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Principal's Desk

Principal's Desk - Edition 3, 2024

20 May 2024

It may be surprising to know that we have reached the midpoint of Term 2. It is a time when there is pressure to complete assessments for Semester 1 and we are on the cusp of finishing this Semester with examinations and then starting Semester 2. It is a busy and productive time, and I am thankful for the work that continues each day both at home and at school to ensure that students achieve their best across academic and wellbeing measures. 

Recently the Church celebrated Pentecost Sunday, which is a significant moment in the ministry and mission of the people of faith. The coming of the Holy Spirit, which we celebrate on Pentecost Sunday, has significant meaning for us as a community of faith today as it is the foundation for our John Paul College House charisms of community, perseverance, generosity, and courage. These must be principles that are lived each day and ones that we strive to embody in every aspect of our school life, guiding our actions, decisions, and interactions.

Pentecost Sunday: A Time of Reflection and Renewal

Pentecost Sunday marks the coming of the Holy Spirit to the apostles. Following Jesus’ death, his followers must have been despondent and in genuine fear for their own safety. It would have been a time of uncertainty, and it would have been easy for the apostles to think that all that they had dedicated themselves to was now finished and pointless. The arrival of the Holy Spirit empowered the apostles to think differently to make a commitment to continue in Jesus’ name, spreading His teachings, transcending barriers and fostering a sense of unity and purpose. It is a moment of profound transformation and inspiration which should encourage us to reflect on how we, too, can bring about positive change in our own lives and the lives of those around us by our approach to adversity and challenge.

Embodying College Values through the Spirit of Pentecost

  1. Community: The essence of Pentecost lies in bringing people together. Just as the apostles were united by the Holy Spirit, we at John Paul College strive to cultivate a strong sense of community. Our challenge is to understand and respect the individual differences and backgrounds that all bring as members of this community but also to see that we have shared goals and values which unite us. By fostering mutual respect and understanding and by listening to and appreciating each other, we build a more inclusive and supportive environment where everyone feels valued and connected.
  2. Perseverance: The apostles faced numerous challenges as they spread the message of Christ, yet their perseverance never wavered. They faced persecution, rejection and the dominance of other worldviews and faiths. Similarly, our students and staff demonstrate remarkable resilience in their academic and personal lives. Whether it's overcoming challenges in their academic learning or navigating difficult social or personal situations, the spirit of perseverance is alive and well at John Paul College. If the approach to these challenges is viewing them as opportunities to show perseverance then, with the support and encouragement of others around us such as teachers and parents, then growth and achievement are possible.
  3. Generosity: The teachings of Jesus emphasize generosity, a value that is integral to our College ethos. Inspired by the apostles' mission to serve others, our community is called to engage in various acts of kindness and charity. The spirit of Pentecost asks each of us to go out to others and let them see the person of Jesus through our actions and words. This can be in the simple aspects of each day where we show generosity f=to others in our day-to-day interactions and larger enterprises such as volunteering for the Community Companion and participation in various other social justice projects. These all teach our students the importance of giving back and making a difference in the world. We are proud of their efforts and the impact they have on our broader community.
  4. Courage: It took immense courage for the apostles to preach and live their faith in the face of what must have seemed like insurmountable obstacles. At John Paul College, we encourage our students to be courageous in their endeavours. This means standing up for what is right, embracing new challenges, and being leaders in their own classroom, friendship groups and in the yard. Our pastoral and leadership programs are designed to nurture this bravery, helping students to develop the confidence to make a positive impact. Whether it's acting or speaking out against injustice, taking on leadership roles, or simply stepping out of their comfort zones, we celebrate the courage our students show every day and we will continue to work to help them develop the skills and attitudes to continue striving even in the face of adversities.

Looking Ahead: Continuing Our Mission

As we reflect on these values and the spirit of Pentecost, we can see obstacles and challenges in a different light. They become opportunities to live out the charisms of Community, Perseverance, Generosity and Courage. 

So, Pentecost is a celebration of renewal, unity, and mission. At this time in the Church year, we are all called to embrace the lessons of Pentecost and recommit ourselves to our charisms and our mission, especially when things are difficult. The Holy Spirit is with us too, helping us to be better, to do more, and to strive for excellence in all that we do. Let us move forward with the spirit of Pentecost in our hearts, united in our commitment to making John Paul College a place where every student can thrive.

May the Holy Spirit guide and bless each one of us.