Being a part of a community is being a part of something bigger than yourself. It does involve making sacrifices, it involves abiding by the social norms and rules of the community and it does create a sense of belonging.
Feeling as though you belong is essential for humans, as many of us would remember from learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
Belongingness is one of our key psychological needs and the more we feel we belong, the higher our level esteem and self-actualisation. Of course, within the Westminster community, as a student, parent, staff member, Old Scholar or friend, we try to promote a sense of belonging by providing opportunities to be involved at School and beyond. Our co-curricular activities, community groups and Old Scholars’ Association and affiliated sporting and activity clubs, naturally develop this sense of belongingness. We just have to find the time to be involved. Once the time has been made, the sensation of being part of something bigger than yourself makes your effort both enjoyable and rewarding.
The more people from our community we have prepared to demonstrate their belonging through service and servant leadership, the stronger we can become. It just takes a little effort to find the time or overcome a degree of inertia, particularly in this year we are experiencing when so many activities, meeting and events have had to be postponed or cancelled.
Two weeks ago, we celebrated the ‘retirement’ of our longest-serving volunteer, Nita Doddridge, who has played an active role at the School since the first year of the School in 1961. Nita broke new ground as a Member of Council, the Foundation, and various clubs and committees now under the auspices of the Friends of Westminster. In response to receiving a prestigious Westminster Honour Award on Wednesday 12 August 2020 for her extraordinary community service, all Nita humbly asked for is that people smile and say hello to her and each other when in the School grounds. Speaking to many members of our community it is clear that some of the best friendships within their lifetime have been or will be forged through the Westminster community.
Just last week our open football squads trained with our Old Scholars at Glandore and shared a meal to build this valued sense of community. A similar sense of community is also shown through our Westminster Old Scholars’ Association and the affiliated Old Scholars’ Soccer Club and Outdoor Group, which are open not to just Old Scholars, but friends and family who share similar values. These clubs, of course, can grow in breadth within our community, and, using my own interests as an example, I would welcome a community motorbike group, a camping group and cruising boat group to be open to our greater community!
As for now, there are great opportunities to be involved in Westminster and I do hope that as a community we can rally together, as so many have before us, to strengthen and ignite our community groups, particularly in the face of the adversity COVID-19 has presented to us.
Our community peak body, the Friends of Westminster, is holding its AGM at 7.00 pm on Monday 14 September, planned to be held in the new Inquiry and Innovation Hub and incorporating a tour of this fantastic new facility. It is an open ‘COVID-compliant’ invitation to attend and we invite you to register your interest in attending by contacting our Community and Communications Manager, Peter Trenorden (’77), via Email.
Like so many others in our community, Peter has had a lifetime association with the School and would be delighted to help direct you should you follow this call to action, step forward and be a part of something bigger than yourself and belong.
Over the coming weeks, we have some milestone community events planned for which we will share additional information closer to each date, taking into account the prevailing healthy guidelines and directives at the time. For now, we’ll let our optimism rule and hope that we are able to showcase and celebrate our major advancements as a School and community with these significant dates in mind:
Wednesday 16 September – Student Opening of the Inquiry and Innovation Hub
Monday 12 October (afternoon) – Boarder Parents’ Tour of the Sports Pavilion and Inquiry and Innovation Hub
Wednesday 14 October - Westminster Open Day for prospective families with later afternoon tours of the Inquiry and innovation Hub and Sports Pavilion planned for our current families
Sunday 18 October – Official Opening of the Sports Pavilion (School community afternoon)
Week commencing Monday 16 November – we are planning for the official opening of the Inquiry and Innovation Hub to take place in this week (date to be confirmed); Speech Day will be on Thursday 19 November, which we anticipate will be a different event this year in line with health guidelines.
In addition, we will be offering regular tours for our current families and members of our community of the Inquiry and Innovation Hub and Sports Pavilion closer to their official openings – more information on how to book for these tours and those on Open Day will be released soon.