From Our Deputy Principal

A Spotlight on our College Traditions

135 years is a long time for any organisation to be in continuous business and most significant for an institution to continue delivering education to children despite the impacts of historical events and the changing methods of educational delivery. Imagine the thousands of people whose lives were positively impacted and forever changed by this original mission, unfettered by the politics or economics of the day, and adapting to the changing community.

Maintaining an important but simple vision was the selfless service founded by the Sisters of Mercy to “educate the ignorant” a timeless concept presented here in 19th century language. St Aloysius College’s strongest tradition is the Mercy Values linking Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, through to the current Mercy Education model. These values of compassion, justice, respect, courage, hospitality and service form the character of all students and staff. These values ensure that as our students move into careers and pathways of their own choosing, their decisions, actions, and interactions with others create a kinder, wiser, more tolerant and respectful world.

Since the early days of the North Melbourne School, when Speech, Singing, Art and some Languages were taught underpinned by Reading and Arithmetic, students were told they were ‘born to strive for higher things’, “Ad Altiora Natus”. Through the 1930s, when St Aloysius pupil Lucy Verdon became the first Catholic woman to receive a Science degree from University of Melbourne it evoked a tradition of not holding back any students’ potential. Trying new activities, participating in House competition despite the changing House names over the decades and committing to social justice causes and charitable actions is a College tradition that is long-standing.

The students themselves are a representation of 135 years of change, embracing North Melbourne’s immigration and industrial history. St Aloysius College’s tradition is one of welcome regardless of ethnicity and cultural background; just as the Sisters of Mercy expressed a caring welcome for all and provided a rigorous and innovative education.

As we embark on co-education next year, we are reminded that it is not the first time boys have been educated at St Aloysius College. During the Second World War the school taught what is now primary aged children and this included boys. However, next year the secondary school girls and boys will be breaking new ground forming new traditions in some ways, but I really wonder if all of our students, now and tomorrow, are merely reflecting the pioneering spirit of curiosity and brilliance, determination and resilience that the founding sisters brought to North Melbourne 135 years ago.

Ad Altiora.