As we conclude the first semester, I encourage all students to reflect upon their teachers’ feedback, on their progress in their studies, and with their organisational skills in preparation for Term 3.

On Friday, Kim Sue Hendry, Learning Diversity Leader, will commence her Long Service Leave, with Josephine Donato replacing her in this role. I wish Kim Sue a safe and healthy leave. I would like to acknowledge and thank Kim Sue for her endless commitment and support to all the students within her care.

Yesterday we celebrated our College Feast Day. This year, St Aloysius Day was a momentous event as we celebrated 135 years of history. We were honoured to share this special occasion with many of the Sisters, with Members of the Advisory Council, Staff from Melbourne Archdiocese of Catholic Schools and alumnae.

Sr Sylvia Williams (Sister of Mercy, alumnae, 30 years of service as Principal in Catholic Schools and recently completing her term as Chair of the Mercy Education Board) shared with the college community recollections from her time as a student at St Aloysius College and spoke to our students about our commitment to their education as we welcome the first coeducational group in Year 7 2023.

We also enjoyed staff member Rina Prinzi’s address to the community reflecting upon her time at the College, as a student, a parent and as a teacher. Rina was accompanied by her daughters Jessica and Cassandra and sang the College Anthem, as written for the Centenary Revue and first performed at Hamer Hall in June 1987. The College Anthem was also the school song until 2009.

I invite you to enjoy the below reflections shared on St Aloysius Day.

Today is a very special St Aloysius Day, marking the 135th anniversary of our school, and as such I would like to remind everyone that today is both a celebration and also a convocation — a calling together. That is, we are gathered here to reflect upon our past but also how it relates to our current moment, and to our future.

So, on this day of gathering we are celebrating our synergy and our energy.

Not every school has the honour of celebrating its 135th anniversary. Over those 135 years there have been so many stories, and it’s these stories that both bind us and define us. As a College we have a symphony of stories to tell. As we tell and listen, we will deepen our sense of belonging, our sense of community, and our sense of collective and positive purpose.

As I look back on our school history, I see a remarkable tapestry of stories that express our past, our present and the promise of our future. On this very special St Aloysius Day, we can in fact celebrate three acts of founding, which in themselves provide the key themes that are central to the history of the school and still resonate in our lives and our work here today.

The first act of founding is that of St Aloysius himself.

Aloysius de Gonzaga was born into a wealthy Italian family in 1568. At the age of 17, he gave up his inheritance and joined the Society of Jesus. In 1591 plague broke out in Rome, and rather than leave, Aloysius stayed to look after the sick but contracted the plague and died at the age of 23. His love of study and his self-less acts in looking after the sick, resulted in his canonisation in 1726 when he became the Patron Saint for young students and Christian youth.

The story of St Aloysius is one that has resonated through every year of our 135 years of history.

Our second act of founding, occurred in 1886 when Mother Xavier Fallon, with five other Sisters of Mercy, established the first Convent of Mercy in North Melbourne, in a terrace house on Flemington Road, just opposite what is now the Royal Children’s Hospital.

In 1887, in response to parent requests to provide a “Select Day School for Young Ladies”, the sisters started to teach French, Singing and Drawing to a few students – this was the very first class of our school. In 1890 the sisters moved to this present site and provided primary and secondary co-education.

Sister Gonzaga, who was Principal from 1920-1924, had a major influence on the growth and direction of our college. She changed the name to St Aloysius College, after her own patron saint and adopted his motto ‘Strive for Higher Things’ and primary classes were phased out in 1952 to cater for a growing secondary sector.

The third act of founding, or perhaps more precisely, we can call it a re-founding.

As I just mentioned, in the first few years of our 135 years, our college was co-educational and in 2023 we in fact return to our beginnings. This re-founding will bring with it new stories, just as each of us here today has our individual experiences of St Aloysius College, a full spectrum of life, when combined, we form a tapestry of stories that is beautiful, inspirational and challenging.

This is what St Aloysius Day is all about – combining our unique stories into one rich tapestry, one of 135 years of history and one with such an exciting future.

I wish you a safe and relaxing Term break and I also like to publicly appreciate all the work and dedication displayed by all st Aloysius staff during this most challenging semester.

Mary Farah
St Aloysius College Principal