Arriving at St Virgil’s Hobart for a Principal gathering, we are ushered to the yarning circle. We walk down a track towards the river where we find the Principal. Reaching out to take Chris’ hand, I am struck by the grip: power, control, strength. This is my first of many memories of Chris. What follows are subsequent memories that celebrate the qualities of Chris as an educational leader and gentleman.
Memory 1: The yarning circle represents a place of reflection and conversation. Chris’ respect for history, importantly a space to reflect on our brutal colonial history is reflected in this place along with his pride in the space.
Memory 2: Later that same day, much, much later there is a sing-a-long in the bus heading back to Hobart. Songs burst forth with wild notes, the bus ablaze with sounds. From the front of the bus comes a big voice pulling it all into key, a good voice setting the path for all to follow. I am struck by his connection to music, his gift.
Memory 3: “EREA offers a liberating education based on Gospel spirituality within an inclusive community committed to justice and solidarity”, the first time I hear this spoken it comes from Chris. He is the architect of this sentence, the wordsmith that blended the touchstones into action in language.
Memory 4: As the Youth+ Chair Chris guided, challenged, was challenged and brought to our collective table a community of compromise and negotiation.
Memory 5: I cannot remember how many times I presented a new initiative to Chris to always be met with an openness to progress a connection to mission, in essence a connection to the Gospel. As this began with an impression of a handshake it ends the same way.
Reaching out to take his hand, many years later, the grip it still strong, the feelings however are now trust, comfort, respect, friendship. Thank you Chris for your care and leadership.
– Dale Murray
Council members have had the opportunity to thank John for his contribution to the work and life of the Council.
It is however important that the wider EREA community is also aware of the contribution that John has made as a member of Council.
John’s reflective approach and his way with words have reminded us, especially in some of our more important EREA policies, of the Gospel basis for what otherwise might be taken as a work of compliance. I think particularly of his work on the theology of the child which explicated why we as a Christian group would have safeguarding policies rather than merely to accommodate a requirement of law.
I have personally valued his advice and counsel as Deputy President of EREA.
In the considerations undertaken by Council he has drawn us back to the challenge of the Charism of Blessed Edmund and to our need to be prophetic as a relatively new entity within the Church sharing in the governance of the Church.
In his work as a theologian and consultant with Dioceses, Universities and now with the preparation for the Plenary Council 2020 he has added to the standing we as EREA have with so many in our Church.
We thank John for his dedicated service in the cause of our Mission and the care for our students and staff and their families.
- Paul Oakley
I am delighted to offer some words on the occasion of Dr Denis Moore completing 25 years as Principal of Parade College.
The Book of Proverbs tells us that
He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness and honour
Loyalty is defining for Denis. He is deeply loyal to his family; his staff, students and parents; his Congregation; to Edmund Rice Education and most of all to his faith. But he is not blind in his loyalty. He is rightly critical of unjust aspects of institutions. Denis was a loyal deputy in four schools before being appointed Principal at Parade. Each boss valued his support and loyalty immensely. He would never publically undermine them, despite any private misgivings. He has an amazing gift for engendering loyalty in others.
The Prophet Isaiah reminds us that
Yahweh longs to be gracious to you; therefore God will rise up to show you compassion. For Yahweh is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for God!
Time and time again, in working with Denis, I have wondered what would be the limit of his compassion. When a Preston school’s future was bleak and the Catholic Education Office came to Denis with a begging bowl. With graciousness, he embraced them, provided uniforms, forgave fees, offered dignity, a future. Compassion. For almost 150 years Parade has only enrolled boys, until Elnaz, a Hazara girl and asylum seeker asked him for a Parade education. Her only friends were Parade boys who had been tutoring her. He enrolled her. Compassion. When a staff member has exhausted all leave and is in crisis, he quietly approves continued payment of wages. Compassion. When a boy has exhausted his very last chance, Denis offers him another. Compassion.
Denis may God rise up to show you compassion, because you are a man of justice and have truly blessed Edmund Rice Education.
- Andy Kuppe
Gerald was appointed Principal of CBC East St Kilda in 2005. As the first lay Principal of CBC, Gerald commenced this role with a desire to expand the College’s learning programs with a special emphasis on contemporary learning and pedagogy, a focus he has maintained throughout his 15 years at the helm.
Gerald has never been afraid to challenge each of us to reflect on decisions from the perspective of our charism. He is prepared to ask the hard questions of people, questions that need to be asked and answered by each of us because they are at the heart of our mission.
Gerald’s recognises the dignity in everyone he meets and, in doing so, offers each of us a lasting insight into the transformative power of leadership grounded in hope and joy - one inspired by the Gospels; a way of being that has revealed the face of Jesus to so many and has helped to shape CBC as a community that authentically lives the call of the Touchstones and our Charter each and every day.
Gerald, you have been an incredible influence in so many of so many: those within your community, those within EREA and in the lives of your fellow Principals. We thank you for the gift of your wisdom, your thoughts, your example, your legacy.
- John Crowley
Where do you begin to say thank you and farewell to a man who has committed 39 years to education in Christian Brothers and EREA schools?
Michael epitomises the Servant Leader who selflessly focuses his attention on the students in his care. His humility, passion, devotion to the service of others and commitment to the Edmund Rice story characterise who he is.
Michael began his journey as a teacher in 1980. Since then, Michael spent 24 years at Nudgee and a further 15 years at Nudgee Junior and more recently, Ambrose Treacy College. If you add these 39 years of service as an educator and his eight years as a student of an Edmund Rice school, you can see that much of Michael’s life has been devoted to the Edmund story and in particular, educating young people in Edmund Rice schools.
In 2004 Michael took a significant leap of faith, leaving Nudgee (a place he loved) to take up the role as Principal of Nudgee Junior College – a primary school for boys from Years 4 to 7 and quite different to the school community that he had been part of for such a long time.
But there was more change to come for Michael as he undertook the unique professional experience of taking the long-standing school of Nudgee Junior and re-inventing it as the new school of Ambrose Treacy College.
Michael’s total dedication to this new era was incredible. The way that he sensitively and astutely maintained the traditions of Nudgee Junior and nurtured and developed the identity of the new school of Ambrose Treacy College was quite unique.
I believe that there are few people who could have navigated this transformational journey as well as Michael has done.
Whatever the journey ahead, Michael, on behalf of all of us in the room tonight, and the tens of thousands of young men you have influenced so positively over the last 39 years, I say Thank You, Good Luck, and it has been a privilege to journey with you.
- Michael Carroll