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Dear Parents and Guardians,
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. In modern times, there is an emphasis on prayer, fasting and alms giving (or “doing good deeds”).
 When most of us were growing up we were called on to “give something up for Lent”. While that remains an important part of the Lenten season, more emphasis is given today on looking for meaningful actions that will help alleviate someone else’s burden – a very Christian approach in itself.
 I urge you to speak with your children, as we will continue to do at Galen, about the importance of walking in others’ shoes, and of recognizing when we are in a position to help someone in difficulty and of then doing something to alleviate that difficulty. It might be a child offering to do the dishes, or take the garbage out when that is not usually their chore. Or it might be more dramatic like assisting someone who is ill or bed-ridden, or suffering the consequences of an accident. Or it might be to speak a kind word to someone who is lonely, marginalized or friendless – goodness knows, to our great shame, that even in Wangaratta we don’t have to look too far to find such people.

Year 12 Retreat
The Year 12 students have returned from their three-day retreats to Howman’s Gap and the Hume Resort. I was able to spend good quality time with the students at both venues and was hugely impressed with their approach to reflecting on their current lives, looking ahead to their future lives, and focusing on the family love and support that nurtures them. I was also impressed with the obvious energy and enthusiasm they displayed as a group for both DOING their best this year, and BEING their best this year.

VCE High Achievers & Jumper Presentation Night
Congratulations to our VCE High Achievers from 2011, including Dux, Claire Luxford, all of whom were acknowledged and presented at the WPAC last week. At the same event, our current Year 12 students received their jumpers and were addressed by Galen Old Collegian and current Victorian State Opposition Leader, the Honourable Daniel Andrews. Mr Andrews exhorted the students to recognize the many choices and opportunities before them and to go out and make their mark in the world.

Year 7 Parents afternoon and laptop night
We welcomed the parents of our 194 Year 7 students at two events last week: the welcome afternoon, and the laptop rollout night. Parents were shown through the Year 7 classrooms and treated to a afternoon tea before addresses from the Director of the Junior School, Miss Lauren Lee, and myself. We informed the parents that their children had made an excellent start to their secondary school life and that as time goes by to please let us know when we do things well, as well as when we do not do things as well as they would like.

Swimming Sports
Unfortunately, we had to postpone the Swimming Sports from their original date because of the electrical storms in the district on that day. It has not been easy to find another date when the pool is available but one was found, Thursday Feb 23. Unfortunately, this revised date clashes with the evening we had scheduled for the Year 8 laptop renewal and parent cyber safety session. As a result, the Year 8 night has been rescheduled. We apologise for the inconvenience and for any possible confusion arising from these changes.

Bernard Neal