Our Shared Journey and Partnership
The learning landscape is one that is ever changing and this brings with it many challenges for our young people. The responsibility of educating our students is a complex one that extends beyond the classroom, College campuses and playgrounds.
Today's young people have to navigate complex pathways through the teenage and adolescent years and this can continue into early adulthood. Recent tragic circumstances surrounding the death of the son of a popular sporting coach is one such example. This tragedy impacted a family beyond comprehension and also touched a community that shared in the life of the young man who sadly died far too young.
Each weekend many of our own students head off to various gatherings to have fun or to celebrate with their friends. But, as we know, there are many pitfalls and potential risks for them to avoid.
How do we as parents and educators address these issues and equip our young people to make wise choices, or help them to develop safe strategies when faced with high risk scenarios?
At a recent evening hosted by the Senior School and made available to our families, I was grateful to have the opportunity to hear the thought provoking and informative presentation by Sonya Karras. In a practical and entertaining session those in attendance left with gems of knowledge and appropriate strategies to get alongside their children during this time of growth, in a modern and complex world.
Cyber Safety Night
Of equal importance and complexity was the evening held at the Middle School at Highton to allow those present to learn about the many risks and potentially dangerous situations young people find themselves exposed to online.
The gathering heard of real life situations and explanations of the risks today's young people are taking from Victoria Police Sergeant Robbie Noggler. We learned about the serious problem of online predators, aspects of cyber bullying, new laws protecting victims as well as the damaging impact that some online activities can have into the future for those who conduct themselves irresponsibly in the cyber world.
Whilst I understand how busy families can be, I was disappointed to see only a small number of parents make an effort to attend these important sessions. Our College is dedicated to providing opportunities for our community in support of each other in the challenging task of raising our young people. We are reviewing our approach to providing these opportunities and how we can best share this information with families. I encourage you, in the future, to read the material distributed and to participate in such vital information sessions.
Over recent weeks each of the campuses have celebrated Book Week with a variety of activities. Each year the focus on Book Week creates an opportunity to further encourage students to read and promote the joy that comes from interacting with books.
During one of the Book Week activities I was saddened to hear some of our younger students say that their parents don't have time to listen to them read or to read to them at home. I have fond memories of choosing a book for my mum or dad to read to me as a child, and I certainly cherished having the privilege to read to, and with my own children. In fact one of the things I still love about books is when my wife reads to me, especially on long road trips.
Teaching a child to read and helping them to discover the joy of reading is a precious gift. In fact it is well understood that this 'IS' the gift that keeps on giving.
I understand that the demands on parents are many and we strive to give our children as many opportunities as possible. Parents have to find time for sporting commitments, music lessons, swimming lessons, birthday parties and all the other demands on families. But my genuine encouragement to parents is to find time to sit with a book (we have libraries filled with these to share with you) and read aloud to, and with your children.
Our community benefits from a close relationship between the College and our families. I recently had a conversation with a colleague at a school where this is not the case. He shared the difficulties that occur when the expectations of the school and the staff are not supported by the families and the flow- on effect that this has on the students and the culture of the school. This creates a community that experiences disharmony, low student and staff morale and a school tone based on negativity.
We are blessed to belong to an incredible community. Our College is a place of harmony, respect, cooperation and our students benefit greatly from the positive tone and atmosphere found at each of our campuses.
It is common for new students and staff who start at Christian College to express the difference they encounter in their experience having joined our community. I have recently received a number of positive letters, emails and cards expressing appreciation for the care and educational opportunities our College provides. This is something those of us that have been involved at Christian College for some time, tend to take for granted.
We are aware that we do not always get things right (there is no school that is perfect); however it is my passion to continue to strive to see our community flourish and grow in order to provide the best possible care, culture for learning and opportunities for our students.
I thank you all for contributing to an education for our students, that is well worth having.