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

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Senior School - Edition 12 - 2020

Charles Hargrave Student Enterprise Awards

Due to the generosity of the late Charles Hargrave, Year 10 and 11 students have had the opportunity each year to apply for funding to pursue a passion which they have. Mr Hargrave, who died in 2013, believed very strongly in giving young people the freedom to explore and develop a wide range of interests in life. Since 2009, these unique Awards have funded many diverse projects including sheep shearing courses, providing advanced musical composition software, and developing cricket umpiring skills. There is around $8,000 available to students each year. The process requires students to make an application to the School Foundation detailing their passion and if successful what the money would be used for. A shortlist is finalised, and those students are then interviewed by representatives from the teaching staff, the Westminster Foundation and a member of Mr Hargraves' family.

Each year I am impressed by the activities that students are involved in and the quality of the applications. Each year I hear from the interview panel how impressed they are by the maturity and passion which is shown by the students and that it is difficult to finalise the list of successful applicants.

I encourage students to ensure they are prepared and start working on their application now to ensure they do not miss the deadline. More information can be found via the Charles Hargrave Student Enterprise Awards portal page in SEQTA.


As the Year 12 cohort begin the final phase of their studies, involving the completion of major assignments and preparation for the SACE Exams, I urge all the students to access help and support when they are feeling that they are not coping with the tasks that lay ahead. With only seven school weeks left before the final day for Year 12, it can seem as if there is not enough time to complete all the requirements but experience suggests that if the time is used wisely significant progress can be made during this time. I encourage the students to listen and follow the directions of their teachers who have been through the Year 12 process many times and understand what is achievable providing you have your priorities in the correct order. Sacrifices need to be made to ensure you achieve the best possible results you can while still maintaining a healthy balance. I would also add that establishing regular sleep patterns which allow you to obtain adequate sleep is also very important in keeping a positive frame of mind.

I came across the following advice to young people about coping with stress when visiting the ReachOut website. Below is an extract from the article:

Positive coping strategies can help with:

  • Temporary stress relief
  • Long term stress relief
  • Tackling challenges
  • Increasing confidence
  • Increasing motivation

Why positive coping strategies are useful

Positive coping strategies are any actions you take to manage and reduce stress in your life, in a way that isn’t going to be harmful or detrimental in the long term. People who use positive strategies are not only better able to tackle challenges and bounce back from tough times, but they are also much happier.

Finding the right coping strategies

Pretty much any coping strategy which isn’t going to be harmful or ineffective in the long term is worth a try. However, you will probably find that some strategies work better for you than others in terms of how well they reduce stress and help you manage. It’s also worth noting that some strategies will work better or worse depending on the particular event/situation.

A mega list of coping strategies:

  • Turn to someone you trust. It can be a relief to share your thoughts with someone else, and it can be good to work through problems with the help of another person.
  • Write it all down. Keeping a notebook handy for you to scribble your thoughts in whenever you feel like it can be a great way of expressing yourself. You may find it helpful to write about what is worrying you or express yourself in a more creative way.
  • Set aside regular time for yourself. Even if it’s just ten minutes of ‘you’ time, taking some space for yourself where you turn off your phone, spend time alone, exercise, meditate, or listen to music can really prepare you for tackling stress or challenges.
  • Walk away. Work out which situations you are likely to get most stressed out by. If you feel like you’re getting too angry, end the conversation, take some space, and don’t resume talking until you are calm and ready.
  • Overcome negative patterns of thinking through self-talk. Self-talk can help you see things from a more positive perspective and give a huge boost to your confidence.
  • Reduce your load. Sometimes you just have to accept that you can’t do everything. Keep track of your schedule and how you feel each day, and working out your optimal level of activity. You should be busy, entertained, and challenged, without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Consider the big picture. When you’re going through a stressful situation, ask yourself these two questions. ‘How important is this?’ and ‘will it matter in the long run?’. If you realise it doesn’t, it’s probably not worth getting too stressed out by.
  • Learn to forgive. Move on from hurt, regret and anger. Whether you are angry at yourself or someone else, it doesn’t help you to hold on to negative feelings like resentment.
  • Hone your communication skills. If you know how to communicate a problem well, it will help prevent conflict from escalating, and could help solve the cause of the stress in the first place.
  • Build your optimism. Optimism involves learning to think positively about the future - even when things go wrong. That’s not to say you pretend that everything is fine when it isn’t. Instead, it’s about looking objectively at a situation, making a conscious decision to focus on the good. It can be hard to do, but if you practice, you’re likely to get better.
  • Learn how to set goals.
  • Relax, man. Relaxation is a great way to refocus your thoughts, particularly when things are becoming a bit overwhelming.
  • Build your gratitude. Take some of your focus away from the negative things, and take five minutes each day to identify three things which you are thankful about.

I would recommend both students and parents to visit ReachOut.com Australia to access other useful information and advice.

Again, I encourage all students to communicate with their families, and staff at school when they are not feeling all that positive. House Heads, our Head of Senior Students, the Wellbeing Team or other staff with whom you have a positive relationship will offer support, advice and encouragement.

David Wallage
Head of Senior School