Certainly, none of us have been where we have found ourselves before! This week, we have begun the voyage home to ATC. It was fantastic to see the Year 11 and 12 students last Monday. I was very pleased that we had 98% of them in attendance and was thrilled with the calm way in which they connected with one another and the staff.
The College Leadership Team met with our Year 12 students in smaller groups during the week and we shared with them our own version of Star Trek’s call to mission and the plan for the voyage back to ATC. This was best captured by Tom, Mitch and Rory, our College Captains, who added “Push Through, Push On and Push Up” to their Term 1 framework of “Look Good, Feel Good and Do Good”.
An aspect of this was a call to arms to participate in 3000 push ups to promote positive mental health in recognition of the 3000 young people who lost their lives to mental health struggles in Australia last year. I was impressed that our ATC 2020 Seniors were thinking of others at this time and was proud to count out the first 10 push ups the Seniors did. It was better than doing them! I commend Tom, Rory and Mitch on this message and their enthusiasm for leadership, especially at this time. I look forward to their influence in the coming months.
My message to the Seniors matched their own nicely. I drew on the Gospel of Dead Poet’s Society and told the boys that at this time in history, there is no country other than Australia I would rather be in, no state other than Queensland I would rather be in and no school community I would rather be in than ATC and that our mission is to Carpe Diem-Seize the Day! I told the Seniors that I need them to do one thing and asked them to do one thing. What I need them to do is their best. It does not matter what that best looks like as long as it is their best. As always, a great place to start is the simple things – for that we go back to the wisdom of “Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good”. A few more fellows need to get their haircut this weekend, but we are well on the way there. More importantly, Ms Morgan spoke with boys about their studies. It is time to switch on and work hard. They will be supported in this, but we need them to meet us more than halfway and focus on doing their best. She will be in direct contact with parents and caregivers about our plans for the coming weeks. Secondly, I asked the Seniors to be ready to lead on Monday 25 May when our Year 4 to 10 students return to campus. I asked them to be ready with a warm ATC welcome, to model the way, to help everyone feel safe and connected and most importantly, known and valued. I am confident that our Year 12 men will rise to this opportunity.
I have written to the parent and caregiver community today going into some more detail about the return to classes for students in Years 4 to 10, our plans for assisting them in this transition and our hopes for co-curricular activities. In some ways, I suspect this ‘re-entry’ will be bumpier than our take off into ATCLearns@Home. Our younger boys will have been away from the physical classroom for 8 weeks by this time. No doubt, we will return to a working rhythm quickly but adjustments and re-settings for students, parents and staff will be needed and will take time for different age groups and individuals within them. We will work through this together.
Along the way, our friendlier than your average Klingon, Mr Finn, will lead the Formation Team and Homeroom Teachers in the ‘bricks and bouquets’ to which I referred last week. The ‘bricks’ are routines, rules and procedures that help the boys to know where the boundaries are – boys sometimes pretend they don’t like this, but they do. We can all seem like an enemy Klingon from time to time, parent and teacher alike, our partnership in helping the boys to return to routines and our new normal as quickly as possible is so important. The ‘bouquets’ may be found in the warm relationships, friendly banter and kindnesses exchanged between members of our community. This has been so evident this week and it has been a privilege to welcome our Year 11 and 12 young men back to their school.
As we enter the final week of this phase of our journey, I greatly look forward to the return of the rest of the boys to our home planet. We pray that our good fortune, as the ATCommunity, continues as well as the for the wider Brisbane, Queensland, and Australian community. Those of us who are so relatively fortunate, pray for those who are deeply suffering through this time and what may lie ahead whether it be physical, emotional, or financial. May they be held in our God’s loving embrace and supported by those who can, as we do for each other.
I ask the community to please keep the following students in your thoughts and prayers – Jonah Lashbrook (Year 10 Munster 1) following the recent passing of his Grandfather; Sasha Munday (9 Lynch) following the recent passing of his Great Grandmother; Hamish and Oliver McMeniman (9 Bodkin and Wynne) and Will Rutherford (7 Conn) following the recent passing of their Grandfather. We hope that the passage of time will help heal the pain of their passing.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, may perpetual light shine upon them, may they rest in peace. Amen.