Start of Term Four: Executive Director’s Message
22 October 2021
Dear colleagues, parents and caregivers, and friends of our schools and Catholic education system,
Welcome back for the last school term of 2021!
I hope Weeks One and Two went well, and that you enjoyed spending some time with family and friends over the break and recharging for the term ahead.
Term Four is an exciting and important time for many students in high school who are completing assessments and taking exams. We keep them all in our prayers at this time, particularly those completing Year 12. Finishing secondary school is a significant achievement and milestone, and rightfully the end of the school year can be a joyous and emotion-filled time for students, parents and family members, and teachers, who have built relationships with students over years and become personally invested in their students’ achievements and successes. We wish all of our secondary students all the best for their last term, and for those finishing school, for what is next for them.
The annual Catholic Education Staff Breakfast was held once again in Perth to recognise staff members who have served the CEWA system for 30 or 40 years. The event, which takes place in October to coincide with the anniversary of St Mary MacKillop’s canonisation, was also an opportunity to acknowledge excellence in Catholic education with the presentation of the QCE (Quality Catholic Education) Awards and the Catholic School Parents WA Awards of Excellence in Building Positive School Communities. Congratulations to all of those schools and staff members who were involved in the QCE Awards this year, it was a wonderful field of nominations and a tough task for the judges to choose the winners. The Awards website now has information on all of the winning projects and initiatives across the categories of Catholic Identity, Education, Community, and Stewardship, as well as a special category for 2021, Faith in the Future. The QCE People’s Choice Award was also presented, going to Mother Teresa Catholic College for their ‘Just Keep Drawing’ program, after more than 6000 votes were cast by members of school communities and the public to decide this category. If you voted for the People’s Choice Award, or shared news of the QCE Awards and the online voting, thank you for being a part of this exciting process. It is wonderful to see such outstanding and innovative work taking place in our schools being promoted across the system and beyond.
Catholic Education Western Australia is also partnering again with the 7 News Young Achiever Awards for their 2021/22 program. The category sponsored by CEWA is the Young Leadership Award, and as in previous years, I am looking forward to being aspired by the innovative thinking and determination of young West Australians who are nominated for as young leaders, as well as past and present CEWA students and staff who may be nominated for other categories across the program. Nominations are open throughout Term Four and all are encouraged to consider nominating a student, past student or young staff member from your school community, or a member of your school or parish community.
The CEWA Webinar Week initiative has become a regular feature in CEWA’s professional development calendar, and as in previous years, we finish off the year of collaborative learning with Virtual Conference Day, rather than Webinar Week, on 14 December. Virtual Conference Day promises to be full of outstanding professional learning opportunities shared by passionate and knowledgeable colleagues, with details and the full program being finalised in the coming weeks. Thank you to all of the staff who put in extra time and effort for all of our Webinar Weeks and Virtual Conference Days. It is wonderful to see the passion that you have to support the growth of colleagues.
Following on from a successful online First General Assembly of the Plenary Council, Catholics across Australia are invited to participate in a period of local consultation for the next international Synod of Bishops, which has the theme: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”. Catholics are invited to use a guided, prayerful reflection method to consider a series of questions and make submissions via an online portal. Those submissions will help the Bishops develop a national report to support the global process, leading to an international gathering in 2023. For more information go to http://www.catholic.org.au/synodalchurch.
I wish you all the best for the term ahead, thank you for your work in making our schools and system a community of Christ-centred, child-focused learning environments.
Dr Debra Sayce
Catholic Education Western Australia