Holy Cross teacher librarian Judith Rooney remembers her first glimpse of the school’s striking sandstone building well. Her father drove her to a job interview with the then Principal Br Stephen Aitken on a Sunday morning 46 years ago.
“The Fintan O’Neill building was so imposing,” she said. “I was 19 and I said to Br Stephen after the interview ‘I don’t think I’ll get this job, I think you want someone more mature for such a responsible position’. He said: ‘Why? I’m 29 and I’m the principal’. That was my introduction to the culture of Holy Cross which has been a great gift in my life.”
The College has stayed at the forefront of technology and resources. Former principal Br Anthony Visser created a technology class that used computers instead of pen and paper in 1993 along with a technology committee which Mrs Rooney joined, learning how to administer the college’s e-learning platform.
As a College community we do feel very accountable. Every person matters to the teachers here and to the principal, whoever that principal may be.
The school’s Flexible Learning Precinct officially opened on March 17. Mrs Rooney said the changeable and technology-rich open space allowed for greater collaboration between students and teachers. Her desk is at its centre. She also teaches creative writing to Years 9 and 10, takes photographs at major College events, and makes sure there are multiple copies of popular books available for the boys to read.
“The teacher librarian position is a very unique teaching position in any college because you get the opportunity to speak to people on a one-to-one basis. We strive to look at the whole person in a Catholic school. That’s my little way of addressing that. I encourage the good readers. Boys love reading series and they tell me what they want to read.
“Any boy should be able to come to their school library and feel welcome, safe, and valued, and tapping into their taste in books is part of that.
“The biggest change in the teaching and learning environment has definitely been technology. We once had a whole wall of encyclopedias. Now you can hold that set of encyclopedias in the palm of your hand on your phone or on your BYOD [Bring Your own Digital] device.”