Secondary Pastrol

From the Heads of 7-9 and 10-12

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”    
J.R.R. Tolkien – The Fellowship of The Ring

It would be easy, reflecting on the year that has passed, to wish for less obstacles, smoother sailing, and a return to what we used to call ‘normal’. However, as Gandalf astutely points out – that is out of our control. What IS under our control is what we do with the time given us regardless of the circumstances. As the final week of school for 2021 draws to a close, in a whirlwind of award ceremonies, end of year Christmas parties, and farewelling our Year 12 cohort into life beyond the College – it is worth pausing for a moment and reflecting on what we have achieved this year as a Secondary community. The Resilience Project, a program that we will be investing in from 2022 onwards, proposes that people who practice gratitude, empathy, and mindfulness have overall better mental health. With this in mind, the final message from Mrs. Carlson and myself will be framed using these three ideas.

GRATITUDE: Firstly, I am grateful for the students we have in Secondary. Throughout the year they have demonstrated remarkable perseverance, grace, and good humour as they have worked online, sanitised, worn masks, and generally rolled with the constantly changing landscape of school amidst a pandemic. I am also grateful for the wonderful staff we have in the Secondary school, particularly in their roles as tutors. I am grateful for the time and energy our staff have invested into the wellbeing of our students – and have been frequently impressed by the care and investment they have made into the lives of our young people in years 7 to 12. Lastly, I am also grateful for Mrs. Lauren Carlson who has stepped into Mr. Bull’s Head of 7-9 role with enthusiasm during Term 4. It has been wonderful watching her forge relationships with students in these year groups – supporting them and helping them navigate life at the College.

EMPATHY: Reflecting on empathy I want to acknowledge our Senior students in both Years 11 and 12. Whilst all year groups have had events like camps impacted – I can’t help but feel for our senior students whose rites of passage have been changed or cancelled due to ongoing government-imposed restrictions. The HSC itself has been a prickly beast to tame with extended study leave and examinations starting and finishing a full month later than normal. As the year comes to a close, we have been able to celebrate with the inaugural Year 11 Semi-Formal, and we are looking forward with anticipation to Friday’s Valedictory Formal. At the same time, we sympathise with our seniors for the ways in which their senior years have not played out in the way they had probably planned.

MINDFULLNESS: With the festive season stretching out in front of us it is a time for family, friendship, and the proverbial refilling of our tanks. Summer in Newcastle holds much to look forward too and we would be wise to set aside time for the refreshment of our minds and bodies. For me personally, this will include time at the beach with my kids, staying on top of my book club responsibilities, a few nice long bike rides – and lastly taking time to reflect upon why the God of the universe might send his son to earth for us. In the hustle and bustle of Christmas I will be doing my best to remember Jesus – who is at the heart of the Christmas story.

Lastly, finishing the year with another student success, a huge congratulations to Bonnie and Kierra from Year 9 who were awarded FIRST PLACE along with their team at the ‘Cheerbrandz’ Cheer Competition in Sydney on Saturday. The girls competed against teams from all around Australia. Mrs. Carlson had the privilege of watching the girls and reports that their skills are absolutely amazing! Well done girls, we are very proud of you.

Bonnie-1st open level 2

2nd-junior level 4

3rd-junior level 2

Kierra-1st open level 2

2nd-junior level 4

1st- level 6

level 6 grand champs

Have a wonderful Christmas break and we look forward to what 2022 will hold for us here in Secondary!


Mr Cummings and Mrs Carlson

Ms Tania Lloyd

Deputy Principal / Head of Secondary School