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St Columban's Embrace Touchstones
Touchstones for the Future: Advocacy, Future, Change, Diversity, Dream- Developing Skills, Resilience, Faith and Hope – St Columban’s College, Caboolture Steps Into 2018!

These words established the tone of the St Columban’s College whole staff retreat conference in January 2018. The Conference was designed to celebrate the 90th Year of the College and 21 years at the Caboolture site, celebrating the past and laying the foundations for the future. The list of guest speakers was impressive, each one chosen to reflect the direction the College wants to take to secure a strategic edge for the students, now and in the future.

St Columban’s College is proud to be an Associate College of Edmund Rice Education Australia and as part of a 90th celebration we were extremely proud to have Br Peter Harney cfc address the staff on Human Rights and Advocacy. He was followed later in the evening by Patrick Okimaru, from Nairobi, a close affiliate with the Edmund Rice Charism since 2007. The insights provided from Patrick’s growing up and work in Kibera, Nairobi, and his work in the Gone Fishing program and as an Immersion guide, reinforced to the staff the importance of supporting the relationship established between St Columban’s College and the Rueben school in Nairobi. The relationship was established because of the Edmund Rice Beyond Borders conference in 2016 where Ann Rebgetz Principal of St Columban’s, met Scholastica Opiyo, Principal of the Ruben school and formed a solid friendship. The staff generously raised $1700 towards the Ruben school over the course of the Conference.

The second day of the conference began with Ray Paxton, EREA Director of Identity and Liberating Education, enthusiastically launching the new and improved Charter and Touchstones. The 90th celebration allows all who are a part of the St Columban’s College community recognise the wonderful legacy of the Christian Brothers and feel part of a larger network of those who are faithful to the Edmund Rice charism.

To ensure that St Columban’s College continues to provide that strategic edge to the students; the other two guest speakers addressed the staff on 2 key issues, resilience and the future of the work place. Nick Wyman, CEO Skilling Australia, an international author, delivered 2 sessions exploring the future directions of the workplace and skills that will be sought by employers. St Columban’s College has a very strong vocational component for all students who attend the College regardless of academic or vocational pathways. The College believes that every student needs to have the necessary skills to equip them for any workplace.  Students who are studying to undertake a career in a profession such as medicine, can gain significant experience working with patients and a hospital through the partnership with Caboolture Hospital. Nick Wyman’s key messages supported this approach and reinforced to the whole College, the importance of the educational mission of the College.

The last session of Day 1 explored the importance of change and resilience. Peppered with humorous anecdotes, interesting insights and authentic exchanges between staff, the session highlighted the importance of strength through adversity. Suffering is a part of the human condition, no one can escape it, but his stories and pearls of wisdom equipped everyone with a compassionate way of navigating the complexities of modern living.

The two days of the St Columban’s College whole staff conference provided relevant, challenging professional development. More importantly was the chance for all staff to come together and celebrate what is unique and special about the College and each other.  
(Ann Rebgetz, Principal of St Columbans)

St Columbans Caboolture

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