Old Paradian Andy Kuppe (1983) was today formally commissioned as Parade's new Principal.

Andy's commission - together with that of the newly-appointed Deputy Principal and fellow Old Paradian Mark Aiello (1990) - took place in Moore Hall at the Bundoora Campus before more than 1900 students, teachers and staff who had gathered for Term 1 Assembly:

In an historic moment, Andy took the pledge in the presence of his mother Ursula and brother Mick, and his predecessor as Principal Dr Denis Moore cfc - Parade's last Christian Brother to serve in that capacity in almost 150 years.

Dr Paul Shannon - Director of Learning representing Edmund Rice Education Australia and President of the Old Paradians' Association - was then called upon to commission Andy as Principal.

The following is Paul's speech and Andy's subsequent address to the assembly.

Mr Paul Shannon

Welcome to everyone. I feel very honoured to be here, representing EREA and the Old Paradians.

Congratulations to all the boys in the room on the way you’ve been so respectful – your behaviour has really been flawless.

I have known Andy both personally and professionally for over 30 years and I couldn’t imagine anyone more talented, more committed and more appropriate to be the first lay Principal of Parade College. Andy has a deep understanding of the charism of Edmund Rice.

It’s great to see Br Denis here. He has been an inspiration, mentor and friend for Andy for many years. Br Denis is delighted to know that Parade is in good hands.

Andy has the confidence and support of EREA, the College community and broader community. That’s because his whole motivation is to continue the mission of a nurturing and inclusive school where the boys are respected, their voices are heard and they are safe and feel safe. He achieves this with outstanding leadership. Leadership that acts with integrity and has a moral compass, is ethical and is honest and transparent.

Andy trusts his instincts. He's humble and he's not afraid to ask for help and seek advice from others.

However – he’s not perfect. He’s a Carlton supporter!! I’m a Collingwood supporter – and this has placed a great strain on our relationship from time to time.

Finally, - and this applies to all of the boys who are at Parade right now and those that will come to the school in the future and why you are so lucky to have him as Principal.

1. He's on about co-relationship - he cares about you and wants to know you as a person;

2. He's on about co-learning - learning from and with you; and

3. he's on about co-responsibility - principles of common ground, honesty and respect.

In summary, that’s about Student Voice:

“You and Mr Kuppe and your teachers will have points of view and each is encouraged to recognize the other’s though you may not agree”

I wish you and him every blessing and success let’s give him a round of applause as he makes his way to the microphone.

Mr Andy Kuppe

I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land: the wurundjeri willam people of the Kulin Nation. Welcome special guests including high achievers from the Year 12 class of 2019 and your families, boys and staff. Can I especially welcome those that are new to Parade College: the Year 7s of 2020, the 24 or so new students to Parade College in years 8 to 12 and to those new staff for 2020. Welcome our newest Paradians, welcome our newest Old Paradians – welcome Paradians one and all!

Today we have a full agenda for this assembly. I won’t keep you long.

We acknowledge at this assembly the class of 2019 and commend them for their great achievements in the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning and the Victorian Certificate of Education.

We will also commission those members of staff who have put their hand up to take on leadership positions in our community. Just as we commissioned Lachlan, Abdul and Dylan and their team of student prefects at the last assembly.

In 2020 our theme is Parade College – Gospel Spirituality. One of the key texts selected as part of our exploration of this theme is from Matthew (25: 31-46):

for I was hungry and you gave me food,

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,

I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

I was naked and you gave me clothing,

I was sick and you took care of me,

I was in prison and you visited me.’

In striving to be a place where Gospel Spirituality flourishes, we endeavour to follow our Founder Blessed Edmund Rice whose actions mirrored those in the text from Matthew.

We also asked one of our 2019 Year 12s, Emerson Ho to create some artwork to inspire us and he excelled our expectations.

That is our hope for Parade College in 2020. An inclusive community. Brothers for Others. A compassionate community. A safe community. A kind community.

Today I am commissioned as the first lay Principal of Parade College. The 29th Principal of Parade and follow in the footsteps of some giants: Ambrose Treacy, Regis Hughes, Barnabas Lynch, Denis Moore. I am truly humbled and feel unworthy to be in such company.

I have been reading some of the letters that Ambrose Treacy wrote home.

I have read these letters a number of times, but in preparing something today, I discovered a new truth. In reading the stories before I heard the heroism and courage of these Brothers riding up and down the east coast collecting money to build Parade College. But the miracle was not in the asking, but in the giving! The generosity of the early people of Australia that had little, but gave so generously. That Spirit still lives today.

That generosity lives on today in our support for those on the margins. One of the groups that we support through the student prefects is MacKillop Family Services who do extraordinary work throughout Victoria and are we are passionate about working with communities so children can thrive.

I am delighted to announce a change to our uniform: as part of the winter uniform you will have the option of wearing a Parade Beanie to and from school in Terms 2 and 3. With our uniform partners, Academy Uniforms, $5 from the sale of each beanie will go to MacKillop, one of their projects is Paws4Kids providing therapy pets to support those that are vulnerable.

The ABC Program at the start of the week and the letter I sent to Parade families about Br Rex Elmer on Wednesday are reminders that leaders of schools don’t always get it right in making sure schools are the safest places. In terms of Parade College, I want to apologise to each of you, students, staff and parents for when you have not felt safe, and especially when that is the Leadership’s fault. It is my focus and all in leadership that Parade is a safe place.

As I said earlier, giving has been central to the story of Parade College. I, as Principal need your generosity. I will be nothing as Principal of Parade College, no matter how innovative, brave, hard working, without the generosity, kindness and support of those that came before me or those that work with, for and alongside me today. I need each of you and your generosity and your kindness, otherwise I am sure to fail.

When I do inevitably fail – through no fault of yours – I will humbly beg your forgiveness.

There are so many people to thank on my journey to this appointment, and I know you don’t want to hear them all, unless you’re one of them, but you’ll all excuse me if I thank just one: my mum whom I’m delighted could join us today. Mum and Dad migrated here in 1956 with not much, sent her three boys to Parade, so this is a moment of pride for her. That’s some advice for all of you boys – as many of you know, my wife is on staff, but I can get away with not mentioning her by focusing on mum. Boys, always be good to your mums, whether they’re with you still or have passed on.

There has never been a more exciting and opportune time to be a student at Parade College. There has never been a more exciting time to be Principal of Parade College.

Welcome to 2020, Parade’s 150th year. We’ll celebrate it with gusto next year. Let us be true to Edmund Rice’s dream for us. In everything we do let there be showers of kindness.

images courtesy Tony Teo