Tomorrow, all of our staff and students will move down to the beachfront for our ANZAC liturgy and commemoration. As usual, we will have many past servicemen and women join us for the occasion. It is indeed our great privilege to host these people who have proudly served our country. Recently, I read Peter FitzSimons' book on Gallipoli. It was a fascinating read and included many interesting facts about some of the soldiers who served in that bloody campaign. Two years ago, I also had the great honour of attending a dawn service ANZAC day commemorative service at the...
Tomorrow, all of our staff and students will move down to the beachfront for our ANZAC liturgy and commemoration. As usual, we will have many past servicemen and women join us for the occasion. It is indeed our great privilege to host these people who have proudly served our country. Recently, I read Peter FitzSimons' book on Gallipoli. It was a fascinating read and included many interesting facts about some of the soldiers who served in that bloody campaign. Two years ago, I also had the great honour of attending a dawn service ANZAC day commemorative service at the place of the Gallipoli landing. I took several hours walking around the various sites and reading some of the many headstones that were sent to Gallipoli from families back in Australia as a monument to their loved ones who died in a foreign land. Reading the headstones was a very sombre experience. I was taken aback by not only some of the young ages, but I was also particularly surprised by the number of older men, above 30, who left wives and children. It would appear that each new year brings a renewed appreciation of the sacrifice that was made by so many men and women and this is evidenced through the large number of crowds that gather at dawn services and marches.
Tomorrow’s services are very much about remembering the sacrifices of past servicemen and women and remembering what their service has done for our country and way of life. When in Turkey, I was able to see the way that the Turks commemorate the occasion. It was interesting to hear the story from another viewpoint. But clearly, what stood out from both sides was a deep respect for each other even though they were combatants and a sense of bravery and comradery that was developed though unimaginably difficult conditions. The resilience and resoluteness of these people is certainly something to celebrate. The other thing that struck me was the fact that the Turks have allowed us (as a foreign enemy) to return to their land, that we tried to conquer, each year to celebrate the loss of our loved ones. I think that that also says much about the respect of the people from each country after the war and of the Turkish leader of the time, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Each year, his letter to the mothers of our soldiers (his enemies) is read at the Gallipoli dawn service. It is read in Turkish and translated in English it says …
Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours,
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.
ANZAC day is also a time for us to reflect on what we have learned since the First World War. Unfortunately, history may not be too kind on the world if we look at what has happened since. Even today, on one hand we boast about being a global society, yet on the other still fight against each other based on opposing ideologies, intolerance to other cultures and people or for wealth and power. I am sure that we all hope that the renewed interest that our younger generation is showing to ANZAC commemorations sparks an awareness amongst them that the loss of human life at war is particularly senseless if no good comes from the lessons that should be learned from battle.
Almost all of our Year 12 cohort participated in a Kairos retreat over last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I would particularly like to thank the many staff members who made themselves available to attend these retreats and offer such an experience to the young men. This Saturday evening, our Year 12 men will also hold their formal. I look forward to meeting them and their partners in a different environment than the usual school activities. It is always a great night.
This morning, we held out first Trimester Sport Award assembly. My congratulations to the many young men who received awards. It is always nice to be recognised for your efforts by your peers. A special congratulations also to Mr Doug Locke for his organisation of the event.
Our Year 9 students and their fathers and mentors undertake the 1952 challenge tomorrow afternoon. They will walk 19.52kms. The purpose is best summed up in the classic saying … “it is not about the destination but the journey.” The walk gives the young men some good quality time with their fathers and significant male mentors to talk about what are important issues to them.
This Saturday marks the last week of trial games for our Football and Rugby teams. I hope that all of the young men enjoy their games. Sometimes, the following week leading into the first round of competition can be difficult for some of the young men because they may not have been selected into the teams that they had hoped they would get into. This is a time when their resilience may be tested. It is also an important time for them to take stock of the situation and work harder to make the team. As a school, we are aware that these young men will be upset about their selections. However, it is the coach’s role to select the team that they think best serves their requirements. Missing out on something that we really want and having to work harder for it is a great lesson in resilience and humility and I would like to think that all of our young 'men of action' have these qualities.
The student reports have been available as of Monday afternoon. I would encourage all parents to review the report with their son and practice the ideas that I mentioned in last week’s newsletter with them. The Parent/Teacher interviews are also open to parents. During Tuesday’s assembly, we told students that we also expected them to be at the interviews as much as possible. They are to attend the interviews in their school uniforms.
Enjoy the long weekend.