Year 10s off to conquer the world!

Every day this week, groups of our Year 10 boys are getting up early and heading out to the airport to catch flights around the world. The final Victorian crews depart on Friday morning to world class destinations at our door step.

There is that amazing, exciting and nervous ‘buzz’ at the St Andrew’s gates as students load up the buses, take a first group photo, hug families farewell and stop for a few minutes of reflection on what is about to occur.

As the groups depart, Secondary School Chaplain Fr Tony Poole asks each boy and staff member to place their hands in a bowl of Brighton beach sand, to feel the gritty, salty texture which is reminiscent of Tonner Spirit and the feel of our Bayside home. He encourages the boys to take a moment while away and feel the soils of the lands they will travel through, and remember family and friends back home who are thinking of them and praying for them.

Fr Poole blesses the students and staff and reminds them: We take our culture and we enter the culture of another people and place, we do so with respect and appreciation that we exchange gifts: the gift of life and insight into each other’s hard won sense of being’. 

His blessings for the journeys have included:

Nepal:  Home of Mt Everest and the Buddha.  Nonaligned nation that has cultivated peaceful respect for its neighbours and yet has an honourable military history.  In one sense Nepal is the top of the world: so we go metaphorically from Down Under to the Mountain Top. 

Fiji:  Central Melanesia, possibly the Hub of Oceania.  The product of volcanoes and a proud multi-cultural country still trying to find its way in the 21st century.  Volcanoes speak of turbulence and being thrown into the world as an outpost. The people are grounded in faith and belief in their place in the world. 

New Zealand:  An island nation with an independent recent British history.  The people both European and Maori have a strong sense of mutual respect and affirmation of culture.  Faith is significant for the Maori with a strong sense of gratitude (thankfulness), community arising from tribal history, and the balance and harmony of life. 

Australian National Parks:  Embedded in the tribal lands of the indigenous people whose sense of identity is strong but confused by the different values of the predominant European culture.  Country as opposed to land is a primary source of meaning: who I am is intimately linked to the land.  Spirituality (religion) cannot be separated out, there is no concept of secularity.