Australia stood still for one minute at 11:00am last Saturday (11November). This time commemorates Armistice Day when the guns finally fell silent on World War I. This day brought about the end of a bitter four year battle involving many countries across the globe and cut short the lives of 61,919 Australians. This war was dubbed “the war to end all wars”. World War I was given this status as it affected the population of young men and women across the world. It was hoped and probably assumed that such a devastating man-made event would not occur again....
Australia stood still for one minute at 11:00am last Saturday (11November). This time commemorates Armistice Day when the guns finally fell silent on World War I. This day brought about the end of a bitter four year battle involving many countries across the globe and cut short the lives of 61,919 Australians. This war was dubbed “the war to end all wars”. World War I was given this status as it affected the population of young men and women across the world. It was hoped and probably assumed that such a devastating man-made event would not occur again. Whilst this time has been earmarked a minute in our day to reflect upon the sacrifice made by so many, it is also a time to think whether it was actually the war to end all wars. It is clearly a matter of history that this was not, in fact, the case. Whilst our world may still yearn for peace, the current circumstances across the world are not helping us achieve this dream.
Working within a school, with students from Years 5-12, is a great privilege. It allows the adults within the community to have an insight into the thinking and feelings of our youth. My observations would be that there is a deal of fear and worry from them about where the world is heading. Such things can play upon the minds of young men directly and indirectly. From a rather direct perspective, they see so much death, destruction, bullying and intimidation through news and media reports. A lot of this news can normalise such events and behaviours. This may cause some young men to think that it is normal to display such traits themselves or downplay the seriousness of certain actions. This can also cause them to deflect responsibility for their actions or assign blame for their actions to those of others around them.
Indirect consequences can be shown by feelings of helplessness and anxiety. As the news reaches so many people on a 24/7 basis, we can be bombarded with bad news that is occurring throughout the world. Many young men are not experienced or “worldly” enough to be able to filter these events with knowledge of current affairs or even simple geography. Therefore, many events that are overseas and quite distant in geography and political terms may seem more eminent to them. The reactions of many young Australians to 9/11 was an example of this. A sense of helplessness can also lead young men to consider that things are not worth committing to because they will end in disaster.
Sometimes, milestones such as Armistice Day are worthwhile times to spend some time talking to young people to gauge what they think of the past, present and future and what fears they have for their own future. It might be a surprising conversation. One of the privileges that I have is that I regularly see our younger generations displaying far more accepting, loving and tolerant relationships with others than in my generation. They have grown in a world that knows so much more about other cultures and countries than I was able to know and are a good deal more inclusive in their thinking and actions than my generation at their age. It is for this reason that I still have hope for the world into the future. This might be one of those cases when our children can teach the adults something.
Our Year 12 student Graduation Mass and Dinner took place last night. Once again, it was a most enjoyable evening and great to share it with all the parents. In some cases, it is the last occasion that parents will also be attached to our community. In my address during the evening, I took time to particularly thank them for their involvement and support for the school throughout their time with us. I would like to particularly thank Mr Tim Kenny and Mrs Helen Righetti for their organisation of the Mass and Mrs Sandra Fowlie and Mr Darren Kearney in organising and facilitating the Graduation Dinner. Mrs Jackie Upton also did a significant amount of work in preparing the PowerPoints and Senior farewell presentations and our Property and Maintenance Team led by Mr Darren Wells did a great job in setting up the rooms for the celebrations. The evening concluded with presentation of SPC Old Boy caps from members of the SPC Old Boys Association and the students leaving through a guard of honour made up of the parents.
Exam time starts in earnest for the rest of the school next week. As I mentioned in last week’s article, it is so very important that each young man does his best to be well prepared for the assessment.
During this week, our College Master Planning Committee met to discuss our future plans for the College campus areas. Our planning will incorporate short-term to long-term planning and some actions will start in 2018. We also have a staff team working together to review our current learning spaces within the College. This team is set up to work on this project throughout 2018 and some trial rooms will be set up during next year. Our learning spaces do not just include classrooms but also possible break-out and interactive spaces around the College campus. I have been energised by the initial discussions from this committee.
Over the final weeks, our College Foundation Board and College Board have also held their end of year dinners. This is an opportunity for the College Leadership Team to thank them for their support, assistance and advice. We are also considering our succession planning for members into the future regarding both these boards. Correspondence will be sent to all parents next week about this and I would encourage any parents/caregivers who are interested in joining one of these boards to attend our information evening to be held early next year.
Next week, we will also welcome the parents of our Year 5 and 6 students to the College for an end of year liturgy. I look forward to catching up with many families and hearing how the year panned out regarding the hopes and dreams from January.
I would like to thank the families who contacted Stacey Bishop last week advising that they would be leaving our community next year. It is important to us that we have updated records of families leaving the College so that we can offer these positions to families wishing to enrol their son at our school. If you are in this position, please contact Mrs Stacey Bishop as soon as possible.
Live Jesus in our Hearts!