A word from the Headmaster, Ross Featherston
The Wellbeing Centre, Young Warriors and a good night’s sleep
Last night was a real thrill – we officially and formally opened the new Wellbeing Centre. It was a privilege to have The Honourable Jeff Kennett AC (founding Chairman of beyondblue) open the Centre, and to hear Jeff talk about the critical nature of male mental health. It was also interesting to hear his views regarding the primary and foundation role parents play in their children’s wellbeing. Early next year we will stage an informal open evening so all within the broader BGS community can come and see the Wellbeing Centre. I’d like to take this opportunity to particularly thank Kay Rogers, Director of Wellbeing, for all the work she has done to make wellbeing such an important part of the BGS offering.
It was also great to see tents on the Crowther Oval last Friday night as Dr Arne Rubinstein and his team (along with BGS Junior School and Outdoor Education staff) hosted BGS’s first Young Warriors Camp. The Year 4 boys and parents spent a night together working with Dr Arne on positive relationships, growing up as a young man, and the importance of having open conversations.
Finally, I read with interest a report on wellbeing and sleep, which investigated the impact using mobile devices near bedtime (and having them in a bedroom) can have on children’s sleep. BGS’s Understanding Boys blog has covered the topic here. I consider it a must read.
From the Head of Middle School, Jeremy Martin
This time next week, Middle School boys will have completed their first day of our two-day examination period. While some anxiety related to exam performance is to be expected, there are a number of simple messages that have been reinforced with boys in the lead-up to the exams.
Firstly, exams results are a good way to track students’ effort and progress, but examination results are just one of a multitude of assessments conducted throughout the semester that reflect this. Secondly, exams in the Middle School are a wonderful preparation tool for the more rigorous exams boys will inevitably face in Senior School and beyond. And finally, our boys are always encouraged to do their best, and be prepared to hear and see ways in which they can grow and develop – the exam return day provides boys with this opportunity.
We are moving swiftly towards the end of the year and transition (to a new year level or to the Senior School) is within sight. I encourage the boys to maximise the remaining opportunities they have with their teachers, House tutors and Head of House, who have guided them for nearly a year now. Boys should maintain the momentum and motivation until the end of the year by seeking feedback from staff and taking this into consideration as they finish off the final weeks of the school year and prepare to make the step into the 2017 academic year.
Teaching and learning
Early teenage years to healthy men
The early teenage years in your boys’ life are crucial to their development into healthy men. And as parents, teachers and adult mentors to the BGS community of boys we all play a part in guiding them through this journey.
Having had the privilege of attending the Year 8 Father Son Getaway and the Mother Son Lunch with Dr Arne Rubinstein this year, here are some of my key take-aways for what our boys need on their journey from boy to man:
- Boys love hearing your stories. Witnessing the undivided attention boys give when listening to stories from mums and dads at the aforementioned events was astounding. As a classroom teacher, I crave that level of focus from the boys! As human beings, we love stories and have for many centuries. Stories are real and sharing yours with your boys is a crucial way for them to understand who you are, which in turn is a crucial part in your boy’s understanding of himself.
- Boys want to be heard. They don’t want to be lectured. They need to be able to talk about how they feel without someone telling them that they need to be fixed. They need family and friends to listen, ask more, and send them the message that everything that is going on for them is valid. If your boy gets a mark on a test that he is unhappy with, enquire as to how that made him feel and help him to find a solution. Jumping in with a solution for him sends him the message that there is something wrong in him that needs fixing. If he is upset, allow him to feel upset and encourage him to explore what that feels like. Then, if action needs to be taken to rectify the situation help him work this out.
- Boys need to be honoured for the unique gifts and talents that they bring to the world. Through their journey into manhood they will receive enough messages about what these aren’t. They will struggle in some area or another so take every opportunity to remind your boys of what makes them amazing. If they do well on a test, avoid praising the grade and focus on how hard they studied, how focused they must have been in class, or their level of passion for the subject.
- Spend quality time with your boy. Put away your phone and any other distractions and spend time together doing things that you both like to do, or at least things that he likes to do. Time spent together fosters connection and a deeper bond. As Robert Bly says in Iron John “When father and son do spend long hours together… we could say that a substance almost like food passes from the older body to the younger”. This is equally relevant for time spent between mother and son.
It is the quality of relationships that a boy has with the adults around him, which will be a big determinant of how he feels about himself. I’m sure all those who attended the events run by Dr Arne Rubinstein this year have taken away a deepened relationship with their son. I hope this work continues to strengthen relationships between parents and sons so that our boys can thrive on their journey to manhood.
Programs and activities
BGS qualifies for F1 in Schools National Championships
BGS entered three teams of Year 8 boys in the Development Class at the F1 in Schools State Championships this week. F1 in Schools is the largest STEM competition in the world for school students and culminates in a World Championship held each September. The Victoria State Finals were held in the state of the art facilities at Engineers Australia offices in Bourke Street in the CBD and this was our second time in the competition, having first entered in 2015. The competition ran over three consecutive days and saw each team set up display booths and present their folio of work. Their F1 cars were scrutinised and then raced in a series of events to test performance and reaction times.
The journey for the boys started with initial research back in March at the Melbourne Grand Prix and has been worked on at school during lunchtime sessions along with a large proportion of work completed outside of school. Each of the three groups comprised of five boys who individually filled a specialised role within their prospective teams. There were Team Managers, Marketing Executives, Design Engineers and Sponsorship Managers to name a few. The boys formed their own F1 teams and then had to secure sponsors, design cars using industry standard Autodesk CAD software, create branding including logos and uniforms, build websites, complete comprehensive engineering reports, produce a detailed 12-page portfolio, 3D print and mill their own cars before painting and testing.
- Billy Pearson, Harrison Kirkham, Liam Konidaris, Alan Gennissen, and Andrew Wang of Apex Predator Racing finished in 3rd place and won the Best Team Portfolio, Best Team Marketing, Best Managed Enterprise, Best Graphic Design and also qualified for the National Finals to be held in Adelaide in February 2017.
- DACCS Racing made up by Thomas Draheim, Lachie Cardell, Maxim Christodoulou, Jaikob Akinci and Julian Svensen won the speed challenge securing the fastest time in the development class and also finished 2nd in the knockout racing.
- Mitz Metaxas, Reuben Cook, Oliver Cruse, Oscar Zhu and Carl Rumbens of Aftershock competed well also to finish in the top six and received excellent feedback on their car design, marketing and verbal presentations throughout the competition.
All three teams were impeccable in the way they conducted themselves throughout and were great ambassadors for BGS. It was also fantastic to see many of their parents their cheering them on throughout the three days. Their performance was amazing given that they had all recently completed their own iDesign projects and the boys all really stepped up and went above and beyond in their pursuit of excellence.
Jamie Watson and Chris Tze
BGS bus services 2017
The School provides two bus services for the use of students. Please click here to view a letter that outlines the BGS bus services for 2017, including fare information, routes and bus stops, and a bus service request form.
This week the Year 8 Chapel Servers handed over the task to a group of Year 7 students.
Each new Chapel Server affirmed that they were willing to take on this task and then made the following promise:
“I do promise as a Middle School Chapel Server to do my best to attend to and support the conduct of Chapel services and the worship life of the Middle School Community, for the honour of God and the wellbeing of all.”
To be a Chapel Server, students do not have to be baptised, although that would be desirable. A Chapel Server is someone who is willing to try something different and maybe new.
It takes courage and application to speak in public and to do it well. Chapel is a place where the boys can get help to extend their skills and abilities.
Thank you to the Year 8 students for their efforts to assist with Chapel. Congratulations to those who have taken on this task. Chapel reminds us that when faced with a challenge we can ask for help, and God promises to provide help when it is asked for and needed.
The problem for most of us is to recognise and welcome help when it comes to us.
Fr Tony Poole
Parenting tip: how to encourage kids to be problem solvers
When parents solve all children’s problems we not only increase their dependency on adults but we teach kids to be afraid of making mistakes and to blame themselves for not being good enough. Continually solving our children’s problems can be counterproductive in reducing their anxious or depressive thoughts. Please click here to read this week’s parenting tips on how to encourage your child to be a problem solver.
Middle School notices
BGSPG AGM and Christmas dinner
The BGS Parents Group AGM will be held on Monday 28 November from 7pm in the Hay Lecture Theatre. All executive-level positions are open for self nomination. The meeting will be followed by a Christmas dinner at White Rabbit from 8pm.
If you wish to join us for the annual Christmas dinner, please RSVP by Friday 25 November to Margaret Hamilton: email@example.com or 0417 838 007.
Middle School dates for the diary
For updates and events, see School Stream or click here for the online calendar.
- Tracksuit top size 14
- Long sleeved Navy T – “I’m Not Tired” size 10
- Red computer mouse