Principal's  Message


2020 Academic Year

A warm welcome to the 2020 academic year. For all families who are new to the College, we hope that your experience has been one of inclusion, structured information and happiness. For all returning families, thank you for your ongoing support of our community.

Start of Year

We have begun the year with 1587 students on-site. This figure is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it is the largest number of students we have ever experienced and secondly, it speaks to a very high retention rate. Given that Years 7-9 are a predictable number, the increase in students is coming from senior levels. We have the aim of all boys completing a Year 12 equivalent certification, no matter what their interest or talent.


The College began Semester 1 studies in the latter part of 2019 as part of the Flying Start Program for all year levels. This enabled students and staff to be aware of their classes and become aware of the practicalities of moving on to the next year level. Our incoming Year 7 students had two individual Orientation Days in 2019, allowing them to feel settled prior to commencement this year.


A morning tea was held on the first Thursday for all new families. This was extremely well attended and had the side benefit of producing a number of new volunteers for our Canteen and Parents and Friends' Association.

College Theme

The theme for 2020 is, Be a light for the world.

The graphic accompanying this theme is given below:

The theme is taken from the gospel of Matthew that states, ..”let your light so shine”. This speaks of a vibrant and practical demonstration of Christian works in action through the everyday interactions we have with others. The graphic arose from student ideas on representing the theme in a visual manner.

Opening Assembly

I had the opportunity to attend the Leaders camp at Cypress Lodge, Phillip Island; a place very familiar to most of the leaders as it formed the base for their Year 7 and 8 outdoor education experience.


It was wonderful to hear of their aspirations for the College, their love of the Lasallian heritage and their plans for this year. These young men were recently invested in front of their fellow students and families. Leadership comes in many forms. In a College such as ours, it is servant leadership that is most sought as it reflects the model that Christ so willingly demonstrated. Let us pray for these leaders and indeed all of our Year 12 cohort as they take up the challenge of supporting all members of our school. I wish them well in their endeavours.


Joining them at our opening assembly were the high achieving 2019 VCE students who were recognised for their achievements.



There was a considerable amount of information sent to our Community last year in relation to the amalgamation of St James College into St Bede’s College. This will take place at the beginning of 2021. Effectively, this means that there will be a second campus (Years 7-10) of our school called, St Bede’s College, Bentleigh East. More information is available on our website where there are answers given to a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).


We have invited all prospective Bentleigh East families to our College Open Morning on 4 March, given that their sons will eventually be students on-site at Mentone. We welcome all families who wish to see our College in action.

VCE Results

Not all Year 12 students take up an academic pathway and a few decide to go unscored for a variety of reasons. For those equally valued Year 12 students, success comes in many forms, including, work placements, apprenticeships or a non-scored VCE.


28 students achieved an ATAR of 90 or above. We congratulate them all. Overall, 13% of students scored 90 or above, with 33% of students scoring 80 or above. Amongst those is our Dux,  Lachlan Lamble, with an ATAR of 98.85. we welcomed all of these young men and their families back to the College at the recent assembly.



Every student has his own story. We trust that all of our young men move on to the next phase of their life with a sense of hope and optimism.

Council of International Schools (CIS)

The College gained membership in the latter part of 2019. This enables us to proceed to the next phase where we will prepare for a significant CIS panel visit where we will be asked to present all aspects of our school to a set of world class standards. This particularly looks at our fidelity to our Mission and Vision and the way that St Bede’s prepares young men for a global world. Students, parents and our wider community will have the opportunity to be a part of this process.

Talk Excerpt

Given below is an excerpt from my Opening Assembly address:

As a Lasallian school we inherit and live out the stories of those who have gone before us. Everyone who has gone before us. One such person was Ron McCallum.

If you first heard of the things that Ron McCallum did at St Bede’s as a student, you may think he was like many others. He had a strong set of friends, he worked hard at achieving his goals, he played sport, took part in drama activities, loved music, caught public transport and,  sometimes, came to school by bike. He was raised by his mother.


I wonder what Ron McCallum would think of our theme

Be a light for the world?


But Ron McCallum could see no light! Ron McCallum was legally blind.


Ron was born premature. In the late 1950 and 60s it was common for premature children to be placed in a humidicrib and given 100% oxygen. Unfortunately, whilst this helped the lungs, it had the unwanted side effect of destroying the retinas of the eyes, thus leading to irreversible blindness.


Like many blind children who grew up in Melbourne, Ron attended a school at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, which was on St Kilda Road, Prahran. Ron stayed there until he was 13 years old. The fate of most blind children was to finish at that school at 14 years of age and then move next door to the cardboard packing factory, because that was what a blind person was able to do safely for the rest of their working life; packing cardboard boxes.


He had other ideas. He loved to read, by braille, and became fascinated by stories. His mother found every braille book possible to ensured that happened.


His mother also approached the De La Salle Brothers at Mentone about the amazingly unusual step of having a blind student attend St Bede’s; they agreed.


Be a light for the world


They agreed


They were being a light for the world for a person who had no light, simply by saying yes.


Ron made his way to school by bus and sometimes bike. Not only did his fellow students give him a ride to school on the back of their bike, they, along with staff,  also read his textbooks and novels to him, tutored him for exams and kept him company whilst studying.


Be a light for the world


Ron McCallum went on to the University of Melbourne, studied law and become the first blind person in Australia to become a Professor. He also chaired the United Nations group on disabilities, won an Order of Australia and was named Senior Australian of the Year in 2011.



The students and teachers at St Bede’s offered him many small kindnesses that allowed him to grow in confidence and competence. He never forgot it. He recently wrote a book called, “Born at the right time”. This is an amazingly optimistic book about his journey.


Fast forward to 6 February 2020.


How many metaphorical Ron McCallum’s do we have at St Bede’s College today? Not with an obvious outward disability, but still in need of our community care.


There are many of us




Because we all have our challenges, we all have our doubts, we all have moments when we are most in need of support and we all need to rely on the light of others.


Be a light for the world

Ron McCallum was accepted for who he was; disability and all


And, so it should forever be at St Bede’s College.


The one factor that senior students consistently list as their greatest need is to be strong mentally. We can all influence the Mental Health and Wellbeing of others through small acts of kindness, small acts of light for everyone no matter their wealth level, what home they come from, their personality, talent, gender or sexuality. We can make a difference to others.


Be a light for the world


Per Vias Rectas


John Finn