It goes without saying that our community is currently experiencing hardship. The struggles we are facing as we adapt to a new way of learning and a lack of interaction with each other are challenges confronted by us as students and our teachers too. Despite these challenges, one thing that seems to continue to live on is the robust culture of Salesian College Chadstone.

Personally, I have wondered whether the strong bonds between students would survive this tough time. I questioned whether teachers would still be able to truly connect with one another. And finally, I asked myself whether our school would be able to continue to connect with our community.

I think as a school we have been able to successfully overcome all three of these obstacles, as our culture has shone through. An experience I have had of this positive culture is the support that has been offered to me by my teachers. We are always encouraged to rely on our Oratory teachers.

Whether it’s regarding wellbeing or workload, teachers are always willing to assist in any way that they can. This reliance and trust between teachers and students builds our strong culture that we talk so much about.

It's a very different look for classrooms this year, as students wear their protective masks

Another example of Salesian’s culture lies in the geniality of our students. The honest conversations we have with each other allow us to identify what we can do better in order to achieve our goals. I have been blessed to be a part of our Student Leadership team in all of my six years here at Salesian.

Our Student Congress meetings provide a platform for the ‘student voice’ at Salesian. The level of professionalism and attentiveness that is present at these meetings upholds our College culture and values. Our 85 elected leaders represent all year levels, giving voice to the views and opinions of all students at our school.

Our Student Leadership team provides important insight into the student experience, allowing Mr Brennan and the College Leadership Team to connect with our students. Our Student Leadership program promotes our College value of belonging, ensuring that each student feels he can contribute to making positive change at the College when he enters our gates each day. I think it is this sense of belonging that greatly contributes to our culture here at the College.

Integrity, respect, belonging, joy and dynamism are not only our College values; they are the roots of our identity. These values are the touchstone that we look to in times of uncertainty. Our values reflect the goals of our school, guiding our ideas and the way in which we conduct ourselves on a day to day basis.

Living out these values depends on the authenticity of our students and staff, requiring that we keep ourselves accountable. Our culture relies on this strong set of values, if we are to prosper during this tough period of time. As we face this pandemic, I believe it is important to remember that we are privileged with a sturdy touchstone, that enables us to work together to overcome this difficult time.

In our Year 12 cohort, the common problems and anxieties we are now facing as we learn from home have not secluded us from each other. Rather, they have brought us closer than ever, as we continue to elevate each other with motivation and encouragement. Our school culture and shared values have proven that it doesn’t matter how far apart we may be from each other. We are always united in spirit.


Robert is College Captain of Melbourne's Salesian College Chadstone.