65 years on, the Eddies ethos remains unchanged
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Change is inevitable. Times change. People change. Places change.
But amidst change, some things remain constant.
A visitor approaching St Edmunds College Canberra in 2019, for instance, will see the same columns, the same main building, the same front steps that the first students walked up 65 years ago.
“The pillars out the front, the stairs, even team photos are taken on those stairs still,” said Germaine Muller, Community Development and Marketing Manager for St Edmund’s.
“It is such an iconic façade as far as we’re concerned. And I don’t think there’s any intention to ever change that because it’s just one of those things. We’re very proud of it.
“The Hall is still pretty similar to how it was even 20 years ago. A lot remains very familiar for visiting Old Boys. We’ve added new buildings, new wings, the Performing Arts Centre for example was opened in 2013 and new equipment and facilities are added regularly . But the façade will stay the same for a long time to come.”
This year, St Edmund’s, or Eddies as it’s more widely known, celebrates its 65th year. The first class began on February 2, 1954. Classes have continued since, making Eddies the oldest continuing Catholic School in Canberra.
And while some physical aspects of the College may have changed, Germaine believes the core of the school, its ethos and its community, remain unchanged.
“The sense of community is definitely unchanged,” Germaine said.
“I’m an Old Boy. A number of the staff here are Old Boys and Eddies has over 11,000 alumni.
“The technology’s changed and the times have changed, the influences have changed, but the Eddies “feel”… the fact old boys from across generations can ease instantly into conversations, shows that the that community hasn’t changed. And that community is known across Canberra.
“I heard the other day that we had raised more than any other school for the Vinnies door-knock appeal in 2018, and we continue to do things like that, that really touch back to our community spirit. And as a student you feel it, as a parent you feel it and obviously as a staff member and Old Boy you feel it as well.
“Somehow, amidst all the changes, I think the ethos here has remained the same and I think Eddies boys continue to be proud of similar things within the College that they were proud of 65 years ago.”
“The times have changed but we continue to adapt to the changes, to ensure that we are educating boys the best way possible, and to make sure that our output continues to be the same – quality human beings, Eddies Boys.”
So what is different about an St Eddies Boy? It’s hard to nail down said Germaine, who was quick to clarify that he wasn’t trying to critique or compete with other schools, but it’s something students and Old Boys feel.
“I think there’s a holistic difference,” he said.
“It’s subtle. There’s no specific thing that makes an Eddies Boy stand out. There are other schools that we are similar to.
“We tend to stand up against injustice, tend to contribute to the community, tend to have unwavering motivation… and it’s not about saying we’re better, or trying to rubbish other schools, but it is a holistic experience that touches on so many areas of your life, and there’s a reason that Eddies Old Boys like to hire Eddies school leavers. Their experience of the school stays with them and they value that and favour that.”
In this 65th year, Germaine said there aren’t any new events, however, existing events will celebrate the occasion.
“We have the usual events that we’d have every other year, only this year they have a 65 year celebratory spin on them,” said Germaine.
“We have the opening school Mass, the end of year Mass, the Founders Day Mass.
“We have the Blue and White Ball which was rejuvenated a few years ago and we have the Heritage day/Reunion Day. Those five events have always been big events in the school calendar, but this year they take on a unique 65 years spin.
“The Blue and White Ball is coming up on 17th of May… anyone from the community is welcome and we’re hoping to have staff members from 30, 40, 50 years ago attend as well. We anticipate it will be bigger than any ball we’ve hosted in recent history.
“For the Heritage Day as well… this year we’ve also called it the Reunion Day, and we’ll be opening the electronic scoreboard that was fundraised by the Old Boys & Friends Association.
“For the Founders Day Mass we’re inviting all of our friends from all of the other schools and the wider community and we’ll be hosting them for refreshments a small reception afterwards as well.
“So nothing will be completely different, but everything will be slightly different, and collectively we will have a year celebrating 65 years.”
Which brings the discussion back to the topic of change, and a final word from Germaine.
“I think over the 65 years, an Eddies Boy has remained an Eddies Boy. The times have changed but we continue to adapt to the changes, to ensure that we are educating boys the best way possible, and to make sure that our output continues to be the same – quality human beings, Eddies Boys.”