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It has been suggested that Ignatius believed that the greatest sin of all was the sin of ingratitude. He thought that it was from ingratitude for God’s many blessings on His creation that all other sins flowed.

As a younger person, I must admit that I found this challenging − surely there are many other things worse than ingratitude? − but now as an older member of staff, I think I am beginning to understand this a bit more.

If we start from a place of gratitude, then we are far more likely to appreciate the things going on around us and, even when some of these things are unhappy or difficult, we may be more inclined to believe that we do have the capacity to cope or rise to the occasion.

With this in mind, I would like to express my deep gratitude for the semester completed this week.

I think it is reasonable to suggest that we have just navigated two terms like no other. We started the year with a hybrid teaching model − some year levels at school and some at home − and we had never done that before.

During the course of the first half of the year, we experienced levels of absenteeism amongst students that we had never seen before. Initially, these were for COVID and COVID restrictions, but more recently they have also included influenza.

At the Senior School, student absences peaked around 280 students per day, whilst at the Junior School, it was around 180. And these levels persisted over an extended period of time. Unsurprisingly, staff absences were also of unprecedented levels, and I think most of us will have read in the media how difficult it has been for schools to access relief teachers or additional support.

Despite this extraordinary set of circumstances, daily life at the College continued to be productive and purposeful. Students and staff returned − sometimes from very extensive absences − and applied themselves immediately and diligently to the work at hand.

All manner of College events beyond the classroom still occurred, such as camps, concerts, and excursions, and co-curricular sports and arts and activities, and whilst some amendments, adjustments, and postponements were forced on us, it was rare for us to cancel.

I do feel very sorry for those who missed out on participating in something that they had really been looking forward to, but it is in adversity or times of great challenge that character is formed.

I do not believe that we could have achieved what we have without the extraordinary efforts of all concerned – families, students, and staff – and for this I am most grateful.

I suspect that there will still be significant challenges on the other side of the semester break and for the rest of the year, but hopefully we may be feeling rested and refreshed and ready to face them, beginning from a place of gratitude that we belong to this Ignatian community.

I wish everyone a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable vacation.

Deo Gloria

Mr Peter Coffey

Principal

OREMUS (Let us pray)

We remember all in our College community. May our prayers comfort those suffering at this time. May God’s blessing be a source of support in their sorrow and loss, and bring courage, patience, and hope.

“Ask and you shall receive … knock and the door will be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7)

If you would like someone to be remembered by the College community in prayer (even anonymously), please provide details to the Rector, class or Mentor Teacher, or House Leader.

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