Dear St Michael’s College Community,
As the 2021 school closes off, I wish all in the St Michael’s community a safe, restful and peaceful break.
St Michael’s has been my life now for almost 17 years, the last 9 as Principal, and I will always treasure the experiences and wonderful opportunities that have been afforded me. It has been my privilege to serve the St Michael’s community and I hope that I have played my part in building the College’s position as a quality Catholic, Lasallian school that lives out its Mission and Vision for the benefit of the young people entrusted to us. Please be assured however, that anything I have given has been repaid many times over.
I will be forever grateful to the De La Salle Brothers, the Board and the College community for trusting me in leading this most important work of ‘the human and Christian education of the young, especially the poor’ at St Michael’s. Lasallian education gets to the very heart of quality education and the focus on community, relationships, valuing and growing ‘who’ we are, and ‘living life to the full’ by bringing out the best in each other should be held in the highest regard. The most important part of our work revolves around people, and when all else fails, we return to this.
I feel very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people during my time at St Michael’s and the relationships built with staff, students, families and the wider College community will be the essence of my enduring memories. The strength of this community is ever evident, whether it be celebrating the good times and successes, or coming together with compassion, care and support during the most difficult challenges. My greatest joy, and what I’ll miss the most, is getting to know our young people and walking alongside them as they grow and start realising their uniqueness and unlimited potential.
There will be exciting times ahead with a new Principal and new opportunities to be explored and developed and I will be watching with great expectation and hope. I will miss St Michael’s College, will always hold it close, and wish the community every success. I am leaving as a better person for the experience and one who is proud to be known as ‘Lasallian’. Thank you.
De La Salle believed that education is one of the most important vocations and that educators can have the greatest of impacts on the young, who need “teachers like visible angels”. The St Michael’s community is so blessed to have quality staff who genuinely care about their students. This year, we farewell some of these staff, and on behalf of the College community, I sincerely thank each of them for their service and commitment to St Michael’s and Lasallian education, and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.
It would be with a range of emotions that Angela advised she will be concluding her time at St Michael’s College at the end of this year to take up a permanent position at Norwood International High School. We congratulate Angela on her appointment, knowing that their gain is St Michael’s loss.
Angela’s contribution to the SMC community over 18 years has been nothing short of outstanding and her positive impact on the staff, students and families will be long lasting. Angela is well known as a highly skilled, dedicated and innovative educator with an obvious love for learning. She has always shown a genuine care for her colleagues and students, always wanting the best for them. Angela’s commitment and passion for Languages has reached far and wide, as she contributed her time and expertise both within and outside St Michael’s.
I know there is great sadness for Angela in leaving St Michael’s, but there will also be excitement moving onto new challenges and growth.
Since 2016, Kym was employed as a Technology and Maintenance Support Officer assisting the Design and Technology Department by ensuring all equipment was maintained and serviced, and that the Tech facility was well prepared for student use. Kym’s friendly and co-operative approach was well received and appreciated on a daily basis.
Lavina advised she will be concluding her time at St Michael’s College at the end of 2021 after 17 years of outstanding service.
Lavina is particularly well respected as a talented teacher who will go the extra mile for her students, I suspect in many ways treating them as she would like her own children to be treated. Not only would they develop deep mathematical learnings, but importantly life learnings from Lavina. She has always shown such great humility in her work, though many colleagues have benefitted from her wisdom, care and support over the journey.
As a person of great heart, Lavina has shown she truly wants the best for those in our community and will be well remembered for this by staff, students and families alike.
Antonio (Tony) Faraone
After much consideration, and I know with mixed emotions, Tony has also advised he has concluded his time teaching at St Michael’s after an outstanding 24 years of service.
I know that Tony has always considered teaching a vocation, not a job, and this has been evident to all the staff, students and families who have worked with him. His great mantra of ‘respect’ has permeated all he does and ensured a safe and supportive environment for students to flourish in their learning. Tony is a talented teacher of mathematics, but an even more talented teacher of people.
Whilst Tony’s humility has him relate his experience at the College as rewarding, enlightening and enriching, I know the staff and students of the College would express gratitude for Tony impacting them in a similar and profound way. Considering Tony’s original plan was to move to St Michael’s for a maximum of 5 years, I think we can all be grateful that didn’t work out to be so.
Tony, in his usual selfless manner, has expressed his gratitude for his 39 years at St Michael’s. Working closely with the De La Salle Brothers in the early years, and holding great respect since, Tony was instrumental in the development of the Design & Technology Faculty and served for 10 years as Head of Department. A talented tradesman in his own right, Tony not only imparted the skills to those students who sought a career in the trades or to those who wanted to try their hand at construction using various mediums, but also guided them in life. Tony enjoyed all the aspects of teaching, including the mentoring of new teachers, the coaching of a variety of sports and the involvement in community days. He is a man of great heart and someone who genuinely cares for all in our community, hence the great regard in which he is held by staff, students and families.
Tony’s strong faith is always present in whatever he does, and he will continue to be a wonderful example of a true Lasallian.
Tony’s contribution to St Michael’s over 29 years has been remarkable, both as a talented teacher and leader, most recently as Year Level Director. Tony’s calm, dedicated and no fuss approach to his work has always been based around a genuine awareness and care of others, particularly those most in need. He always had a wise word for his colleagues and found the right balance of gentleness and firmness with students. Tony has always modelled respectful relationships and will be well remembered and appreciated for this by staff, students and families alike.
I know that Tony feels blessed to have been able to teach in South Australian Catholic schools for most of his career and especially to share in the growth of St Michael’s College. We wish him well as he winds back with some travel and time with his grandchildren.
With more than 40 years of experience in education, John has been a highly respected leader in Catholic Education at CBC, Blackfriars and most recently, St Michael’s, for the last eight years. St Michael’s College was particularly fortunate to secure John as Deputy Principal in 2013 and has valued his leadership and service to staff, students and families ever since.
John has consistently shown his range of highly developed skills in his work, with a genuine ability to create a student-centred approach to processes and decisions. The role of Deputy Principal is particularly wide-ranging, but John managed this by keeping a sense of perspective, humour and care, particularly when most needed by staff and students. This, together with John’s loyalty and dedication, will see him well remembered.
Reinhard ‘Swid’ Schwidder
Reinhard’s formal association with St Michael’s will also conclude at the end of the school year … and what a long association it has been. As an old scholar from the Class of 1966 Reinhard’s decision would be mixed with emotion after such a long and outstanding career and heartfelt commitment and service to St Michael’s and Lasallian education.
Not only will Swid be well remembered for his great skill as a teacher and dedication to each student’s learning, it will more importantly be for who he is and how he genuinely values each student with whom he works. His approach to students is a great model of the Lasallian educator, always looking for the right balance of gentleness and firmness required for each individual. This is a tough task, though one that he would be greatly appreciated for, including by the many families he’s known over the journey as both a teacher and leader. The care, compassion and support shown for each student is also mirrored in his relationships with staff and I know many, including me, have appreciated his kind words, wisdom and generosity both professionally and personally.
Julie Sexton concluded her time at St Michael’s College where, as a Senior Publications Officer, her work has been instrumental in developing and improving the branding and images in many of our key publications. The Maroon and Blue has been a key feature of Julie’s professional design work and the quality of this publication is particularly evident.
Julie leaves some lasting and quality touches on both Campuses, including the Library Entrance Design, Perimeter Fencing Design, Event Graphics and ‘Lasallian Stars’ wear. She also supported the Primary Leadership Team to create the important branding of the Primary values.
Julie’s commitment to the Lasallian ethos of the College was also strongly evident in her involvement with numerous College events including College Tours, Old Scholar gatherings, Memorial Masses and Performing Arts Events. I know that Julie has a great love of St Michael’s College and feels very committed to the purpose of Lasallian Education. When this is combined with her skill and talent, the outcome has been displayed for all to see and for the great benefit of the St Michael’s community now and into the future.
Linda has always shown a passion for inspiring young learners and embedding a culture of being the best you can be is always at the centre of her work. Many Primary Campus students will have benefitted from her skills and approach over the 17 years Linda has worked at St Michael’s. Linda has also modelled a willingness to take on new challenges and utilise her many talents in a range of environments, most recently with the ‘Lasallian Stars’, which I know she loved.
Linda’s genuine interest and care for her colleagues is evident and she greatly values the relationships built at St Michael’s. This is mutual for the staff, students and families who have come to know her.
Linda is looking forward to new ventures in early years education and increased time with her grandchildren.
After 17 years at SMC, Rob will retire from full time teaching. His quiet and humble demeanor belies a talent for teaching that has benefitted his students greatly and presented them with opportunities to develop learnings that will be long lasting. His colleagues too have benefited from Rob’s deep understandings and experience, his friendship, and modelling of a no fuss approach to education. As an intelligent and highly skilled Science and Maths teacher, Rob built strong relationships with his students and set up a learning environment where students felt able to flourish. He has often been mentioned as a trusted adult by students who have been most in need, which is a great credit to his ability to make meaningful connections.
I know Rob has enjoyed the work and opportunities provided at St Michael’s, but also know he has given significantly to the College community.
After 41 years in education, the last 17 having been at St Michael’s, Jill will be moving into retirement from the end of this school year. Jill’s impact across numerous schools and particularly for us at SMC has been significant and lasting in so many ways. Her passion for working with refugees is palpable and her care, compassion, advocacy and dedication to new arrivals has been life-changing for many of the students and their families. Jill’s ability to build strong relationships with her colleagues and these families will see her sorely missed in the St Michael’s community.
Jill has expressed on many occasions that she has always enjoyed the interesting challenges and pleasures of working with refugee and migrant students and the staff and students of St Michael’s College will remain close to her heart, as she will to us.
The early years of school are such a formative and potentially challenging time for students and parents, though this was sure to be alleviated through the warm and caring class environment created by Annette. She is a highly skilled teacher, with a passion for numeracy and an ability to balance high expectations with a strong relational approach. Annette’s experience and good heart always saw her alert to those who needed that little bit of extra time and care, something most appreciated and embedded in our Lasallian culture.
This is something Annette should be proud of and see her well-remembered by the many staff, students and families she has impacted during her 11 years at St Michael’s College.
Kevin’s forthcoming retirement will bring a close to a stellar teaching career of 43 years, the last 13 (and longest stint) at St Michael’s College. Kevin will leave a wonderful legacy with the work he’s done with our VET program and many students will remember the positive and lasting impact he has had on them, particularly some of those most in need.
Of course, Kevin is also widely known and highly regarded for his contribution to music education over many years, and we have been so fortunate to see the fruits of this at St Michael’s. I know this hasn’t been an easy decision for Kevin, as he acknowledged that he still maintains a passion for working with teenagers and teaching, as well as a great affection for St Michael’s College. Kevin’s talent, compassion, humour and dedication will see him sorely missed by the staff, students and families of the College.
We also thank those staff completing contracts and replacement positions, including Nathan Armiento, Danielle Keynes, Tori Roberts, Katie Sheldrick and Sean MacKenzie for their valued contribution to St Michael’s. We could truly not have asked for a more committed and talented group of people to fill a range of roles, and importantly make such a positive impact on both staff and students. Their ability to do this in such a short time is remarkable. We wish them every success as they move onto their new endeavours.
We also send our best wishes to staff who will be taking leave during 2022. We hope it is a fruitful time and look forward to their return.
We are farewelling an amazing array of talent and commitment to not only Catholic and Lasallian education (approximately 300 years’ worth at St Michael’s), but education more widely. Again, on behalf of the College community, I thank each of our colleagues and wish them every success, knowing that they will always be a part of the fabric that makes up our Lasallian family.