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Our young men are regularly reminded that they are not only Australian citizens, but also global citizens. This is a reality of the modern world, especially through the exponential growth of communication and media resources now available to them. Politicians often emphasise this point when discussing the economic potential of a global economy and the media focus on this through the increasing international news and stories that are all readily available to us through the touch of a finger or an earphone in the ear. There are indeed many benefits of being a global citizen. If we remove the economic focus and simply consider the social advantages of this position, our young men, like never before, have ready access to resources that enable them to learn so much about the people and places that make up this great planet. They can see (rather than just read about) the wonderful and awe inspiring geographic phenomena across the globe and the varying cultures that have grown in different parts of the world. They have many more opportunities than young men of my generation to travel faster, further and to many more places. All of these opportunities offer them the chance to look at where we fit into the world and (often) how fortunate we are in Australia compared to other places.

One of the more unfortunate aspects of being a global citizen is the bad news that they hear about other countries and cultures. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris are a very good example of this. It is a reality of today’s society that news from a country on the other side of the world can affect the youth of Australia. It is also an unfortunate reality that this news can also cause them to take world views that may be affected by such events.

Good global citizens have to be tolerant and open to differences. Every country has its own cultural characteristics and nuances and I believe that this is what makes the world (and being a global citizen) so interesting. One of the dangers of what occurred in Paris is that terrorist organisations can manipulate the thoughts of our more vulnerable young people and cause them to be less tolerant of other cultures and ways of life. The can funnel their vision to one way of seeing things and indoctrinate them to a point that they are closed to other views. One of the great advantages of education is that it allows people to gain knowledge, to have the power to ask questions and form their own opinions or views about something based on their own information gathering. One of the advantages that we have as adults in this world is working with our young people to encourage them to look at a diversity of views on particular topics and challenge them in why they may form particular views so that they also have the ability to consider an alternative view. This is not to say that there are times when there is not a need for conformity - our laws, schools rules etc demand these things. However, it also does not mean that they are not open to challenge and change over time either. It is through appropriate advocacy and informed discussion and debate that such changes take place.

The other thing that we, as adults, need to consider is the effect that such news may have on our young people. Constant bad news, particularly about terrorism, can often cause angst, confusion and fear. Some time ago, I wrote about the concept of “infobesity” and suggested that one of the issues for young people constantly being bombarded with news (particularly bad news) over regular periods is that they lose a sense of what is a priority or important. I would urge all parents and adults to discuss the events of Paris with their son and allow an open and informed conversation about the events and fears in regard to the terrorist attacks. It might also be a good time to discuss the idea about not generalising about particular cultures or faiths because of the actions of a few. I believe that if there is one significant characteristic that our future generations need to move forward together on, it is tolerance and a willingness to be open to different views and cultures.

The senior students have finished their final exams and graduate this evening. I am sure that it will be a very emotional night for many of the young men and their families. I would particularly like to thank the many parents who will also be “graduating” from our College as well. Your support and assistance over the past years has been very much appreciated by the College.

Our students in Years 5 – 11 will begin their final assessments over next week. The Year 10 and Year 11 students will be on block exams, which means that they are only required to be at school to complete their exams. There will be no training for any school teams over this week to ensure that each young man has ample time to prepare for his exams.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Year 9 students complete their Rite Journey passage through a ritual called The Return and the Homecoming. This program has been planned for the past two years and was implemented this year. I would like to particularly thank Mr Brian Polich and Mr Finlay Lester for their efforts over this year in coordinating the program. I believe that it has been very successful this year and will continue to grow and further enhance over the coming years. I look forward to meeting up with some of the parents and significant mentors in the afternoon.

I recently received a letter from the Sandgate Sub Branch of the RSL to thank and congratulate one of our students, Mitchell Bell, for assisting them in the recent Remembrance Day service. Mitchell played the Last Post at the service and has also assisted them with their Veterans' Day and ANZAC Day services throughout the year. We are very proud to have a young man who is willing to give his time and expertise on such important occasions. In his letter, Mr Robinson noted …”His performances have been top class and the feedback that we have received from both our members and the public, has been very positive and complimentary.” Congratulations and well done Mitchell.

God bless,

Mr Chris Mayes - College Principal