A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school on Kaurna Country, Adelaide, South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Principal - Edition 13 - 2021

Every year, many of our sporting teams have the opportunity to play in Intercol matches against Pembroke. We are both large, inclusive, coeducational schools with very similar values. Every Intercol is like a grand final for our students, such is the intensity of the matches and the effort put in by all players. This year, it was Westminster’s turn to host the Intercol and it was the first time we were able to use our fantastic new Thomas Pavilion for this iconic sporting event. Many of our teams were able to run out through the players’ race to the applause of those in the stand while students made guards of honour for the players to run through. In all, it was quite a wonderful experience and our teams did extremely well to dominate the competition and retain most of the ‘A Game’ trophies. Generally speaking, the Intercol is a carnival in which our students love to participate, showing their unwavering support for their teammates and School.

As a community, we have experienced a small dose of COVID-induced problems. We considered ourselves fortunate to be in a position to host the Intercol within the prevailing health restrictions. We gathered together for the enjoyment of student sport and teamwork while others gathered around the nation to protest lockdowns. The disparity between these gatherings highlights the importance of continuing to work together as a community to overcome the challenges that COVID-19 has presented us. We must continue to be vigilant and follow the guidelines of SA Health as it tries to ensure our State stays as relatively unimpacted as it is, even if there is a lot of voicing of opinions across the country as to what should be happening.

In this social climate, it seems easy for ‘outrage generators’ to gain traction as they present their views, which can often undermine our capacity to move forward as a society. Unfortunately, some within the media cycle look to encourage outrage as a response from society. Feeding outrage helps media to influence and steer the narrative along a path that fuels an appetite for more outrage or, at the very least, a demand for more information. Then, when we start researching from our own relative position of ‘outrage’, are we able to reasonably discern the accuracy or validity of what we read or hear? Much has been said recently on understanding who or what constitutes an expert or expert opinion within the volumes of articles on COVID-19. With the world online, there is plenty to access but not all commentary is helpful or indeed factual to assist us in making informed decisions for ourselves and our families. Many ‘outrage generators’ use emotive tactics to spin stories that do not necessarily promote a balanced view of the world. Perhaps, as we all move forward, we should strive to question what we read and hear, and look to synthesise information from a variety of credible sources to shape our opinions. Perhaps we should also strive to appropriately show kindness, tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness instead of outrage, and take purposeful action that helps us grow as both a community and a society.

Whatever we choose to do as COVID-19 continues to haunt our lives, let’s celebrate and be grateful for all of the opportunities we have at Westminster as a school and in our community. Let’s be especially appreciative of those who create the many worthwhile opportunities for our students, from families and caregivers through to the staff and Old Scholars of our School. In expressing our opinions of what is happening around us, surely these should be amongst the informed messages we want to share with our children.

Simon Shepherd