In 2020 as a consequence of COVID restrictions we celebrated Damascus Day differently, as we could not gather together as a school community. Damascus Day is an important day in the life of our college. It is a day where we celebrate our identity as a Catholic, co-educational secondary school. It is a day where we recognise those who had the foresight and who laboured to provide us the opportunity and facilities that exist – parents, parishioners, priests, religious brothers and sisters – that created the buoyant community that is Damascus College Ballarat in 2020.
As we celebrated Damascus Day remotely, it is important to acknowledge the achievements of this community through one of the most extraordinary periods of recent social history.
Through a short address, I took the opportunity to remind students and staff all that they have achieved over the last six months. So often the focus of 2020 has been what we haven’t done or what we are missing out on, but I took the opportunity to celebrate what our community has achieved. I admire that students and staff have grown as learners – demonstrating a profound ability to adapt and change and develop skills that will equip our young people extraordinarily for life beyond school. Our young people have all grown in their knowledge and skills with technology. Each member of this community has had to accept far great responsibility for their learning, ultimately moving towards independent enquiring minds and creative hearts. These are wonderful achievements and should not go unacknowledged.
Our staff team have been committed and hardworking to scaffold this different learning platform for our students, and I thank them for their continued work and reassurance. Families have played a special part right throughout the history of Damascus College, working with the school in the early days to establish facilities and grounds, to today partnering with us in progressing learning in ways no-one anticipated. I extend the deepest gratitude from the staff team to Damascus families for your support. Our student population are to be commended most strongly, and I congratulate them on their achievements and the learning and skills being acquired. As a part of the Damascus College community, in the spirit of Damascus Day, we hope you acknowledge and celebrate all that has been achieved this year. Our theme this year has been “Live Justice, Love Kindness and Walk Humbly with God”, and this Damascus day we acknowledge our human frailty humbly in light of a global pandemic, but we justly celebrate our response and the spirit of kindness that reaches across our community in achieving that.
One of the great traditions of our Damascus Day is the announcement of our College Captains for the next school year. Our 2020 School Captains, Hannah Mroczkowski and William Smith, have been wonderful role models and ambassadors for the College. Again this year there was an extraordinarily talented group of young leaders who expressed interest in this role. I thank all candidates for having the courage to put their hand up to lead – each of their contributions will be invaluable to the future growth of our school community. I congratulate our 2021 Captains elect; Maya Tolliday and Shaun Leonard. We look forward to Hannah and Will handing over to Shaun and Maya throughout Term 4. Below is a short video shown for Damascus Day:-
Matthew Byrne – Principal