Dr Anthony Cleary Urges Revival of Tradition and Values in Education at First Formal Hall for Semester 2

Formal Hall Aug 2023 27
Formal Hall Aug 2023 27
11 Aug 2023

Dr Anthony Cleary, Director of Mission and Identity for Sydney Catholic Schools, delivered a thought-provoking speech at Campion College's first Formal Hall for Semester 2.

In his address, Cleary cited John 10:10, "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full," emphasising the need for a comprehensive approach to education that goes beyond intellectual growth. He also addressed the etymological roots of the word 'education', explaining the Latin word ‘educare’ involves drawing out all facets of the human personality.

"A fullness of life is not just about our intellectual, spiritual, social and emotional development and fulfillment, but of course, it is also about our understanding and appreciation of those things which are aesthetically pleasing," Cleary emphasised.  Beauty enobles us, and through the liberal arts we are seekers of what is good, true and beautiful.

Cleary expressed concern about the trajectory of decline in educational standards across the Western world, and the slow abandonment of some subjects. He highlighted the decline in the numbers of students studying classical languages and some of the humanities and arts, which are central to a wholistic approach to learning.

“There is a repudiation of those things which are revealed as objectively true."

Nonetheless, Cleary remained optimistic, proposing a forward-looking approach to education. Quoting Plutarch, he remarked, "Through education, the mind is a fire to be kindled, not a vessel to be filled," advocating for an education that sparks curiosity, critical thinking and moral reasoning.

He emphasised the significance of integrating the liberal arts within the curriculum of schools and outlined the current review of the Religious Education curriculum of Sydney Catholic Schools. He said, "This is an outside in, inside out approach" which highlights the complementarity of religious education and the liberal arts.

The address concluded with a resounding call to action, describing the Campion students as a ‘critical minority’ of our society, and urging them to uphold enduring traditions, values and wisdom. "They are not transient, they are not ephemeral, they are enduring, they are illuminating and they bring purpose, meaning and value to our lives," Cleary affirmed.

The evening was further marked by the matriculation of five new students, the warm reception of three exchange students from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Canada, and the recognition of exceptional academic achievement through the announcement of Dean's List Recipients for Semester 1, 2023.

See below for photos from the night.