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Field of Dreams

On Saturday, I continued my regular term time ritual. For the last 38 years, I have ventured out on a Saturday morning to engage in watching students’ dreams come alive on a sporting field. Sporting fields are wonderful classrooms for life. Learning about ourselves is our greatest challenge and potentially the source of some of our greatest rewards.

Learning to deal with the disappointment of defeat often gives more than the taste of victory. Lessons learnt in sport mean nothing if we can’t transfer them to our lives. The reality is that sport is just a game but like so many things we do in life like music and our hobbies, it is a vehicle through which life is played out on a smaller scale. Often what we learn in these instances gives us the chance to learn something that will help us on the bigger stage of real life.

Sharni kicks during the Grand Final against the Crows.

I would like to briefly share three quick ‘sporting lessons’ that came across my ‘desk’ over the weekend. Like many of our ATC community I watched the AFLW Grand Final on Saturday afternoon. The added attraction for this historic first ever women’s Grand Final no doubt was having our own Sharni Webb playing. Riding every bump, kick and tackle, it was a great game minus one thing, a result in favour of the Lions at the end. Having navigated the season undefeated and riding a wave of excitement this result was at the opposite end of what everyone had hoped for. In the end the reality of doing your best, being a player on the biggest stage and learning that dreams can be realised will walk with the Lions players after the pain of disappointment slowly abates. The other reality is that life always goes on, often unchanged, even when we feel that the bitter taste of defeat.

This same theme was echoed in an article I read in one of the weekend papers. It was a thought provoking article about how the Campbell sisters, Cate and Bronte, dealt with the disappointment of their performances at the Rio Olympics. Going in as favourites they walked away not quite living up to these expectations. Often it is those around us that hold the key to what happens after disappointment hits us. Cate articulated this later after attending a welcome back parade, “For people to still be supporting me when I hadn’t won was a very humbling experience, and something I wouldn’t have noticed if I’d come back with another gold medal around my neck.” For the first few months, she didn’t want to talk about Rio, and her friends and family didn’t force it. They loved her, victory or not, and being reminded of that began her healing process. But for Cate, Rio has overwhelmingly been a lesson in the value of failure. “Everything I was terrified of happening happened,” she says. “The thing about life is it goes on; you can either be a participant or a casualty. I refuse to be a casualty of that first 11 seconds (of the race), I refuse to let it define me.”

As if to ensure I heard this message I saw a Facebook feed come across my account. I certainly don’t read every feed that I see, as a matter of fact I rarely read a feed. Somehow this one was a little different. This feed was an excerpt from an American basketball coach around importance of attitude in his team. This short clip spoke to me about how through sport and activities we can help our students understand how our attitude can define us. If you had a few minutes I would encourage you to watch this video:

As parents and teachers, we know that we often hold the key to what young people can learn. How we react before, during and after a ‘sporting’ moment will shape how they see and learn from these occasions. Our job is to try and get the values that we want our children to learn straight in our minds right first. We need to get this straight in our minds before, during and after these events as well.

Easter

The origins of ‘holidays’ comes from the notion of ‘holy days’, and that for many people, the upcoming Easter weekend will become an opportunity for a break, often involving taking to the roads or skies. For many of those who do not associate Easter with a holy day, I suspect it has become an annual flight or escape from everyday life. For Christian believers, however, whether spent at home or elsewhere, Easter is the great flight to reality – the reality that Christ is risen and that those who are in Christ have risen with Him. In so many ways, it is the pivotal holy day of the year.
Easter is precious and foundational not just as the remembrance of a past event, but also as the celebration of our death and subsequent rebirth through the waters of baptism. The everyday reality of the life that we live in Christ is a transformed and transcendent life – not a life insulated from drudgery, pain and mortality but a life lived beyond the captivity of our fears and frailty. Today, as we have become increasingly aware, the convictions of Christians are publicly challenged and this may be especially so at Easter. Nevertheless, indeed more so than ever, it is a time to recall and realise that ‘Christ is Risen, and those who are in Christ have risen with him!’

Pope Francis, in one of his earlier Easter messages, communicated clearly a central theme for Catholics which we should all remind ourselves of as Easter approaches: “This is the culmination of the Gospel, it is the Good News par excellence: Jesus, who was crucified, is risen! This event is the basis of our faith and our hope. If Christ were not raised, Christianity would lose its very meaning; the whole mission of the Church would lose its impulse, for this is the point from which it first set out and continues to set out ever anew… In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death.”
“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.” S.D. Gordon

End of Term

As the Term 1 draws to a close, I would hope that all of our new students across all our year levels feel very much a part of the fabric of the College. Our observations are that they are well settled and know the routine of ATC life and most would feel that they have made new friends and feel comfortable in the community. I hope that the upcoming break is restful for both students and staff, because the reality we face is that the next term is going to be just as busy and there will be many opportunities for students to be challenged and engaged next term. To all our parents I hope there is some respite from the taxiing around and the extended quality time in the upcoming holidays you get with your sons, is interlaced with some restful moments.

End of Term reports

The end of term 1 reports will be available to all families at the end of this week through SEQTA. The indications from the reports are that the majority of the students have settled well into their new classes this year and that they are making pleasing progress in their academic pursuits. I would remind parents that this first report is a snapshot of the start of the year and in particular how your son has begun the year. These reports serve to give you an insight into their application to their work and whether they are meeting general curriculum expectations. Given the short time frame, these are not definitive reports that are based on a range of tests rather they are largely an intuitive feel for how the students are coping with their work and their relationships within the classroom. There will be an opportunity for families to engage with teachers in the second week of term 2 when we hold parent teacher interviews. The online bookings for these meetings will open at 5 pm on Monday 17 April 2017.

Staffing Changes

The end of term will realise a change on the staffing front. Darren Cullen one of our Junior School teachers will be taking nine months leave from the College. Darren and his wife Kate recently welcomed their son Noah into the world and Darren will be taking the opportunity to share some quality time with Noah. Darren’s role as a Junior School Health and PE teacher will be filled by Kristy Reynoldson and Kieran Moffat.

With best wishes
Michael Senior