Our opening school mass on Wednesday, February 19, was a wonderful community event. The beautiful liturgy was prepared by our Religious Education Coordinator, Mrs Taouk and Mrs Casey and celebrated by Father Fr Joti Bilowalu, Parish Priest of St Vincent’s Catholic Church. We were also blessed to have such large number of parents and invited guests join us for this special community event including:
- Sisters Anne Taylor, Maria Wheeler, Helen Clarke and Genevieve Walsh Representing the Sisters of Charity
- Mr Tim Cleary – Chief Executive Officer Ashfield -Olympic Park, Catholic Education Network
- Ms Antonella Dolores – Principal St Vincent’s Primary School
- Mr Mark McKeown – Principal St Anne’s Primary School
- HSC Class of 2019 Dux -Rose Leone and family
There were many highlights of the mass including the prayers of intercession delivered in a number of different languages representing the cultural diversity of our community and the blessing and commissioning of new staff, including: Mr Timillero our Acting Assistant Principal, Year 7 and new students in Years 8-11,and the 2020 Years 7-11 SRC. It was, however, the sublime voices of our 120+ strong student choir and the Instrumental Ensemble “Noteworthy” led by our Music teachers Mrs Bowyer, Ms. Weier and Mr Lee who captured the hearts of those gathered for the mass.
Another highlight was the traditional address by the HSC Dux from the previous year. We were pleased to welcome back the 2019 Dux, Rose Leone and her family.
Throughout her time at the College Rose embodied all that it means to be a Bethlehem girl, a graduate of a College founded by the Sisters of Charity.
Rose is a young woman of great faith who lives out her faith with humility and gentleness. She has been a long term volunteer as a counter and cleaner at her Parish of St Francis Xavier Ashbury. She is an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist and has assisted with the preparation of prayer services including the Month of Mary Playground rosary. She was one of the CARE and Faith in Action leaders for the Year 12 Student Representative Council and led initiatives such as sandwich making for St Vincent de Paul Night Patrol and Wrapped in love knitting project for the homeless. As an active member of the CARE group she has participated in Clean up Australia, 1 Million Women and College recycling campaigns. Rose is also a talented pianist who used her musical gifts to enhance our liturgical celebrations.
She did this while also maintaining a high academic performance. In the 2019 HSC she achieved outstanding results culminating in an ATAR of 95. She achieved scores of over 90 and Band 6s in 2 Unit Music 1, 2 Unit Community and Family studies and 2 Unit Mathematics and very high Band 5s in: 1 Unit Mathematics Extension, Standard English, Studies of Religion and Chemistry
Rose delivered an outstanding Dux address offering her reflections on how she approached her studies, including great advice on the value of hard work while also maintaining a healthy balance of study, part time work and time with family and friends. She thanked her family and the many teachers who assisted her to achieve her outstanding results. She also offered an important piece of advice to the Bethlehem students:
“The best piece of advice I can give you today is that the magnitude of your success is directly proportional to the amount of effort and work that you are willing to put in – and that applies to everything you do in life. So I want to leave you all with a reminder to make the most of your time left here at Bethlehem – whether that’s only three terms for the year 12’s or 6 whole years for the year 7’s because it will go by quick and I can tell you I miss it already. Never again will you get to spend 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 40 weeks a year with some of the people you probably love most in this world and hopefully like it was for me spending it having the absolute time of your life. So be kind to each other, be kind to yourselves and never take this opportunity – this education that we are so lucky to have for granted.”
We are all very proud of Rose’s achievements and of the outstanding young woman that she has become. We offer her our prayers and very best wishes as she commences the next stage of her educational journey studying a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Sydney
At the conclusion of mass our special guests, parents and some of the students enjoyed a lovely morning tea on the Bethlehem Spine.