A blend of wisdom and youth filled the room, as over 200 guests gathered at Villa D’oro Function Centre on 27 February to welcome new staff to the Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW).
Each year school principals and staff, together with CEDoW personnel gather to celebrate and acknowledge newly appointed staff to the diocese.
One hundred and fifty-two new staff members have been commenced employment in Catholic education throughout the Wollongong diocese for the 2020 school year, including teachers; school support officers; school business managers; aboriginal education assistants; religious education coordinators; principals; Catholic Education Office personnel and a new Director of Schools.
With the induction of newly appointed staff members, CEDoW’s Head of Human Resource Services Carolyn Hadley said the significant number of new staff is a great sign of CEDoW’s growth as a system of schools.
The event was attended by distinguished guests including the Bishop of Wollongong, Most Rev Brian Mascord; members of the CEDoW Leadership Team; Tina Smith from the Independent Education Union, and Nicole and Jay McCann of EduCom IT.
In his address, Bishop Brian offered words of encouragement and reminded our educators of the shared motivation that led them to teaching in Catholic education.
“We work for the Catholic Church in the ministry of education,” he said. “We’re called to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If we don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, then living, working and ministering in the Catholic Church is going to be really hard.”
Bishop Brian spoke about the importance of taking time to reflect when living out the message of Jesus Christ. “Take the time to discern what God is saying to you and then you respond,” he said.
During the event, Peter Hill, Director of Schools, Diocese of Wollongong, acknowledged the challenges and overwhelming feeling of responsibility people face when new to a role. “There is nothing more deskilling than starting a new job,” he said. “So if you find yourself as a beginner, try to be kind to yourself.”
He also spoke of the responsibility and importance of being committed educators. “Like never before, our young people need teachers and advocates who are women and men of hope, enthusiasm, and life,” he said.
Mr Hill reminded staff that they “write not on inanimate material but on the very spirits of human beings”, and to be conscious of the story they write every day.
“We are all authors of our collective story. We are all, every day, defining what it means to be a Catholic school. Our story is written not in ink, but in our actions. And we owe it to our students, to each other, and to Christ as our model, to write this story well. Write the story you want to tell—because our students need you more than ever. – Peter Hill, Director of Schools
At 17 years of age, Grace Dalli is the youngest new staff member to the diocese. "The welcome dinner was an amazing opportunity to meet new people involved in Catholic education,” said Ms Dalli. “Being provided with delicious food and excellent company made the whole night an amazing experience. Having only been here for three weeks, I feel so supported and welcomed by everyone."
The evening concluded with two lucky new staff members—Mikayla Fielding from St Thomas More Catholic Primary School, Ruse and Nicholas Kmet from John Therry Catholic College, Rosemeadow—each winning a new Apple iPad generously donated by EduCom IT.
CEDoW wishes each new staff member every success for the school year and looks forward to supporting and encouraging them in their ministry.