We are named after St John the Evangelist. St John’s gospel is the gospel of love. Christian love is in our minds, on our lips and in our hearts.
The school’s crest contrasts light and dark, right and wrong. The sun represents God the Giver of Life. The sun's rays are the light of Christ shining upon us. The sun is surrounded by boomerang shapes. These are Aboriginal symbols for groups of people.
As a Christian school, we make a point of being open and accepting towards all groups of people. Our Christian sign is the cross. The cross is shown from a perspective point, signifying that we journey together.
We thank Sr Geraldine Kearney for her input into the design of our School Crest.
The school motto of ‘Pax Christi’ reflects the tradition of Australia’s first Archbishop, John Bede Polding, as well as the personal motto of the Bishop of Wollongong, William Murray, under whose patronage the school had its beginning:
‘Per Justitiam Pax’
Latin for Peace Through Justice
Our school motto is “Pax Christi” the peace of Christ. We strive to have peace in our hearts, be peace makers, both within the school and the wider community. Our understanding of the Peace of Christ and its implication for living will have an influence on the world at large and on our lives as individuals.
Our vision is that St John the Evangelist High School will become known as a compassionate and just educational community based on Catholic teachings and traditions.
This community will value peace, will promote the growth of the whole person and will be uniquely responsive to the needs of the Shoalhaven and surrounding regions.
The mission of St John's Catholic High School is to create a dynamic educational environment within a caring, involved community centred on the Catholic ethos, valuing peace and pursuing excellence.
Our core values represent what we believe. They are what we stand for and what guide our actions:
- Spirituality – Listening to the Word of God, active and alive within the Catholic Tradition
- Love – living as disciples of Jesus, the Risen Christ
- Justice – transforming our world into the Kingdom, the Reign of God
- Hospitality – an accepting inclusive community built on respect and right relationships with particular care for the marginalised and poor
- Hope – promoting a learning community committed to individual and community excellence
- Compassion – proclaiming the Good News of the Gospels
Our Two Wells
Michael McQueen (New Rules of Engagement 2007) makes an excellent analogy about getting students to do what we want them to do. When European farmers came to pastoralise Australia’s huge tracks of land, compared to the farms of their European background, they had a crisis of method. Their old ways didn’t work. In particular, it was impossible to fence properties that were bigger than small European countries. So how could they keep their stock together? They realised that if they put wells and water holes in the middle of their properties their stock would stay on their land without fences. They gave the stock a good reason for staying on the farm. Fences ensure compliance, the water holes ensure commitment. This is a good model for Generation Y and Z. They do not respond to power and authority symbolised by the fences, they don’t respond to being told they “should” do something if they can’t see another reason. Compliance is only as effective as the power and control of the enforcing authority to create fear and only provides two options: comply or not comply. If they see the fence they ask Why? Rather, if we promote commitment there will be less conflict. It offers a reason why a young person would respond positively rather than just dictating what is expected. Opportunities should highlight the benefits of choosing a positive response.
Our School Vision identifies two key focus areas as “Two Wells”.
These are named as;
1. Excellence in Learning
2. Peaceful and just relationships
St John the Evangelist therefore a Catholic high school with a strong focus on excellence in learning and peaceful and just relationships. The Senior Passport is a good example of such an opportunity. This also taps into their understanding of “causes” beyond themselves, another hallmark of these younger generations. Our behaviour management policy and processes should work towards commitment rather than compliance.