RAY COLLINS: Seasons Greetings

This last week of school brings to a close another very busy year in Catholic schools across our diocese. I seem to say that every year but there is little doubt that school years continue to grow in busyness and intensity each year.

2014 has witnessed significant achievements by the students and staff of our schools and there have been major initiatives undertaken across the diocese.

Our achievements have been extensive and have covered a wide range of school activities including success at state level in academic competitions, debating and sport and achievements within our region in the Performing Arts and various competitions that allow our students to demonstrate their talents and abilities.

It is a year that has seen the construction of our new Catholic Primary School at Chisholm which will be blessed and opened in March 2015. It has also seen the implementation of a major study into the provision of Catholic Secondary schools across the diocese.

Whilst the recommendations of the study have not been finalised some anticipated initiatives of the study have already been implemented, particularly the purchase of land at Medowie for the construction of a new Catholic secondary school and initial planning for a new secondary school at Chisholm, adjacent to St Aloysius Catholic Primary School.

Our year has also been touched by tragedy in the sad deaths of members of staff, parents and family members. Each has had a profound effect on the school community in which these people were valued members. The support shown by our schools to families in time of grief is remarkable. A number of staff have been battling serious illness as well and again the support of their school communities has been greatly appreciated.

As a diocese we have been blessed by the support of our Bishop and the clergy and religious of our Catholic communities and we are very grateful to each for their ongoing support of Catholic school education.

Our parent body has also had a very successful year with the Federation of Parents and Friends Association hosting a number of highly successful seminars across the diocese on topics of great interest to parents and school staff alike.

To everyone involved in Catholic education across the diocese I extend my very sincere thanks for the energy and passion that has gone into ensuring that our schools continue to provide a quality Catholic education to the students in our care.

As we move towards the end of Advent and prepare for the celebration of the birth of Our Lord and Saviour I hope that this special time of year will bring great blessings to all who have contributed in so many ways to provision of Catholic education across the diocese.

I wish you all a very happy and holy Christmas and a restful break from the stresses of our modern world. I look forward to continuing our work and mission in 2015.

Ray Collins Image
Ray Collins

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