RAY COLLINS: Welcome Back to Term 4

As we begin the last school term for 2014 I hope our staff and students have had a relaxing break away from the demands of school and are able to begin Term 4 with a refreshed approach to the work of education.

As we begin the last school term for 2014 I hope our staff and students have had a relaxing break away from the demands of school and are able to begin Term 4 with a refreshed approach to the work of education.

For some, of course, the last two weeks have involved a steady regime of study and revision as our HSC students prepare for the commencement of their exams in the next week. Whilst I left school 45 years ago this year, I still recall those days leading up to the HSC as rather hectic days of revising topics studied, practising essay writing but also taking some time to relax. From memory that relaxation involved taking a break every couple of hours and listening to music, a favourite past time of mine. In those days it was a combination of the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan. I am not sure what our present generation would be listening to but I hope whatever it is, it provides them with the opportunity to unwind and take their minds off their studies for a while.

I extend to all our HSC students our very best wishes and prayerful support as they approach their exams. I trust they do so with the knowledge that their work over the last 13 years will have prepared them well for this final challenge of their school lives.

It is a demanding time but it is also just another aspect of our life that we undertake as part of hopefully a long and fulfilling life.

As they prepare I also want to acknowledge the Principals and staff of our schools with HSC students for the support and guidance they continue to provide to their students. I am sure these HSC days are also somewhat of a challenge for them as they anxiously anticipate the questions and tasks that the examiners have set, hoping they will be ones that the students will be able to address with calmness and confidence.

As I have said on a number of occasions, as a Primary School teacher I have great admiration for our teachers who prepare students for the HSC. It is a demanding role but one that I constantly see embraced with enthusiasm and commitment to the welfare of their students.

For those not involved in the HSC, this school term is also a very busy one as the learning foundations for future senior students are carefully set out and encouraged. This teaching and learning takes place in a hectic schedule of other events during the Term, particularly as we enter the Season of Advent and prepare for the joyful celebrations of Christmas.

To all our school and CSO staff I extend my best wishes for a successful final term of 2014.

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Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.