Principal's Welcome

Welcome back to Term Two 2020 and what a different start this has been for families, teachers and our College community. Our normally vibrant, noisy, bustling place of learning is so quiet. It does not feel the same. I am an optimist and I know we will return to normal soon, I just have to be patient.

It was to be expected there would be some teething problems as we settled into a new routine of learning at home and technology will always present a challenge. I am confident we will overcome these early difficulties as the first week unfolds.

One of the intentional goals for this time of Learning@Home is to assist our young men develop as independent learners. To assist students to develop as independent learners it is important that we allow our students the opportunity to work through the materials and at times to struggle and even fail. It is often our failures that are our most effective teacher. So please do not be too hasty in solving all the problems your son will experience. I find asking questions about what solution he is trying or strategies he may employ to solve the problem will provide your son with problem-solving skills that will be able to be applied to a variety of situations. And how good does it feel when you solve a problem successfully all by yourself!

I sent my Year 11 ACP class a short video yesterday checking in and asking them to video back to me their responses about their first day at home. All the responses were positive so far. Some had difficulties with downloads and this issue was solved by their teachers who emailed the work. It was great to see their faces and all students were extremely respectful and polite- a credit to their families. Our staff are here to help all our families and students get through this challenging time of Learning@Home so please do not hesitate to contact our staff.

I want to thank our parents for their patience and understanding as together we meet the challenge of the majority of our students continuing their education by working from home.

New Learning Centre
With little over a month until the delivery of the new building, the New Learning Centre is finally being revealed to the community. It is a very impressive building and is quite imposing. I visited the site yesterday and the classroom spaces are nearing completion on floors one and two with work continuing on the top floor. The students and staff will enjoy spectacular views over the city skyline and Coorparoo suburb from their high vantage point.

This new building will provide high quality learning facilities for our students and staff. I am confident our community will be thrilled with the new addition to our College.

Prayers
We keep in our prayers all those in our world affected by the Coronavirus. May they find the compassion and love of our God a comfort during these troubled times.

You have made us for Yourself O Lord
And our hearts are restless until they rest in You.

God bless
Mr Mark Stower, Principal

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Teaching and Learning

Week 1 of Learning@Home is almost complete. It has certainly been an interesting week, with a number of challenges posed. The first is the lack of face-to-face engagement that our boys are so used to having on a daily basis. Yes, they are extremely technology savvy and as a result find it very easy to connect in a digital environment. They find ways of completing tasks efficiently when they have a device available. However, the ‘human-ness’ of a classroom is something that cannot be replicated online. Although our students enjoy their holiday breaks, they also appreciate what being on campus offers. I have been in contact with a number of students in the Year 12 cohort as well as a number of younger students this week and most are looking forward to physically being back in the classroom. One of the reasons why the College modified the daily timings was to prevent our students sitting in front of their devices for six hours a day. The ability to concentrate for long times is certainly not enhanced by increased screen time and the feedback from students has confirmed that the shorter (and hopefully more intense) periods has been of benefit.

As we move into Week 2 of Learning@Home, we hope to bring forward the opportunity for teachers to now start interacting face-to-face using video conferencing if they feel it is appropriate. Whilst some teachers have been making available video recordings of parts of lessons to teach concepts or engaging students with a pre-recorded message to start a class, we have been conscious to start with the basics of establishing routine. Originally, the College was to implement video conferencing in Week 3, however, confidence in the use of this platform has allowed us to start next week. Parents are asked to complete the form below to give permission for their son to engage in video conferencing with their teachers.

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=pVLDvKol9EeHKipkErxkNra4AgAGRHhBsIIYXgoHg9FUMTRFR0hBR0lZSk5UUzM1TUNIOUdKNVdTUi4u

The second challenge this week was the connectivity and synchronisation issues encountered with the Microsoft platform. Thank you to all parents and students for their patience and persistence. As communicated this week, it has been an issue that is out of our hands. With many schools across the State engaging with Microsoft platforms, the increased usage slowed connectivity to a ‘snail’s pace’. Over the past few days, Microsoft have change some of their configurations whilst the College has changed the ways we have approached providing work. I would again encourage your sons to ensure that their devices are ‘awake’ at night to allow them to synchronise, particularly their OneNote.

Finally, congratulations to the many parents who have been at home with their sons and have assisted them in learning this week. I have included an article below that offers some tips in this time of learning from home.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-19/coronavirus-may-have-parents-homeschooling-kids/12064634

Mr John Christie, Dean of Teaching and Learning

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Junior School

This is new, composing a Junior School editorial for Term 2, Week 1, in my office with only the crows outside the window for company. Whilst I can see blue skies and hear teachers talking as they walk past the Junior School office; I really miss having our 312 Junior School boys together.  The 32 that we are supervising today in the Veritas Building (right next door to our 2020 Junior Precinct Development) make me so proud and grateful to be here – they look incredibly smart in the College tie as part of their Winter uniform. One Year 5 student, from a reliable source, has even learned to make a double Windsor knot and who is not impressed by that? These students are so brave and are building resilience working online, independently, with new staff and around students across Middle and Senior School.  Each day they find a little more normality about how school life works, just for the moment, and they grow in confidence in ways we cannot quite yet comprehend.

I am very mindful of the 270 boys working from home today.  It is day four and navigating the strength of internet, traffic utilising OneNote, and lessons to work around home life is happening 270 different ways. Emails are taking up more inbox space, collaboration spaces are filling up with eager minds looking to connect and we set ourselves the challenge to do what we can.  Thank you – everyone.

It is exciting one minute, followed by success, and we feel altogether proud and inspired.  It is then overwhelming the next minute and we might panic, demanding to know “when will this be over?”  We reset.  We read a funny meme, see a photo of someone else’s home office set up, find comfort in seeing our mates and colleagues experience the same sensations – and we find peace with our world, our space, our new rules.  This rollercoaster is not limited to students, it is just the same with adults – staff, parents and all extended families of Villanova College.  We are together, simultaneously happy, rattled and safe.  We inhale, and we exhale.  We keep moving forward towards the hope of life returning to something closer to what we know so well.

So, we make a pact – we keep a mantra every day.  As Villanovans we can work on saying out loud one of the following (I am aiming for seven – one per each day of the week – depending on how your day goes, depends on the mantra you might employ).

  1. This moment will pass, and I will pass through it with glory (well the stories I tell in the future will sound far more glorious than this reality – look out future grandkids, I am going to really get a lot of miles out of this).
  2. Laugh and then laugh some more because it is the one thing I can do (because I certainly cannot always seem to fix the internet or OneNote syncing – humour heals us and so does our access to online tools).
  3. Let us stop doing what is not obviously working for us and find something else that does (like my Dad says, don’t waste time flogging a dead horse – this old world saying actually means so much more now than it ever did).
  4. A pandemic does not mean I am a pantry picker (I need to watch my snacking, so I need something catchy to help me not eat more when I am bored or stressed).
  5. Say thank you, bless you or how can I help you? (each one is positive and what we need just one person a day to say to us – mental health MATTERS).
  6. Create and innovate (turn the ordinary into extraordinary – leave surprises for others to find, bring the unexpected into the simplest of routines e.g. dinner on a picnic rug in front of the television or Movie Night becomes a weeknight family event).
  7. NBA is coming back one day (okay this is my personal favourite – substitute your favourite sport if you must change my beloved basketball – Rugby needs to come to thee; Football will always stand tall – nope, NBA is coming back one day is the best one).

We are together Villanovans and I am right here, on College grounds waiting for you to return.  In the meantime, I am looking at your Class OneNote, reading your emails and working hard to get you back as soon as possible. I am proud of you, and I am so very proud of your parents and teachers.  You are so important to us.

Mr Stephen Rouhliadeff , Head of Junior School

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Head of Middle School

In this week’s podcast we hear from Charlie Corrigan and Thomas Winn to gain their perspectives on the COVID-19 crisis. My thanks to Mrs Julie Colbert for her involvement also. Please click on the image to begin listening.

Mr Greg O’Neill, Head of Middle School

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Head of Senior School

Student Wellbeing
As we draw towards the end of our first week of Learning@Home, it is my hope that all Senior School students have established positive routines and are engaging diligently with their online learning.

As outlined in my correspondence to students and families last week, one of the key priorities of the Senior School Pastoral Care Team is to ensure that the wellbeing of our students is nurtured during this time away from the College. We have focused our intentions around the four key habits of wellbeing – Mindfulness, Exercise, Nutrition and Sleep. Throughout this term, I will share with you the activities and programs we are introducing through the Form Meeting Program which are designed to cultivate these four habits.

I would like to share an excerpt from an article written by behavioural and social scientist Wendy Troxel pertaining to strategies to support healthy sleep amidst the backdrop of the Covid-19 global pandemic:

People of all ages sleep better when they follow consistent daily and nightly routines. This is particularly important during stressful times when many of us no longer have the usual scheduling constraints of going to school or to work. Predictable routines send a message to people’s brains that the world is safe and secure- a critical step to reduce anxiety, which can keep children up at night.

 Now’s also a good time to set limits on technology use, particularly at bedtime. With our children home throughout the day and with many of us trying to work from home as well, many parents may be loosening up the usual rules on technology throughout the day. That is understandable. However, both the stimulating content and light exposure from using devices at night can disrupt children’s and teens’ sleep-wake schedules. Make it a family habit to collectively put your phones and devices to bed at least one hour before bedtime in some neutral place – that is, not a bedroom – such as the kitchen. Recharge your phones while your family is recharging itself with healthy sleep.

It is important to look for the silver lining during challenging times such as these, and one such benefit may be that we have an opportunity to connect with our families in a way that we normally don’t have the space or time for. Feeling socially connected is absolutely critical for healthy sleep, no matter your age. There may be times when it feels like too much family time when you are all cooped up inside.

In the evenings, try to reserve time to share a meal together and bond in a meaningful way without technology. Play a board game, do a puzzle, go for a walk, or watch a movie together. As parents of a high school senior will know,  these moments are fleeting. Being present in the moment and being grateful for the time you are able to spend together is a great strategy to support healthy sleep and the well-being of the entire family.

Holiday Reading
Over the holiday period I was able to get my teeth into some great books – both for work and pleasure! I love spy fiction and one of the greats of the genre is the master John Le Carré. His latest novel, ‘Agent Running in the Field’ is a contemporary geo-political thriller and a chilling portrait of our times. Certainly, a cracker of a read!

I also read ‘Cracking the Boy Code – How to Understand and Talk with Boys’ by clinical psychologist Dr Adam J Cox. This is a wonderful resource for both teachers and parents alike who want to nurture and sustain meaningful connections with the boys in their lives. Over the course of this term, I will share some of Cox’s pragmatic insights, especially in our current times in which the power of connection has never been more important.

The author begins with an exploration of what is good communication when engaging with boys. According to Cox, good communication helps to connect boys to their ‘ideal selves’. In addition, boys yearn for an appreciation of their ideals in their conversations with adults – that they are respected and taken seriously. Communication that is easiest for boys to digest and which sets the stage for great conversations have three important qualities:

  • Vocabulary that is familiar
  • Phrasing that is non-judgmental
  • Tone that is matter of fact

As a final point for this week, ‘it is the form of communication that resonates deeply for boys, and which they remember for hours and days after a conversation- your tone is louder’ than your words!”

“The greatest compassion is the prevention of human suffering through patience, alertness, courage and kindness.”- Amit Ray

Mr Matt Levander, Head of Senior School

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Ministry News

Lenten Appeal (St Vincent de Paul Group)
In the last week of last term, 24 hampers were delivered to local residents who had asked for support. Some of the doorstep reactions were emotional, and we also received several phone calls of gratitude. There were many good stories, including the woman who asked if she could give her hamper to someone “in more need.” We ended up making an extra hamper to meet this request.

We also had many extra donations, particularly of staple foods. We therefore had two convoy deliveries to Emmanuel City Mission. This drop-in centre has managed to remain open by creating effective social distancing. For this reason, there has been a large number of homeless and at-risk people gathering there every morning. Not only have the Villanova donations made a difference, but also a number of staff have been able to offer vitally needed volunteer support during the “rush” hours between 9.30 am and 11 am.

In fact, if any parents or family members wish to give up a morning to volunteer, I thoroughly recommend the experience – an experience of community as one of our students put it. See the website for details: https://emmanuelcitymission.com/

Letters to Elderly resident
Middle School Ministry students, under the leadership of Year 9 student Ryan Hegerty, have started a campaign of writing letters to the residents of two local nursing homes. The system is that the student chooses a resident based on a list of hobbies and writes as from Villanova using first name. If your son would like to be join the Villa Care Army and write a letter, please let me know via email – jholroyd@vnc.qld.edu.au .

ANZAC Service and Community Response
In the first Zoom meeting of the term, some student leaders said they would like to engage with an online ANZAC Service. We are putting together our service with all the important elements, and we will have it ready for students and family members to view on Friday Period 3 – our usual assembly slot. I would particularly like to thank College Counsellor, Mr Adrian Hellwig, for putting together an engaging PowerPoint, and to Villanova parent, Mr Brendan Cox (CEO of Legacy Qld) for providing an address about the importance of the ANZAC service to veterans and their family, especially in the time of social distancing.

Students and families will be invited to support this year’s ANZAC day in two ways. Firstly, Ministry Captain Isaak Collie directly encourages us all to participate in the “Light up the Dawn” service by lighting a candle (or phone) in our driveway at 6 am on Saturday morning.

Secondly, it is a difficult time for Legacy with the cancellation of all the official services. I would like to urge families to enter the ANZAC biscuit bake-off challenge (link below) and donate to Legacy. When you go to the link for the challenge, you find that you can download a free recipe book. The humbling thing is that the recipes have been provided by Legacy widows. The other thing I love about this challenge is the way it tunes into the spirit of the moment, with so many families spending time together learning new recipes. Please follow the attached link to find out more: https://legacybakeoff2020.gofundraise.com.au/cms/home. When you follow the link and download the recipe book, the message you receive speaks for itself:

Legacy support comes almost entirely through donations and community fundraising. With so many ANZAC Day ceremonies and events cancelled this year, your help is essential. Your participation will directly help us to continue providing services for 52,000 of Australia’s most vulnerable people – widows, single parents, grieving children and people with a disability.”

Mr John Holroyd, Dean of Mission and Identity

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Sport

I take this opportunity to welcome all families back to Villanova College (albeit in a new format for the time being) from what I hope was a restful and enjoyable time as a family over the Easter break. Looking ahead there is currently no clarity around what will happen in AIC sport during Terms 3 and 4.

As was published late last term, all sporting activities including pre-season training is cancelled throughout Term 2. A number of meetings will be held this term to discuss what may or may not happen for the remainder of the year. The uncertainty of a commencement date makes any forward planning difficult. If it were only one sport on offer, it would not be as complicated, however, when we offer multiple sports across multiple age groups the difficulty becomes greater as more decisions have to be made and agreed by all schools.

Our aim remains to have something in place which allows for maximum participation, if and when sport returns. My personal aim is to look after the Year 12 cohort as a priority and to salvage what we can for them in their final year.

I encourage us all to keep up a level of fitness throughout this period. It is great to see that more families are getting out and about around our local neighbourhoods walking, jogging and cycling. During this term, the weekly ‘Villanova Fitness Program’ will continue be posted every Monday as a way of promoting exercise amongst those in our community. More information regarding this program is found below.

May I also draw your attention to the section below regarding the hire jerseys. We would like these returned as soon as possible please. In the meantime, keep safe and keep fit.

Volleyball/AFL and Rugby League Hire Shirts/Jerseys

May I please ask those students who hired a volleyball or AFL shirt/jersey for the 2020 season to return them as soon as possible to the College please. We also have a small number of Rugby League jerseys which have not been returned from last year as well (these families have been contacted via email this week).

All hire jerseys/shirts can be returned to the Uniform Shop (8am – 1pm), Sports Office (8am – 3pm) or Main Reception (7.45am – 3.00pm). Please ensure your jersey or shirt has a name tag of some sort attached for accounting purposes.

Villanova Weekly Fitness Programs

Each week the College will publish a ‘Weekly Fitness Program’ which is designed so that all members of our College community (staff, students and parents) are able to access and use as a way of maintaining and/or further developing a level of fitness throughout this COVID-19 period. The weekly program includes 3 sessions (Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3). You may choose to complete these 3 sessions on any day throughout the week or perhaps double up the sessions to make a full 6-day program with a rest day. All activities can be completed without specialised equipment.

Feel free to access the weekly programs via the link provided if you are interested. All programs remain on this site for you to refer back to if you wish. Enjoy!

https://www.vnc.qld.edu.au/student-life/co-curricular/sport/villanova-fitness-program/

AIC Cross Country

Please visit the AIC Cross Country section on the College’s website to view a complete Cross Country training schedule designed by our coaches for students to follow in the effort to maintain their fitness levels during this period of time.

https://www.vnc.qld.edu.au/student-life/co-curricular/sport/aic-cross-country/

Ben Mowen and Andrew Slack Strength and Conditioning

The College gym is currently closed, however, our Strength and Conditioning Coach, Mr Michael Walsh has devised a program for all squad members to follow during this closure so as the boys can keep up their general fitness levels.

If any member of the squad has access to gym equipment at their homes, you are able to email Michael Walsh directly with a list of equipment you have and he will devise a special program for you to follow on top of what has been offered. Otherwise please follow the program posted in the AIC Rugby Union section, link below.

https://www.vnc.qld.edu.au/student-life/co-curricular/sport/aic-rugby/

Representative Sport

Top 25 Australian Swimming Rankings for the Season
As the competitive swimming season was cut short this year some of our swimmers did not get to swim at Age Nationals and State Swimming Championships, after training hard all year. However, it is important to celebrate the amazing season results for some of our swimmers.

Our congratulations to the following swimmers, who have all been recognised in Swimming Australia’s Top 25 for the 2019/2020 season in various events and strokes:

13 years – Tyler Clelland – four swims in 50 Breaststroke, 100 Breaststroke and 200 Breaststroke
14 years – Caden Clelland – five swims, including a third in 50 Backstroke, 50 Breaststroke, 50 Butterfly, 100IM and 200IM
15 years – Jack Hewitt – two swims in 200 Freestyle and 400 Freestyle

These swims combine both the short and long course in Swimming Australia’s Top 25. This is an outstanding achievement from these boys, well done!

 Mr Craig Stariha, Director of Sport

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Music

Student Music Leaders’ Podcast Launch
The Music Leadership Group of 2020 set themselves the goal of enhancing student engagement across the music program and engagement of the music program with the student body.  I am very proud of how they have manoeuvred themselves proactively to allow this goal to be worked towards in such a challenging remote learning environment.  Their vision and enthusiasm is extremely pleasing.

The inaugural podcast of Tuned In was launched yesterday, the first of what will be a weekly event. This is a great opportunity for the student voice within the department to be communicated and an opportunity for greater communication of vision and direction across the music community here at the College.

I encourage you to support the boys – have a listen and send your feedback through – they would really appreciate it!  You can find the first episode via this link or the embedded code below:  https://www.buzzsprout.com/1031425/3458632.

Message from the Director of Music
Every day, I have the pleasure of saying ‘G’day’ to students as they come through the Augustine Centre for their music lessons.  We have an opportunity to speak and I learn a little more about you as people beyond your engagement with our department here at the College.  I must admit that I am finding this new isolation a little challenging and look forward to opportunities for a little interaction with you all.

During this period, I have had a chance to speak with colleagues from the U.S. who are now facing much more stringent isolation orders than we are. I get to learn about what their students are facing and how this new world is creating some challenging situations for us all to negotiate.  Listening and learning about these experiences, and working through these challenges with my own children, I feel keenly the need to try to assist you gentlemen in negotiating this new space in which we work.

As a means of maintaining communication with you all, I will send you a short video message from my office that will be emailed as a link ready for you to view on Monday morning.  I hope that my ‘chat’ affords you a little perspective and possibly a way of negotiating your current world.  Here is a link to the video sent through on Monday 19 April – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddQopVKOru4 – I hope you find it helpful.

Ensemble lessons and rehearsals
Ensemble rehearsals and lessons are continuing.  We will be working both via Zoom and through work set in OneNote.  Based on current feedback things seem to be running smoothly.  If you are having concerns or issues with connection or communication around these activities, please contact the Music Office immediately so that we can work through concerns together.

We will need to be able to share information rapidly and easily to keep the show on the road; please do not be concerned about sharing issues with me at this time.  Within our current context, we need to make sure all procedures are clear and being followed.

Stay in Touch
We will be maintaining contact via email, through the Villanova Music Facebook page, and through your son’s OneNote music diaries.  Should you require assistance or consumables for your son’s instrument, please don’t hesitate to contact Music Office on 3394 5691.  Leave a voicemail if it’s unattended – we will get back to you!

Thank you all for your continued support of Villanova Music.  We hope that we can continue to be of service to you and your son as we navigate this challenging time together.

Mr Michael Jones, Director of Music

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Parent Information

Villanova College Business Directory
Thank you to those who provided their business details. Our Business Directory is now available for the community to view.

https://www.vnc.qld.edu.au/ou…/villanova-business-directory/

Let’s connect with our College families, sponsors and Old Boys to support local business during these challenging times. If you have a small business and would like to be included in the directory, please email marketing@vnc.qld.edu.au and we will continue to update the directory as new listings come through.

Villanova Ball
Unfortunately, the 2020 Villanova College Ball scheduled for July 25, 2020 will not be proceeding. The organising committee is looking forward to bringing parents a spectacular event in 2021 when everyone is in a better position to support the event and really celebrate our community strength as one.

Students with Disability Travel Rebate (Non State Schools Transport Assistance Scheme) – Semester 1, 2020

  • Does your child have a verified disability that requires transport assistance to and from school?
  • Has your school’s learning support teacher assessed your child’s travel capability rating as ‘semi-independent’ or more dependent?

Visit the website to see if you qualify for financial assistance to help with the cost of transport and apply at www.schooltransport.com.au by 31 May 2020. Late applications cannot be accepted after this date.

 

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Archive Anecdotes

Villanova House System
There are four Houses at Villanova College : Crane, Goold, Heavey and Murray – named after early Augustinian Bishops.  The first Australian Augustinian Bishop was Father James Goold and the three other Bishops: Martin Crane, James Murray and John Heavey were important Augustinian pioneers who worked towards the creation of a strong Augustinian presence in Australia.  This is the first story in a series of four.

James Goold – first Bishop of Melbourne

James Alipius Goold was born in Cork, Ireland in 1812.  He entered the Order of St Augustine and was ordained in 1835.  He became aware of the lack of priests in Australia and following permission from the Irish Provincial, arrived in Sydney in 1838.  He found that there was governmental suspicion of Catholicism as it could potentially provide the Irish convicts and ex-convicts with a rallying point.  A greater problem was that many of the Irish who lacked contact with their church since arriving in Australia, were often not willing to embrace it again.

Soon after his arrival he became parish priest at St John’s, Campbelltown (1841) and built a presbytery, several churches and a number of schools.  He always observed Augustinian feast days, a challenge when he was the only Augustinian in Australia at the time.

After serving the Campbelltown community for nine years, Goold was appointed the first Bishop of Melbourne in July 1847.  His trip to Melbourne in a stage coach was held up by bushrangers on the way, and has become quite a legend within the Augustinians.  He is also known for his support of the miners at the Eureka Stockade.

Once in Melbourne, Bishop Goold collaborated with other protestant religions to fight the government into supporting church schools with financial aid.  He was also a leading advocate and organiser in the building of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne in 1850.

Bishop Goold had always hoped to establish an Augustinian monastery in his own dioceses. However, it was not until after his death that the first Australian community of Augustinians was established.

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