St Patrick’s College

St Patrick’s College
The College's crest was designed in 1938 and is made up of three
components:
 The Shield: a symbol of strength and fortitude.
 The Motto: Those who wear the crest pledge fidelity to the College
motto 'Luceat Lux Vestra', Latin for "Let Your Light Shine".
 The Star: the College lights the way to
 knowledge and to the Heavenly Father.
 The school has a strong sporting focus.

Consider: What do school traditions,
values and the motto ’Christ is my light”
mean to you? How will you remember
your school days?
Activity
 In the form of a diary entry, record a time when you
felt isolated at school.
 Think about who, what, when, where, why and how.
 Remember to include an emotional response to the
incident.
 How did you overcome the event?
St Patrick’s College
For eight years
I walked Strathfield’s paths and streets,
Played chasings up and down
The station’s ten ramps –
Caught the 414 bus
Like a foreign tourist,
Uncertain of my destination
Every time I got off.

For eight years
I carried the blue, black and gold
I’d been privileged to wear:
Learnt my conjugations
And Christian decorums for homework,
Was never too bright at science
But good at spelling’
Could say The Lord’s Prayer
In Latin, all in one breath.

Impressed by the uniforms
Of her employer’s sons,
Mother enrolled me at St Pat’s
With never a thought
To fees and expenses – wanting only
“What was best”.

From the roof
Of the secondary school block
Our Lady watched
With outstretched arms,
Her face overshadowed by clouds
Mother crossed herself
As she left me at the office –
Said a prayer
For my future intentions.
Under the principal’s window
I stuck pine needles
Into the motto
On my breast:
Luceat Lux Vestra
I thought was a brand of soap.

My last day there
Mass was offered up
For our departing intentions,
Our Lady still watching
Above, unchanged by eight years’
weather.
With closed eyes
I fervently counted
The seventy-eight pages
Of my Venite Adoremus,
Saw equations I never understood
Rubbed off the blackboard,
Voices at bus stops, litanies and
hymns
Taking the right-hand turn
Out of Edgar Street for good;
Prayed that Mother would someday
be pleased
With what she got for her money –
That the darkness around me
Wasn’t ‘for the best’
Before I let my light shine.
St Patrick’s College analysis
Quote
Technique Effect – how it relates to
belonging/not belonging
‘impressed by the uniforms/Of her
employer’s sons’
First impressions – image and appearance.
Hierarchy – looking up to people of higher
status, wanting to belong to that group.
‘with never a thought to fees and
expenses’
Dedication to their son’s future, sacrificing
their own opportunities.
Already isolated by the need to work hard.
Peter isolated from peer group by financial
issues.
‘-wanting only “what was best”’
Punctuation
Other people’s opinion of what is best but
not reality.
Not having choice.
‘From the roof.../Our Lady
watched...her face overshadowed by
clouds’
Imagery
Personification?
Symbolism
Our Lady – motherly, protective, caring.
Idea of clouds blocking view, she sees
everything but doesn’t do anything, no
involvement. Similar to poet? Lack of
understanding of situation.
Similar to his school experience –
shadowed and dark, isolated.
‘Mother crossed herself’
Worried about his future, sending him off
with hope and a prayer, sense of
uncertainty
‘I stuck pine needles/Into the motto’
Metaphor
Doesn’t understand the significance of this
opportunity, lack of respect for school and
traditions
“‘Luceat Lux Vestra’/I thought was a
brand of soap”
Irony
Means nothing to him, no understanding.
He is unable to shine.
‘For eight years/I walked Strathfield’s
paths and streets
Hyperbole
Repetitive action, dragging out, like a
chore, drudgery, endless walking, school
grounds aren’t mentioned
St Patrick’s analysis continued...

St Patrick’s College Analysis
continued.... Quote
Technique Effect – how it relates to
belonging/not belonging
‘Like a foreign tourist/Uncertain of my
destination.’
Simile
Juxtaposition
Sees himself as an outsider, someone
who doesn’t belong, alienated and
displaced.
Repeated action that doesn’t lead to
familiarity.
‘For eight years/I carried the blue, black
and gold’
Hyperbole
Emotive
Sensory Language
Repetitious; things he has to do; no real
sense of achievement; not much to show
for 8 yrs
Carried – weight/burden
Blue, black and gold – uniform,
responsibility
‘I’d been privileged to wear’
Irony
Contradicting the public idea of his
personal idea of his education.
Appreciation of his parents, but resentful
of his actual experience.
‘Could say the Lord’s Prayer/In Latin, all
in one breath
Metaphor

His biggest achievement; one thing he
could remember – not a real achievement.
Limited thought and meaning going into
his education (mind-set).
Learnt to imitate and comply
‘Our Lady still watching... Unchanged by
eight years’ weather’
Personification
Symbolism
Motif
Extended/double
metaphor
Repetition of “Our Lady” represents how
nothing has changed and how he hasn’t
changed either; no impact on the school –
like he never went to school.
Didn’t try to belong; Didn’t enrich or
challenge the community in any way.
‘With closed eyes.. Rubbed off the black
board’
Descriptive
language
Irony

Venite Adormus: “O come let us adore
Him” – extended prayer
He wants the service to be over and by
closing his eyes, he pretends to pray and
pretends to comply
‘Out of Edgar street for good;’
Graduation; sense of relief; doesn’t
mention the school/people
‘Prayed that someday Mother would be
pleased’
Motif

Sense of failure and disappointment;
letting parents down; his prayers are for
his mother’s sake
“The darkness around me/Wasn’t ‘for
the best’”
Pun?
Contradiction
Unclear conclusion; the school never
really helped him; never belonged to the
group; contradiction between the school’s
intention and his experience – light and
dark.
‘Before I let my light shine’ Referencing school motto
St Patrick’s College Analysis

 A reflective appraisal – with the benefit of hindsight and experience.
 Overall tone is condemnatory, hints at institutional alienation rather than
imbuing school spirit or inclusion
 No reference to positive growth or learning.
 Catholicism referenced by statues, prayers, ethos and Mass but no real
affinity inferred by such ‘decorums’.
 Large part of childhood spent there (repetition of 8 years) but no reference to
period being enjoyable.
 Anonymity dominates – symbolises few meaningful connections poet has
made.
 Overall perception is drudgery and uniformity – a penance to be endured.
 Conformity to strict educational codes has appeared to stultify poet’s
individuality.
 Mother’s notion of ‘What was best’ was not ‘for the best’
 Note irony in last sentence –before I let my light shine
Further Activities for St Patricks College:
 How has the poet achieved a sense of belonging and
isolation?
 Use textual evidence to support your answer.
 What do the mother’s reasons for sending her son to St
Patrick’s College suggest about her desire to assimilate?
Technique Example Effect

Imagery and Symbolism
- “That the darkness
around me wasn’t “for
the best” Before I let my
light shine”




- “Our lady watched with
outstretched arms”





- Contrasts the colour of
light and dark to form an
imagery of his thoughts on
the school (negative, ironic)
and how he approaches it.
light = full potential,
individuality

- Personification of the
statue on the school
grounds, suggests
warmness and a nice
atmosphere where people
are welcomed. A positive
image of the school.

Sensory and Emotive
Language
“For eight years/I carried
the blue, black and gold”



“Stuck pine needle into the
motto”





Impressed by the uniform of
the employer’s son






‘wanting only/”What was
best”’





‘voices at bus stops, litanies
and hymns’



‘That the darkness around
me/Wasn’t “for the
best”/Before I let my light
shine’
Feels exhausted, things he
has to do, no real sense of
achievement, ‘carried’-
(weight, burden,
responsibilities)
Stuck in a place that he
doesn’t really want to be.
Lack of respect for the
school and doesn't
understand the significance
of the school and the
motto.

This conveys the mother is
looking up to the employers
son as someone with a
higher status. this shows
that she wants her son to
belong to the group

Sarcastic tone of this implies
this idea was wrong and
shows how he feels in the
present towards his
experience at school

The voices merge to
become one, the school
becomes a whole white
noise to him

Never belonged to the
group that was allowed to
shine
A sense of bitterness
Contradiction about the
school’s intentions and his
experience

Similes and Metaphors
Other Poetic Devices
(alliteration, assonance,
consonance, caesura,
enjambment)