Principal's Welcome

The recent announcement by the Queensland Premier about students returning to classroom learning is welcomed news for all. Over the last few days, we have been planning for the return of students and informing our staff of the measures we will be taking. It is important to remember we are not over the threat of the Coronavirus and we all need to take steps to stop the spread of the disease and all adults must practise physical distancing and good hygiene.

I have written to all families outlining the procedures that will need to be followed to protect all in our community from infection. These new procedures may cause some minor inconveniences for students and parents. However, in the interest of our health these measures are necessary, and I thank you for your understanding and adherence to these procedures.

Staff Matters
I wish to make parents aware of the current medical advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) regarding staff in the workplace. Staff who are vulnerable or live with a vulnerable person should not be in the workplace and will, where necessary have the option to work from home.

The current AHPPC advice defines vulnerable people as:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical condition
  • people 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions. The most current definition of ‘chronic medical condition’ is on the Department of Health website
  • people 70 years and older
  • people with compromised immune systems (see Department of Health website).

Consequently, there will be a number of staff who will not be returning to the classroom for some time. The College will ensure the students are adequately supported by our staff and supervising teachers to continue with their learning and to minimise any ongoing disruption to their studies.

Building News
I am delighted to announce that our new building will officially be named the St. Thomas of Villanova Learning Centre and will be completed by next week. I am looking forward to receiving the keys from our builder, Buildcorp. Over the coming weeks the furniture will be delivered, unpacked, and placed in the building. In addition to the arrival of the furniture, our audio-visual and IT infrastructure will be completed throughout the building to allow for the normal operations of modern classrooms.

Towards the end of this term we will be ready to transition the students to the new building and new classrooms. Our staff are currently planning for the move and once details are finalised, I will inform our community.

We are very excited about the new classrooms and facilities provided by the new building and I am confident the students and staff will be very pleased with their new learning spaces. At an appropriate time in the future we will find a suitable time to officially open the building and allow our community to visit the new learning centre.

Mother’s Day
On behalf of our community I wish all mothers a very enjoyable and special day on Sunday.   I hope in some way all can connect with family members, and mothers receive the thanks they deserve for the support, guidance and love they provide.

Hold My Mother Close

Creator God, hold my mother close to your Heart
As we hold her close to mine. Let her know today and every day
How much we love her. Lord, comfort her mind and reassure her
that her motherly care was everything we needed and wanted
And that we love her dearly.

Lord, comfort her body as she ages and grant her health and
Vitality as she goes through her days here on earth. Bring all
Good things to my precious mother, dear God, and bless her
Every day, in every way. Amen

God bless
Mr Mark Stower, Principal

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Junior School

Ringing my mother Rachel (she lives in Perth) on a regular basis in recent weeks has become part of my routine.  It’s not just Rach ringing in between our weekend sport games, or just before the West Coast Eagles kick off – I’m actually able to ring her first and catch her before she goes into the garden, or heads to the beach for her walk in the afternoon.  It has taken me forty plus years and social isolation restrictions, but nonetheless I am really looking forward to chatting with her each time instead of feeling that I should be doing something else.  There are positives to be found within so many changes at present – and I must admit I am being a more responsible son.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day and it’s important to me that we take the time to truly appreciate the women who are no longer with us, but live on in our stories, who are preparing to be mothers, who are mothers, who might be mothers one day, and also to those women who care for others.  The older I get, the far wider is my scope of what defines a mother.

At primary school I was the platinum blonde, skinny kid who had no time for books, but all the time in the world for my bike and baseball.  When I was meant to be doing homework, I studied my world map on my desk and learnt all the countries and capital cities.  I listened enough in class to pass and if forced to pick up a book.  I would look for a name, a place and read a handful of sentences, so I could waffle on and try to bluff my way through conversations.  I lived at the beach and came home when the streetlights turned on.

My parents divorced when I was twelve, and I was blindsided.  It was the separate houses that I found so difficult – the change in what we could afford, making decisions about picking one sport per year (and not every season like I use to), and sharing a room with my older brother.  Mum had been a “stay at home” parent and so found work at a local primary school as a teaching assistant.  I lived with her mostly, and during my early teenage years was selfish and surly if I look back without rose coloured glasses.  I wanted the most expensive basketball shoes like Michael Jordan (and got no brand Kmart ones), I whinged about wanting ice cream when the response was always “have an apple,” and I could never see just how hard she was working to keep a roof over our heads, clothes on our back and food on the table.  Rachel would be the mum who did all the fundraising activities so she could pay for the baseball uniform and trips if I made teams.  She would iron clothes to help pay bills (she still rates ironing as her favourite chore which I will never understand).  Rachel had an old cream Datsun (no air conditioning) and we took road trips disguised as holidays, driving for endless hours up and down the Western Australian coastline.  I had the radio for company until the signal ran out because talking to my mum was exhausting – can you believe she was desperate to talk about my friends, my life, how I was feeling, what my dreams were?  Looking back how did she do all that and still smile – love me for who I was, and see that I had potential to become a man who might one day get his act together?

So Junior School boys, I know that your Mums, Aunts, Grandmothers and class teachers understand you much more than you will appreciate for quite a while.  There is no Tiffany necklace they would want in place of making a pasta one with you – and they will wear it proudly even if the colours clash.  There is no fancy store-bought card they would trade if you made the time to fold a piece of paper and write down specific things that you love about her.  She will keep that piece of paper tucked away forever.  There is no movie or tv show she would watch if you offered to play a game, go for a walk, or help her if she is busy.  You are the gift.  Your smile, your hugs, your time.  Before you know it, we will be back in our busy worlds and this moment will be gone.  So, take the time this Sunday – use the bonus of being sensible socially – and create a Mother’s Day that she will never forget.  One that you can tell your own kids about one day – “When we had this pandemic in 2020 kids, I cut streamers/made a cake/played Monopoly all day in my pyjamas etc” – and you will watch eyes roll as your children live their part in life’s inevitable rites of passage.

Happy Mother’s Day for Sunday to everyone.  Tell the stories and relive the memories, make the phone calls and prayers to all women, especially on this day.

Mr Stephen Rouhliadeff, Head of Junior School

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Head of Middle School

Please join with me, Mr Alex Sullivan and Mrs Kate Alexander for this week’s podcast, “What have we learnt about our boys during Learning@Home”. Please click on the image to begin listening.

Mr Greg O’Neill, Head of Middle School

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Head of Senior School

Returning to School
The words of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announcing the progressive return of students to school next week was the highlight of my long weekend. Life without students on site has been an incredibly surreal experience and I have certainly missed the energy and enthusiasm that our young men bring to our Coorparoo campus.

We have communicated through both our Year 11 and 12 House Zoom meetings and correspondence sent home the various protocols associated with our students returning next Monday and it is important that everyone recognises their responsibilities. In particular, I would appreciate parental support in ensuring that all students are well groomed (especially with respect to haircuts) and present in full winter academic uniform when classes resume.

Student Wellbeing
One of the four pillars of wellbeing that we have been promoting within our Senior School Learning@Home Program is Mindfulness. Whilst the other three bedrocks of exercise, nutrition and sleep are widely appreciated for their inherent benefits, the value of mindfulness is often overlooked- perhaps because it is misunderstood.

According to Headspace, mindfulness is ‘the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we are doing at the moment — free from distraction or judgment, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.’ One way to formally practice and cultivate mindfulness is through meditation- where you sit and focus on your breathing or the sensations experienced within your body. The scientific benefits behind mindfulness are explored by Associate Professor Dr Craig Hassed in the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsXxvPWd_k4&feature=emb_logo

In the Formation Program, we have been encouraging our young men to engage in the Smiling Mind Mindfulness program which explores exercises designed to reduce stress and promote positive wellbeing. You can find more information about the programs at https://www.smilingmind.com.au/

The Power of Persuasion
The current unit in Year 12 English involves our students preparing a persuasive speech exploring a contentious issue which has played out in the media within the last 12 months. Certainly, a perennial smorgasbord of juicy topics have graced the papers, news media feeds and television screens over the last year, dominated most recently by the Covid-19 saga.

As a passionate advocate for the value of Classical instruction in our contemporary educational landscape, I took great pleasure in infusing a study of the art of rhetoric in designing lessons for our Year 12 students to commence this term’s Learning@Home program.

According to Brett McKay, author of The Art of Manliness website, ‘rhetoric was an essential part of a liberal education from the days of Aristotle all the way up to the early 20th century.  A well-educated man was expected to write and speak effectively and persuasively, and students devoted several years to studying how to do so.’ Unfortunately, much of this focus has been eroded from our courses today but I still firmly believe in the importance of our young men being able to speak passionately and eloquently about a cause, a belief, or a position.

I would like to finish my column this week with an excerpt of great oratory from a speech entitled ‘Strength and Decency’ from American President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt which exhorts young men to pursue virtuous manliness:

It is peculiarly incumbent upon you who have strength to set a right example to others. I ask you to remember that you cannot retain your self-respect if you are loose and foul of tongue, that a man who is to lead a clean and honourable life must inevitably suffer if his speech likewise is not clean and honourable. Every man here knows the temptations that beset all of us in this world. At times any man will slip. I do not expect perfection, but I do expect genuine and sincere effort toward being decent and cleanly in thought, in word, and in deed. As I said at the outset, I hail the work of this society as typifying one of those forces which tend to the betterment and uplifting of our social system. Our whole effort should be toward securing a combination of the strong qualities with those qualities which we term virtues.

“We shall never surrender.” – Winston Churchill

Mr Matt Levander, Head of Senior School

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Ministry News

The Villanova Man Podcast
“The Villa Man” is a concept which was originally proposed by students in the 2011 Senior cohort. The idea was to find a way of representing how pursuing a wide range of different interests and talents is all part of being the Villa Man. This concept continues to resonate with students and creates connections between different year groups, including previous years. One Year 5 student wrote earlier this year that “Being a Villanovan means I am on my way to being a better person on behalf of the College.” Amazing! The badged and unbadged leaders of 2011 would be humbly proud of the conversation they have started.

For this week’s Villa View, I decided to investigate the appeal of the Villa Man further, by interviewing two of the prominent leaders from 2011, namely Christian Welch – College Captain and Harrison Adams (a recent President of the Villanova College Old Boys’ Association – VOBAI). The podcast brings together Christian on his drive to start training with the Melbourne Storm in Albury, and Harrison immediately after a full day of work. The final words are given to Harrison, who makes a direct address to the students at the College today regarding their journey to becoming good men. Click on the image below to begin listening.

St Monica’s Kitchen
The College is offering free frozen meals – Lasagne, Beef Stroganoff, Spaghetti Bolognese, Satay Chicken, Teriyaki Meatballs and Thai Chicken Curry. These have all been specially cooked by our Hospitality staff. Students or parents may wish to join the “Care Army” by dropping some meals to an elderly neighbour, or it could be that a member of your own family would benefit from a special “uber eats” delivery.

Please email stmonicaskitchen@vnc.qld.edu.au if you would like to take some of the frozen meals, e.g. for a family member or a neighbour.

Letters to Residents of Local Nursing Home
We have now posted five letters to residents of Lorocco Nursing Home, following an initiative by YAYM President, Ryan Hegerty. I am sure that each letter will make a difference. Please email me if you would like to join in with this initiative – jholroyd@vnc.qld.edu.au

Real Presence – Junior School delivery of Year 6 Mother and Son gift packs
It was a privilege to be a delivery driver to help fulfil the Junior School plan to deliver gift packs to each Year 6 family last week. My reflection is that this was a real gift of the Cor Unum spirit, in a time when it takes imagination and energy to bring the community together. I know that many people are missing being able to receive the Eucharist each week – particularly the older generation. Last Thursday, it felt like the Junior School staff had created a new channel for authentic community spirit.

Mr John Holroyd, Dean of Mission and Identity

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Sport

It is our wish to have an AIC sport competition up and running to commence at the beginning of Term 3 on the proviso that the government lifts all their regulations and it is safe to do so. As mentioned in last week’s edition, the principals from each of the eight AIC schools will meet later this week to discuss and agree upon the best sport model to be used. That is, what sports will be offered and when.

Please be reminded that although we have commenced the necessary planning and preparation needed. There is a real possibility that sport could be further postponed depending on status of the virus within our broader community. Fingers crossed we can get back sooner rather than later.

At this point there seems to be a consensus amongst all AIC schools to offer a sports program in Term 3 which offers rugby, football, chess, basketball, tennis, rugby league and cross country in a shortened format.

We hope to advertise the proposed AIC Term 3 sport schedule soon.

Once a schedule is agreed upon and advertised by the AIC Management Committee, the Sport Office will then contact all interested coaches and officials in order to get the program underway. Students will then be given the opportunity to ‘sign on’ to those sports which they are interested in.

All details regarding the trial and training process will be advertised and posted via the normal channels, that is, this newsletter and the College website.

Please continue to watch this space for more details. Notices will also be posted via the College App.

Volleyball/AFL and Rugby League Hire Shirts/Jerseys
Please continue to return any Villanova hire jerseys/shirts that you may have at home via the 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 Fitness
Once we get the nod from the relevant authorities, we intend to start sports training at the College as soon as possible followed by competition. I ask all boys from Year 5 – 12 to keep up their level of fitness in these trying times, particularly those who are keen to make first teams but really the message applies to all.

Fitness/training programs have been posted and will be posted weekly. We encourage all boys to maintain a good level of fitness so that we do not start from zero when things return to normal.

 Mr Craig Stariha, Director of Sport

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Music

Tuned In Podcast – Episode 3
The third episode of our Student Music Leaders’ Podcast was released yesterday afternoon.

This week Music Captain Sean Kearns, Co-Percussion Captain Harrison Egart, and Co-Production Captain Fiachra Richards share their experiences around online ensemble rehearsals and their hopes for future performance opportunities later in the year.  The boys were also able to get an exclusive interview with Jonty Carlson and Finn Pol Bodetto, two-thirds of Brisband Selfish Sons and 2017 Villanova Old Boys.  The boys share their experience as musicians beyond school and how their time at Villanova shaped their current musical trajectory.

We really hope you enjoy this week’s episode. Click on the image below to begin listening.

Message from the Director of Music
We have been receiving news that the time for restrictions to be eased is upon us.  It is great news for many as the compression we have been experiencing eases a little; however, for many this new time will still bring many challenges.  We have much to look forward to and need to embrace what we can, staying mindful of how our actions will impact those around us and the broader community.

I had an opportunity to speak with a good friend of mine, Dr Matthew Arau, yesterday morning.  Dr Matthew is a professor of music education based at Laurence University Conservatory in Appleton, Wisconsin.  In his life pre-Covid-19, Dr Arau travelled much of the United States, Asia, and even Australia to conduct honours ensembles and teach leadership and mindset to students and teachers alike.  With this time of disconnection and isolation, we have been catching up fairly regularly to discuss how things have been impacting our students and how we may work to help those we work with.

Today’s video discusses how we have embraced our human condition of requiring connection and how people in Matthew’s community are working to raise spirits of those around them as they shelter in place.  You may find these stories interesting as they give an insight into how this situation has impacted another community on the other side of the globe.  We also work through some strategies that may help you work through the new challenges we will experience as we return to life as per the ‘new normal.’

I hope you enjoy this week’s message – looking forward to seeing some of you back on campus next Monday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL2sr_ZE1QA

Ensemble lessons and rehearsals
As we commence the return of students to our regular schooling routine, there may be the need for some adjustment to our current processes to ensure we accommodate the requirements of the broader college. We will have opportunity over the remainder of this week to determine a path forward for approval. Once this has been determined we will communicate this to all families.

At this stage, there should not be any change to routine for our current private and small group lessons conducted via Zoom. There may be some adjustment required in terms of the timing of our ensemble meetings via Zoom.

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 do not hesitate to contact Music Office on 3394 5691.  Leave a voicemail if it is unattended – we will get back to you!

Thank you all for your continued support of Villanova Music.  We are glad to 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

Uniform Shop – Revised Trading Hours
The Uniform Shop will be open next Monday 11 May between 7.45am and 10.00am.  The Shop will be open each day between 8.00am and 12noon in the week Monday 18 May until Friday 22 May by appointment only.  Parents/caregivers are asked to book their appointment using this link to avoid over-crowding in the Uniform Shop.  Please do not turn up un-announced as the wait time will cause frustration. Normal trading hours will resume when all students have returned to school.

Helping Hands Update
Helping Hands Villanova have available bookings for Term 2. If your son is attending school during the five week online learning period, you can still make bookings for before and after school care. If your son is not enrolled, you can do that via:https://www.helpinghandsnetwork.com.au/register/

Helping Hands Network is committed to ensuring the health and safety for all children, families and educators in our services. We are actively monitoring and following all guidance provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Department of Education and Department of Health regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We understand that many families may be feeling anxious at this time and we want to assure you that at Helping Hands Network the health and wellbeing of the children in our care is our number one priority. The most relevant advice remains that practicing good personal hygiene and cleaning is the best defense against infections.

The health and wellbeing of the children in our care and our team is always our top priority. So, to ensure that everyone is safe at Helping Hands Network, we have and will continue to:

  • Cancelled all incursions and excursions for the April holidays, replacing them with great fun in-service days
  • Implement social distancing techniques such as: increasing outside play and optimising our room set up
  • Reinforce the importance of excellent hygiene such as washing hands, covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue or an elbow
  • Remain strict and vigilant with our cleaning routines and,
  • Closely monitor all advice on stopping the spread of COVID-19
  • Strictly enforcing our Infectious and Illness Disease Policy and Procedure, if you or your child is feeling unwell or experiencing flu-like symptoms – for the wellbeing of our team and all the children in our care please do not attend our service

We have also developed a specific COVID-19 risk minimisation plan for our services to keep children, families and our team members safe. Please visit: https://www.helpinghandsnetwork.com.au/covid-19-important-updates-for-families/ to view.

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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