A lasting contribution

Legacy is a word that can be used in so many contexts and sometimes for diametrically opposite reasons.

My wife’s legacy to my grandchildren is that already neither Sebastian nor Lily are ever at fault. I’m sure she could fire back at what my legacy is in terms of the Festivus conversations I have had with my children over the years and how that has affected them adversely in their lives. Either way, the legacy I want to talk about today is the one left when you are genuinely grounded in offering yourself to others and making a meaningful, lasting and energising contribution to humanity by serving a cause greater than your own. The requirements of this legacy are that you embrace your uniqueness, passionately immersing your whole self into life so that your gift will be to all and that you take responsibility to ensure that it will have a life beyond that of you, its creator, outliving and outlasting your time on earth. The legacy I want to talk about today is that of Shaun Raymond Kenny whose retirement was announced by Edmund Rice Education Australia on Thursday.

I first met Shaun when he visited the College in 2010. He didn’t remember us meeting, but I remember him well. As I recall, he sartorially underwhelmed me with his Roger David suit and rubber-soled shoes, so after the announcement about him being our next Principal, I got into action. Before he set foot on the premises as commander-in-chief, Shaun had a Sartoria Santandrea suit with a sublime green and mauve pinstripe, a grey Brioni pinstripe and a pair of Sutor Mantellassi Oxfords. Over the years we made many more one-in-a-million op shop purchases (mostly garments that fitted him perfectly), but Shaun only ever wore those first suits once a year, back to back, at Graduation and Awards Nights, and each time it brought a warm inner glow for me, reminding me of the first steps in our relationship and the special place he had formed in my heart.

Within a few years, I had graduated from his valet to his Vice Principal, and I was able to see up very close and personal how much he loved the CBC Fremantle community. Within days of his arrival in 2011, he had already made plans for the conversion of Edmund Hall into Blessed Edmund Chapel.

“A Catholic school needs a sacred space available to all,” he told us, and he made it his first order of business as a faith leader.

Shaun challenged everyone to be their best and his mantra was that he wanted the staff and students here to stand alongside those of any other school, and to do so as equals. He was the driving force behind the building of the Student Services and staff building that proudly stands in Stirling Street. He wanted the best of everything in that building; design, floor coverings, fittings and amenity. Each meeting with the architect would see minor improvements and it is testament to our Business Manager Anthony Pitos that everything was able to be accommodated and on budget.

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Shaun introduced Academic Care to the College and put the resources in so that it wasn’t just a concept.

“The College budget reflects what you value,” he would tell me, and “We must start with resourcing the most vulnerable.”

As I mentioned in the last edition of In Touch, Shaun backed TRJ from the start and championed it as being a built-in, not bolted-on programme. The CBC Journey is now well-developed, and extended to Academics, The Arts, Faith, Sports and personal growth programmes, and forms the most important point of difference for the College.

Parent evenings, assemblies, ceremonies, publications, staff meetings and amenities all improved under Shaun’s watch. He made so many crucial and excellent appointments to improve the College in every area. He often stated he only ever got one wrong, and he was the only Principal in EREA with a food taster, but I know that he knew that I always took that as a sign of his reciprocal affection for me.

Everyone who ever met Shaun during his time at CBC will have their own special memory, be it shaking the boys’ hand at the gate, his powerful and inspiring oratory or his excellent tips for the Ascot races. He deserves our recognition and our best wishes as he prepares for the next phase of his life after a stellar work life. I sincerely hope he takes up the offer to be formally farewelled at the school he loved so much and that loved him back. To his beautiful wife Marion, children Yvonne, Sarah, Natalie and Michael, grandchildren Naomi, Isobel and Hayden, and his star galloper Platoon, thank you for sharing Shaun with us. He’s all yours to enjoy now. Good luck and God Bless.

Si monumentum requiris circumspice

Mr Domenic Burgio
Principal