Normally, at this time of the year, I look forward to joining many  Old Paradians at the RACV Club for the OPA Christmas Luncheon. Each  year, it is traditional  for the College Principal to reflect on the year that was. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions don’t allow for the gathering to proceed this year, so

Tony and Kylie asked me to put some reflections together for the newsletter.

Whilst we celebrate our Sesquicentenary (150 years) next year in 2021, this year we acknowledge 150 years since the opening of Parade College by the Founding Brothers. What an extraordinary year it has been, dominated certainly by COVID-19, but not paralysed by it.

COVID-19 has impacted all life of the College and all members of the College community. Because of the nature of the virus, it has not impacted all members of the community evenly. The College continues to reach out and to support those that have had family members or friends die or fall

seriously ill of the virus, or have had their family income dramatically impacted.

The Leadership Team and staff have continually implemented and reviewed strategies and protocols to ensure that the learning and wellbeing of all Parade

students are prioritised throughout the changing landscape of the restrictions in place. Some of these strategies and protocols included:

  • Teachers working remotely – teaching online; daily roster of a teaching staff member and Learning Support Officer to support the supervision of vulnerable students and children of essential workers onsite;
  • Non-teaching staff working off campus; Property and Maintenance staff working on campus maintaining and securing buildings and grounds during the day; reception staff rostered on/off campus;
  • All staff and students required to wear masks whilst on campus;
  • Temperature testing of all students on campus each morning in the first return to onsite learning;
  • Trying to remain connected with the College community – staff and students: Pre-recorded College Assembly, Treacy Cup video to announce the winning house for 2020, Waterford Challenge, a number of Prefect Initiatives: e.g. Parade’s Got Talent Competition, Year 12 Valete Celebrations – virtual celebration in 2020 with Old Paradians Standing Fast with them

The College remains very faithful to implementing the Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition with its four “touchstones” of Liberating

Education, Inclusive Community, Gospel Spirituality and Justice and Solidarity in all aspects of its operation. This year our theme was Gospel Spirituality.

We reflected on the Two Feet of Gospel Spirituality in Action:

Social Justice and Charitable Works

Charitable works and social justice have been called the two feet of Catholic social teaching. Charitable works meets the immediate needs of persons and

families. It treats the symptoms of social problems.

Charitable works calls forth a generous response from individuals and responds to particular situations. Social justice changes social structures that

attack human dignity, oppress people, and contribute to poverty. It focuses on the rights of people and the Earth, addresses underlying social causes,

and works for long term social change.

In many ways we have continued to raise awareness of both global issues and ecological sustainability. Towards the end of first term we held a Global Awareness Program. The Prefect Team again chose a more local charity this year and encouraged the staff and students to support the work of MacKillop

Family Services. The Waterford Challenge responded to the restrictions of COVID and was a success and, with the other fund-raising activities, raised $10,000

for the organisation.

Despite the COVID restrictions, students and staff have been very responsive in their efforts to promote social justice through advocacy, and we have continued a huge range of opportunities for practical action by staff and students through many service education programs:

  • Community Action Program;
  • Some Year 12 Ministry Retreats;
  • Eddie’s Big Breakfast Van and Covid-Safe Food Drops;
  • Waterford Challenge Solidarity Walk;
  • Environment Week;
  • RUOK? Day;
  • Edmund Rice Advocacy for Change;
  • Advocacy Committee;
  • Safe and Inclusive Reference Group
  • Sustainability Committee;
  • Eddie’s Backpacks Program;
  • St Albans Refugee Tutoring Program at the beginning of the year; and
  • Indigenous Perspectives including Fire Carriers, National Sorry Day, and the Opening the Doors Day, involving the ‘Take a Knee’ action.

During the year we further refined the Parade Sports Academy to offer another pathway for our students. The program has been developed in conjunction with La Trobe University and the necessary certificates added to SCOPE for delivery through the College’s Registered Training Organisation (RTO).Successful

completion of the VCAL Sports Academy Program, including the Certificate IV in Sports Development, provides a pathway into an extensive list of undergraduate Programs at La Trobe University, including:

  • Bachelor of Health Science
  • Bachelor of Business
  • Bachelor of Business (Accounting)
  • Bachelor of Business (Sport Management)
  • Bachelor of Business (Event Management)
  • Bachelor of Media and Communication (Sport Journalism)

In 2020 we continued implementing the master plan for the physical development of the College to enhance the teaching and learning processes.The completed projects included:

  • Updating and rendering of the Preston Campus’ Rice Building façade
  • Planning for the creation of a Performing Arts precinct with enhanced music, performance and learning areas
  • The refurbishment of the Greening Auditorium precinct and creation of three new general classrooms;
  • The upgrade of the gymnasium and sport-learning facility at the Preston Campus;
  • The continued refurbishment of the student toilets at both campuses;
  • The establishment of gardens for student involvement at both campuses to nurture learning and wellbeing and a connection with the environment;
  • Phase Three of the Mt Sion façade renewal;
  • Completion of the Waterford Pitch into a FIFA approved synthetic soccer pitch;
  • Major upgrade of the Waterford Oval into a state-of-the-art AFL surface
  • Creation of the Ambrose Treacy Pavilion between the Waterford Pitch and Waterford Oval (pictured); and
  • Continued upgrading of the campus roofing to allow for additional solar panels

Usually at the OPA Christmas Luncheon, I bring with me the College Captain. I remember at the Old Paradians’ Centenary Celebrations dinner we honoured one of our Hall of Famers, Bill Dunne. Bill had said to me that being made Parade College Captain in 1944 was the proudest day of his life. I tried to tease him in front of his family, by suggesting the day he got married or became a dad might have been prouder days? Quick as a flash, Bill was back at me in front of his family, “Any fool can get married or father children! But there’s only one boy each year that is College Captain of Parade!”

I look forward to bringing our 2021 College Captain, Adam Crick to meet you at a luncheon during the year.

We remain grateful for the many blessings we have enjoyed in the 150th year of the Parade journey as we look forward to celebrating our Sesquicentenary next year in 2021. One of our Old Boys, Owen Abrahams has created a logo for 2021, I commend it to you.

As ever, Tenete Traditiones.

Mr Andy Kuppe (1983)

(main image: Parade College Principal Andy Kuppe, proudly sporting his Old Paradians tie, is flanked by (from left to right) 2021 College Captain Adam Crick (Treacy) and vice-Captains Jacob Beattie (Hughes) and Luca Franco (Lynch)