Dear colleagues, parents and caregivers, and supporters of Catholic education
After a slightly delayed start to the 2021 school year, we have been fortunate not to have had further disruptions caused by COVID-19 this term. I am thankful to our schools for responding quickly to the changes as they unfolded, as well as for the combined efforts of parents, staff and students who have continued to maintain safe practices and healthy learning environments for our students.
The Perth hills community – particularly those affected by the bushfires earlier this term – remain in our prayers, as do the communities in New South Wales and Queensland who have been displaced by the more recent extreme flooding. As communities not just of learning but of faith and action, we must always be concerned about issues impacting the safety and wellbeing of others.
The pace of school life can be relentless, and the start of a new school year is a particularly busy time as teachers and staff focus on setting our students on a path to success each year. In 2021, as Catholic schools across Australia celebrate 200 years of Catholic education in Australia, we celebrate 50 years since Catholic schools across our state joined together to become Catholic Education Western Australia. In marking this important milestone, we pay tribute to the teachers and Catholic education staff past and present who have chosen a vocation in education, who have put the needs of students at the forefront year after year, and who have supported generations of Catholic school students to discover their gifts and potential. As schools and educators take a frontline role in providing safe, calm and supportive learning environments in these unpredictable times, I acknowledge Catholic education staff for your commitment to our vital work.
There has been much happening across our system in Term One. I had the pleasure of joining 100th anniversary celebrations with the St Kieran Catholic Primary School community, while Deputy Executive Director Wayne Bull attended the 175th anniversary celebration at Mercedes College this term. The Catholic Education Leaders’ Forum – bringing together Principals and school leadership teams from across the State – took place in Perth in February while CEWA’s Webinar Week provided outstanding professional learning opportunities for Catholic staff right across the state.
With the COVID-19 situation in WA continuing to remain under control, and the commencement of the vaccination program, we are thankfully able to plan for some favourite events to take place again in physical venues this year. Along with many school productions and events, the three mainstays of Catholic Arts – the Angelico Exhibition, Performing Arts Festival and Carnevalé – will be back in their usual formats.
The Caritas Project Compassion theme for 2021 is ‘Be More’, inspired by the words of St Oscar Romero, “Aspire not to have more, but to be more”. This reminds us that we are called to live a life centred on generosity and love.
In reflecting on this, I would encourage you to support the work of Caritas that allows us to be more for those in our communities and for many in our world today who are in great need of the support offered through Caritas.
So, in this Holy Week, and as we prepare for Easter and the end of Term One, I wish you and your family every blessing and hope that Easter brings, and trust that the holidays will be restful and restorative for all in our school communities.