A word from the Headmaster, Ross Featherston
The 3 Rs: reconciliation, research and results
At last week’s Middle and Senior School Chapel Services, I spoke about National Reconciliation Week (NRW), which starts tomorrow, Friday May 27. I highlighted how we already engage with issues around reconciliation: our Year 6 Milikapiti exchange program (8 boys have just departed); the Year 9 Sea Change visits (22 boys are currently in Kowanyama and Pormpuraaw); various classroom-based curriculum activities; and our relationship with the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS).
I challenged the Middle and Senior School boys to raise their understanding of issues that Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island peoples face: this should be their minimum commitment in this important aspect of our nation’s story. The NRW website will help you initiate some important conversations at home, particularly during Reconciliation Week.
There were plenty of important conversations going on last Saturday, as BGS hosted the 2016 researchEd Conference. To have national and international thought-leaders at BGS, including 17 of our own staff, is another indicator of our commitment to making evidence-informed decisions regarding educating our boys.
This commitment to education excellence is seen right through the School, as evidenced by our Peter Toms Early Learning Centre (ELC). The Department of Education and Training recently assessed our ELC against seven National Quality Standards and we exceeded expectations on all seven Standards – the highest result possible. This reinforces the fact that our ELC is a tremendous place for learning, development and fun for our youngest BGS boys.
From the Head of Middle School, Jeremy Martin
It was a privilege to attend a performance of the Senior School musical production of Copacabana last week. The show was highly entertaining and the talent, courage and commitment to the performance shone through. The experience itself, along with the conversations I had after the performance, highlighted two important things.
Firstly, it was so gratifying to see boys in the audience that were thoroughly enjoying seeing their mates on stage. They were actively supporting their peers, and for me it was a reminder of the importance of recognising, appreciating and supporting all boys in our community, no matter what their passion or endeavours may be.
Secondly, in speaking to staff, there were clearly some boys in the cast whose character and confidence had developed tremendously since leaving the Middle School three or four years ago. A willingness to try new things and build confidence takes time to develop. The journey for some takes longer than others, but they will get there. As parents, sometimes we need to have faith and ‘hang in there’.
From the Head of House, Peter Fury
The meaning of life
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Picasso
The meaning of life sounds a bit heavy, but recently in our Year 8 PROSPER classes we have been exploring the idea of positive purpose in our lives. While most of them will not have their life’s journey fully mapped out just yet, it is important for them to begin to acknowledge and share their particular gifts for the benefit of the communities in which they operate. The notion of serving something greater than oneself and deliberately engaging in activities that benefit others is a goal that we should all be feeding.
At home, at school and socially, the boys need to cultivate an attitude that considers more than just themselves, but acknowledges how they are contributing, connecting and supporting those in the various concentric circles of their individual networks. More than this, positive purpose generates meaning in our lives, which in turn has significant impact on our emotional health.
That doyen of positive psychology, Martin Seligman notes that “just as the good life is something beyond the pleasant life, the meaningful life is beyond the good life.”
The boys have explored what they consider to be the important priorities in their lives, what it means to be altruistic, and understanding themselves and how they impact on others. They have also been challenged to commit random acts of kindness (RAKs) as a pathway to a more meaningful, considered and altruistic existence.
One explicit example that was used to explore altruism was the Orange Sky Laundry initiative. This extraordinarily selfless idea, generated by two 22-year-olds, provides a free laundry service for the homeless. A simple concept that was thought impractical now cleanses more than just clothes, but also does miracles for the self-esteem of society’s most marginalised, and provides a gathering point for counsel and reconnection.
We may not all have the capacity or commitment to an initiative like Orange Sky, but we can certainly make a difference and add greater meaning to our lives, through small, selfless actions that benefit others. Perhaps you can encourage the boys to perpetrate some RAKs at home!
Crowther House chose the theme of ‘courage’ for their presentation in Chapel this week.
Craig Marais began by simply asking what we mean by courage. Is courage just taking risks? Is it something we all have, or do we acquire it?
Dan Carta (Year 11) spoke from his experience of swimming the English Channel last year. This was not a spur of the moment decision or action. It took more than two years of planning and demanding physical and mental preparation. Dan suggested that it took courage to do the preparation, more so than facing his fears of jellyfish.
At the same time, Dan stressed that whatever courage he had personally, what he achieved was also due to the support of family, friends and the team who stood by him.
Charlie Durkin took courage to a new level by asking the staff to volunteer to sing the Courage Song; to the amusement of the assembled students.
The first verse says:
I stand up for what I believe is right.
I’m not afraid what others might think.
I’m so happy being who I am.
In practice, this was an example of the courage to make a fool of oneself. This courage is also about striving for what is right and knowing “who I am”.
As parents and teachers do we not seek to promote this courage in our children and students: a sense of what is right and the confidence of knowing “who I am”.
Peace and blessings to all.
Fr Tony Poole
The BGS sport fixtures, reports and teams can be found on the Sports Page of the BGS website.
Middle School notices
Monash University Challenge 2016
Monash University is running a 3-day holiday program from June 27 to 29 at the Clayton campus for 12 to 14-year-olds. Hands on workshops are conducted in the areas of Electrical/Computer, Civil, Chemical/Environmental, Mining, Mechanical/Aerospace and Materials Science Engineering.
More information can be found on the Monash website. Please let your science teacher know how you go if you can make it.
Creative Design and Technology – donations needed
Throughout Semester 2 the Year 8 boys will be undertaking a sculpture project that makes use of shoes that are no longer worn. If you have any old shoes that would otherwise be donated or thrown away we would really appreciate them.
We are also in need of magazines. At this stage we are running very low on magazines such as Vogue, Woman’s Day, Women’s Weekly, New Idea and any other fashion or design magazines.
Please contact me if you have any questions firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head of Creative Design and Technology
Don’t miss our next Year 8 Father & Son social
On Sunday 5 June at 3.45pm, we have organised a ‘Splat for Will’ Father & Son Splatball afternoon at World Series Splatball in Oakleigh. As well as having an absolute ball with their dads/guardians and peers, the boys will also be raising funds for Will Murray.
Bookings ($40pp) are essential via Trybooking (no admission on the day). Places are strictly limited – book today to avoid missing out.
Please refer to the invitation emailed to all families for specific details. Reminder that indemnity forms also emailed to you for your completion must be brought with you on the day.
Year 8 parent social events: save the dates
Father and son splatball
Sunday 5 June – Oakleigh – 3.45pm – Bookings essential
Year 8 combined BGS/Firbank drinks
Thursday 11 August – Half Moon (Church St, Brighton) – 7.30pm. Booking details to come.
Parents coffee morning
Wednesday 31 August – Tom Wilson Café (Wilson St, Brighton) – no need to book, just turn up from 8.30am onwards
Portsea father and son getaway
Friday 9 September 6pm – Saturday 10 September 5pm
Details and bookings will be provided via school communication during the first week of Term 3.
Sunday 11 September. Be part of the incredible BGS community, supporting the RCD Foundation. Reserve your place now at www.connorsrun.com.
Middle School dates for the diary
Monday 30 May
Visible Learning information night for parents 7pm-8pm – Robertson Sanderson
Monday 13 June
Queens Birthday Public Holiday
Tuesday 14 June
Reporting Day – Student Free Day
Wednesday 15 June
Piano Students’ Soiree – Senior Rehearsal Studio
Friday 17 June
Last day of term 2
Wednesday 13 July
Term 3 commences
Blazer size 83Y
Long grey pants size 12
Quilted, zipped hoodie, grey/blue check size XL