Opening and Blessing of Good Samaritan Place

​Our students were the highlight of the day. They certainly enjoyed a well earned BBQ lunch and ice-block to celebrate the occasion.

The Opening and Blessing of Good Samaritan Place was certainly a memorable occasion and one for the history books. In so many ways it reflected the community we see every day at our school. The commitment of staff, the beautiful community, happy excited children who love school, wonderful support from our Parents’ and Friends’ and School Board…it was a celebration of our village. Last year, I read a book that talks about growing rather than building as an analogy for leadership. If the community is the garden, then everyone has the sole purpose of growing. In a school context, some people are responsible for preparing the soil, fertilising, and weeding, but the main purpose is to grow together and to complement each other. Growing and gardening is more conducive to individual responsibility, involvement and participation.

There is a real sense of there being fertile soil here at St Joseph’s. We might see ourselves with different responsibilities in this garden, but everyone has the responsibility to grow. If you are a student, your task is to take hold in the rich soil that is being well prepared by staff. Your task is to blossom, to hold nothing back, and to show the fruits and colour that you are gifted with. As a parent your task is to grow also, but you have the added gift of being able to provide shelter and protection for others. In every season, you also have the gift of starting new growth, dropping old leaves and growing new shoots, fighting off weeds that would take over and slow down your growth and the growth of others, always making choices that will keep the garden clean, fertile and full of life and colour.

Staff at St Joseph’s too are both plants and gardeners. While still having the responsibility of growing themselves, we have the added responsibility for the growth of others. Every garden bed is full of challenges for teachers. Despite us thinking the soil is the same, we are often confused as to why some plants are slow to grow and develop. Why are some growing faster than others? When they all have the same soil, the same amount of water, the same care and attention? This is a perennial problem for us. Our only way forward is to treat each plant individually, to try different position, different fertiliser, and different trimming techniques. None of us can afford to leave the garden unattended.

Every year there are new plants and every year there are plants at different stages that require tendering, new seedlings and those ready for transplanting to different gardens. It won’t always look perfect- after all it is not always spring! Sometimes a gardener can stand back and gloat, take in the spectacle, like we tend to do on the last day of school every year. But most of the time, our hands are in the dirt and our backs are sore, working towards those days of full bloom, spectacular fragrance, and an abundance of fruit. And like I said on Friday in my address, I love this village! It is clear that our Good Samaritan tradition lives on and I am confident it will for many generations to come.