to enjoy a great day of friendship. Swimming carnivals are wonderful opportunities for students to develop stronger friendships with mates in a very social atmosphere whilst also supporting friends and housemates who are competing.

Students and staff spruced up and took great pride in looking their best for the school photos taken recently. They are a wonderful and permanent reminder of their school days. A pleasure for many is collecting and then comparing the school photos of their six years of secondary schooling. In these photos, students see their journey over six years that are filled with extraordinary growth in maturity, wellbeing, learning and faith.

Much discussion is happening of late with regards to the VRQA audit that will be held at the school in June. This audit is to ensure that Notre Dame College is delivering on all aspects of education as required by the authorities. I thank all the people involved in the collection of data, the collection of policies and in the collection of practices, so that when we meet with the VRQA authority, we will meet all expectations.

I would like to both thank and congratulate all 2023 award recipients for being wonderful role models to students in our College with regard to work ethic, high achievement, behaviour, manners, study habits and for just having a go. These students provide an inspiration to others to succeed. I encourage these students to keep working hard, to be proud and to be motivated for greater success. We recently had an evening to celebrate these wonderful achievements. A big thank you and congratulations to all the students who worked extremely hard all year last year but did not receive recognition at the Awards Ceremonies. I have no doubt they all gained enormously from knowing you pushed yourselves hard, and I know that success will come your way eventually.

I would also like to thank all staff (teaching and non-teaching) and parents who played a significant role in assisting these students achieve such magnificent results and significant improvement. I encourage all the students to continue to strive at all times to do their best in to the future.

I congratulate all the new leaders in 2024 for the work that they’ve been doing in their new roles and how they have looked to support people they work with. After four or five weeks into the start of term four of 2024, I am over the moon being able to report the roles are going magnificently. Staff have taken on leadership roles with real energy and commitment and are thriving in the roles. I see both enjoyment and growth and their strong support for the staff and the students that they work with is outstanding.

Lastly a reminder that our 2024 College theme is “Let your light lead the way”. Be it students, teachers or families of this great school, you are our leaders. Please ensure your light continues to burn brightly.

May 2024 be a wonderful year, filled with great health, happiness, wellbeing and success.

All the best

John Cortese

March 2024.