In a year that has been shaped by the extraordinary events of the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) school and office leaders from across the state recently had the opportunity to come together to celebrate Mass, to give thanks, and to reflect on the significant and invaluable role of schools, particularly in these challenging times.
The Mass, held at St Mary’s Church in Leederville, was celebrated by The Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe, Archbishop of Perth, The Most Reverend Michael Morrissey, Bishop of Geraldton, and The Most Reverend Gerard Holohan, Bishop of Bunbury and Chair of the Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia, who gave the Homily.
Thirty new and transferring Principals who commence in their roles in 2021 were commissioned, as was Professor Glennda Scully who takes up the position of CEWA’s Director, Finance and Infrastructure next January. In congratulating Dr Scully on her appointment, CEWA Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce also thanked and farewelled outgoing Director of Finance, Gerry Doyle.
“Responding to 163 different schooling environments presents many, many challenges. Gerry has led his team with strong determination, support and a deep commitment to vision of Catholic education,” she said.
Following Mass, retiring Principals received citations and Principals concluding ten or more years of service were awarded Brady Medals at a presentation next door at Aranmore Catholic College.
Dr Sayce, in her address to guests, acknowledged that 2020 has been shaped by extraordinary events. “Our staff, parents and broader communities have demonstrated the tremendous resilience and creativity of the human spirit, the collective strength of belonging and the significance of gratitude. These are the people who pivoted an entire system of education – advancing how and where learning is delivered, co-ordinating care and support for the most vulnerable in our communities, demonstrating love and gratitude on a level we could never imagine.
Continuing, she said that Principals and school staff “most importantly of all, in the midst of relentless change, provided certainty and stability”.
“As we express our gratitude to our long serving Principals who are stepping away from leading in our schools this year, we are reminded of how their dedicated service has shaped the lives of so many others.
“While today is a gesture of our gratitude, the real reward is to know the positive impact you have had on the lives of so many students and colleagues over the years – to know that the fruits of your service will be with us in the contributions that your students make to our world now and in the future,” Dr Sayce said.
Fourteen retiring CEWA Principals were presented with Brady Medals in 2020, with many of them accepting their award on the night. In addition, five retiring Principals were acknowledged with citations for their significant contributions.
The Mass and presentations are a feature of the CEWA calendar every year, and are usually held at the Chapel of St Michael the Archangel and the Catholic Education Centre in West Leederville, however in 2020 they were moved to the larger St Mary’s Church in line with COVID-19 precautions.