The name Joseph has a prominent role in the history of Xavier High School. St Joseph’s Ladies College, for girls, was an important part of the Catholic community in Albury before the creation of Xavier High School in 1983.
The Mercy tradition lives on through the example of Joseph, the father of Jesus, who was brave and truthful. His life was based on hard physical work and concern for his family. He showed courage in the face of adversity and faith in God’s plan for him and his family. Joseph was willing to change to meet the needs of others. He is remembered today as a man of his word, true to God and family.
Nine years ago, the decision was made by Joseph House to take Guide Dogs Victoria as its charity. With the House dedicated to loyalty, hard work and generosity, this organisation seemed a wonderful match with what we are about. This was always going to be a huge, long term project but there would also be much that could be learnt from the experience – the need to work together, not giving up when difficulties arose and the joy that comes with knowing that you have made a difference in someone else’s life. So, nine years of selling chocolate frogs as a means of fundraising began.
Guide Dogs Victoria has been an important source of encouragement in maintaining our focus, particularly when our first dog, “Joseph” failed to meet the criteria required. This disappointment was lessened three years ago, when we began sponsorship of a new dog who we named “Xavier”. We have followed his progress with interest through the photos and updates supplied by the organisation. At the end of last year the House Captain, Amy Salter, the School Captain, Tara Suidgeest and myself attended “Xavier’s” Graduation in Melbourne. The opportunity to meet the couple who raised him as a puppy, his trainer and his new owner Jenny Baltetsch was exciting for all of us.
We appreciate the generosity of Jenny and her husband in bringing “Xavier” to Albury and taking the time to give us some insight into how he has settled into life with them. He now proudly wears our school badge on his collar and coped confidently with the media coverage that surrounded his visit.
The return of past leaders of the House, Laura Mathieson, Adam Rowland, Jessee Williams and Thomas Fawcett to help celebrate the visit, was an impressive reminder of the contribution that the project has had on building House culture and the positive memories they have of their involvement.
While the intention is to continue to keep in contact with Jenny, we now have a new pup who we have named “Joey”. The responsibility now rests on the new generation of House members and leaders, to continue what has been a wonderful tradition established by Joseph students and families over the past nine years. We have every reason to be proud of what we have achieved.