It has been a delight to welcome back students this week after the Easter holidays. As I walked through the quadrangle in the morning on the first day of term, I found a Grade 12 student taking a photo of the space.
I asked about what prompted her to take a photo and she commented on the beauty of the space and the old outdoor wooden hand-made furniture which had been carefully restored over the holidays.
It was lovely to speak with a student full of gratitude for the many blessings that it would be easy to take for granted.
This momentary interaction was also a reminder of the digitally immersed world in which we operate, a world in which both the beautiful and the vile can be so easily and quickly captured and broadcast.
Conscious of the challenges for students and parents alike in navigating the ever changing digital terrain, the School welcomed this week Brett Lee from www.internetsafeeducation.com to present a range of age appropriate session.
For parents on Thursday evening Brett had five key messages:
- Communicate with your kids
- Set clear rules and boundaries
- Stay up to date with apps and programmes
- Consider and use parental controls
- Be the one who makes the final decision
On Friday in the quadrangle a BBQ was held for Grade 12 to congratulate them on their achievements during the Walkathon at the end of last term. Many a story of perseverance and camaraderie was shared.
Students have now raised $59,500 for Cancer Council Tasmania and donations are being sought for a silent auction at the cocktail party next weekend.
In light of this, I speculated during assembly this week about how Grade 12 would respond if one family decided to donate a dozen of their best bottles of wine, another family donated half their family farm and yet another family, not to be outdone, donated their child’s services as house help for the duration of their working life.
It was agreed that we would all be outraged by the last of the donations and could not possibly accept it regardless of the price we thought it might attract in the silent auction.
We were collectively outraged because we are hardwired to know that people are priceless and precious.
People are precious regardless of their age, appearance, ability, family connections, gender or nationality.
We know this and yet we sometimes forget it.
Even as adults, if we are honest with ourselves, there are times when we say things, write things or do things that make it clear we have forgotten people are precious.
When we forget, we need each other to stand up and remind us of what we have forgotten because that is what good communities do, that is what good men and women do.
As Term 2 begins, my hope for our School community is that we would all remember people are precious and that each member of our community would know how precious they are.
Each of us have a collective responsibility to make sure all our actions help others to know how much worth and dignity they have. Each of us have a collective responsibility to stand up when we see each other forgetting.
May we also be like the Grade 12 student I encountered on the first day of term and notice the good things which surround us and hold onto them with gratitude.
Let us settle for nothing less this term.