PAM Betts has been speaking in superlatives following her first experience of Catholic Education Week as Brisbane Catholic Education’s executive director.
“The constant message I saw shining through was the commitment of our students and staff to the ethos of Catholic education,” she said.
Queensland Catholic Education Commission director Mike Byrne said he “was delighted most schools around the State responded to the call to share how they are ‘making a difference’ in the lives of their students and in their local communities”.
“Planning for the week takes a great deal of work at both school and diocesan level and I congratulate all involved in making the week a great success,” he said.
CEW ran from Sunday, July 21, to Saturday, July 27.
Ms Betts said she’d “lost count of the number of events and activities that took place in our schools”.
“I was fortunate to be involved in several of the Brisbane events, including the launch by the Governor (Penelope Wensley) at St Mary’s College Ipswich and the Ministerial Reception at Parliament House,” she said.
“The talent of our students was evident from the beautiful singing at St Mary’s College Ipswich, the musical welcome by the Loreto College string quartet at Parliament House and the St Laurence’s Choir at the Ministers’ reception was fantastic.”
Ms Betts said among highlights for her was the impact on schools of Catholic Education Week ambassador Anthony Ryan.
“He captured the attention and imagination of our students, parents and staff, and reminded them of how we can make a difference in the lives of others,” she said.
“I also really enjoyed the Parents and Friends’ Dinner, where I had the opportunity to speak to a wide cross-section of people from schools, the Church, and Government.”
Mr Ryan, Edmund Rice Foundation chief executive officer and past student of St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, met with various groups of students, staff, parents and parishioners in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Brisbane and the Gold Coast during the week to share his message of taking action to make a difference in society.
He tweaked the 2013 Catholic Education Week theme of making a difference to “making a lifelong difference”.
“I was impressed at the enthusiasm of students for social justice as I went around the dioceses,” he said.
“However, I also wanted to talk about students keeping ‘the fire in the belly’ for these issues after they leave school.
“One of my key messages was that students must look beyond good exam results to the message of the Gospels and how this can radically change lives including their own.”