Dear Parents and Guardians,
We offer a special welcome to all our new students and their families: I hope your experience as a member of the Galen Catholic College community is a happy and fulfilling one for you and your children.
We have 208 new Year 7 students this year. I was very impressed with the high level of energy and excitement in each of the classes as I went from room to room on Thursday to welcome the Year 7s to Galen. There was an abundance of enthusiasm about being here at Galen and beginning their secondary schooling: long may their fervor persist!
I also had a chance to welcome the Years 11 and 12 students on the same day at their own assembly. For both year levels, the year will start with many activities on offer: the Year 12 retreat, the Jumper Presentation Night, practices for the Presentation Ball, practices for the new Galen Talent Quest, auditions for the school production of High School Musical, social justice activities, the swimming carnival, and a host of other sporting opportunities.
The state of play of several things
We begin 2013 with the largest enrolment in Galen’s history. As mentioned above, we have over 200 in Year 7, our biggest ever intake. Our overall enrolments as we start the year sit just over 1060, up by more than 50 students since this time last year. The Board and the Leadership Team spent some time at the end of last year examining the enrolment trends at Galen over the past 30 years. Up until 1994, there was a slow but steady decline in numbers enrolled at Galen with numbers bottoming out that year at 614. Since then, there has been a steady increase in enrolments in all but three years, leading us to this point in our development.
The reason for mentioning this at the start of 2013 is to highlight the fact that Galen has been in a state of sustained growth for the past 19 years. The college has not only grown in numbers but has also developed and evolved continuously over that time. Our buildings have evolved, our programs have evolved, our approaches have evolved, and our understanding of the role Galen plays in the local community has evolved. We are not the school we were in 1994, nor even in 2004, although at our very core, our values and purpose remain steadfast: to provide the best Catholic education possible to the people of Wangaratta and surrounding regions.
We are on the verge of establishing our next five-year School Improvement Plan (a.k.a. Strategic Plan) and we are similarly on the verge of establishing a Master Plan for our facilities to lead us through the next 15 years of growth and improvement in our buildings and resources. We are currently working on ways that will enable parents to engage with the processes for both plans: I will keep you informed as we move forward with these exciting developments in our college’s future. You can expect such information before the midpoint of first term.
New building works
The new Hospitality Centre will be in Galen hands very shortly. By the time this newsletter reaches you we should have passed the final inspection and be ready to start scheduling classes. The new building is part of a Trade Training Centre (TTC) funded by the federal government following a successful submission by Galen, Borinya, Sacred Heart in Yarrawonga and FCJ College in Benalla.
An important additional part of this TTC is the development of a new VET Engineering shed sited alongside the main driveway off College Street. The concrete slab has been poured and structural work will commence within the next few days. We expect this building to be ready my the middle of first term.
I would like to welcome the following new staff to the Galen community:
• Thomas Anson (Teacher)
• Hannah Banks (Teacher)
• Anthony Batters (Teacher)
• Ashlee Burke (Teacher)
• Kate Clark (Office Trainee)
• Chris Crimmins (Teacher)
• Thomas Frawley (Junior School Officer)
• Jody Heath (Teacher)
• Michelle Mayer (Teacher)
• Bernadette O’Connor (Teacher)
• Sarah Pitcher (Junior School Officer)
• Kylie Quin (Teacher)
• Robert Spencer (Teacher)
• Lauren Parker (Junior School Officer)
• Chris Parsons (Junior School Officer)
• Kelly Smith (Teacher)
Year 12 retreat
All the best to the Year 12 students and staff who will be on retreat at Howman’s Gap in two groups from Monday – Wednesday, and Wednesday-Friday of this week.
Congratulations to staff member, Mrs Deidre Turner, who gave birth during the holidays to twin boys, Theodore and Sebastian. Mother and babies are doing just fine!
Bernard Neal – Principal