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Antonine Day

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Principal's Speech

This week we mark two very important days. Today, we celebrate Antonine Day and on Friday we celebrate World Teachers’ Day.

On Antonine Day, we celebrate our College and all that has been achieved. We express gratitude to all the Antonine Sisters who over the last 20 plus years have sacrificed so much to make Antonine College a reality. Serving the Lebanese Maronites living in Melbourne, the Antonine Sisters responded to requests from the community for a school. Many Antonine Sisters over the years, have left behind their homeland and families to come and serve the Melbourne community helping us maintain ties with our heritage. The Antonine Sisters successfully established a Child Care, School and an Aged Care facility with openness and strong connections with the wider community without losing identity and faithfulness to the Maronite Church.

This week we have the opportunity to celebrate all that the Antonine Sisters have achieved. We also celebrate the contribution of all the lay staff, teachers and support staff who over the last 20 plus years, grateful for all the opportunities we have been given due to the dedication and hard work of the Antonine Sisters.

Sr Veronique recently spoke to students in Year 7-10 about her vocation as a nun and how she came to realise what her vocation was. It was lovely to hear her story. And to realise that once she made her commitment, her vows, it was a full time commitment for life. So many of us in life make commitments but do not always have the conviction to see it through. Sr Mariette, Sr Veronique and Sr Rita are great examples to us. They live life humbly and in service to God and therefore service to others.

I wish all the Antonine Sisters, staff, students and families, a Happy Antonine Day!

On Friday, we also celebrate World Teachers’ Day which commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the status of teachers.

We are reminded that “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher”. This was the theme of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) where education is recognised as a fundamental right.

Sadly, there are an estimated 264 million children and youth still out of school globally and it is estimated that we need to train 69 million new teachers to ensure all students have a qualified teacher to achieve the 2030 goal for primary and secondary education worldwide.

Unfortunately, the gap is widening when it comes to children with disabilities, refugee and migrant children and those in poverty living in remote areas. Trained and qualified teachers are fundamental to the right to education.

And so I ask each student to take time this week, especially on Friday, to acknowledge your teachers and all school staff who help you with your education. We do not just do a job: teaching is truly a vocation.

As students of Antonine College, you are very fortunate to have the Antonine Sisters and wonderful staff, as well as great facilities. For all this each student as the responsibility to represent the College well in all they do, how your treat others, how you study, how you wear the uniform, how you speak to one another, etc. You have so much that children all over the world do not have. Please do not take that for granted.

Again, I wish you all a Happy Antonine Day and in the words of our College theme, Rejoice and Be Glad Today!.

Ms Joanne Bacash

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