WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Professional development for Hutt Catholic schools


Lisl Prendergast
31 March 2012

Cultivating compassionate judgement and making students aware that they are among the 23 percent of the world’s people who have enough, was the message of Australian Jesuit Richard Leonard at a Professional training day in the Hutt last November.

Sacred heart College hosted the day on November 29. Among the 75 gathered were people from primary schools Ss Peter and Paul, Our Lady of the Rosary, St Bernadette’s and St Brendan’s, St Mary’s and Chilton St James.

Fr Leonard was one of two guest speakers with Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee. He gave an inspiring address about the media and education applying his wonderfully inclusive vision to the faith.

We are, he said, ‘deeply obliged to share’. (Luke 12:48 ‘To those to whom much is given, much will be required.’).

He covered St Thomas Aquinas’s recommended virtues – self-care, justice, prudence, fidelity, mercy and hospitality.

We live in a culture of excess where more is seen as better. He quoted the great English philosopher Burke, ‘Evil reigns when good people do nothing’.

We were all convinced that encouraging critical judgment in students will be one way to nurture perceptive citizens.

Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee spoke about Best Evidence synthesis sharing some statistics that did not show New Zealand schools in a favourable light.

One international survey highlights bullying in schools and another shows New Zealand as the country least able to remediate the polarities in society.

The days of social mobility and education as a way to optimise one’s career chances will be gone unless we look seriously at what these international indicators are telling us, she said.

It is hoped to run more development days where there is collaboration between the sectors.

Meanwhile Sacred Heart College – the first secondary school in Lower Hutt – is planning to celebrate its 100th birthday at Labour Weekend.