A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Adelaide,
South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Senior School - Edition 12 - 2021

Lessons from Quarantine

This week at Assembly Forder House Captain, Massimo Mammone (Year 12 Forder) spoke to the school about his experiences through COVID. Massimo is a boarder from Gol Gol in New South Wales but the family travel to Mildura in Victoria to operate their hospitality business and schooling for his brothers. Since 2020 Massimo and his family have endured six lockdowns. The other complication for Massimo is that to be here at Westminster he has to navigate his way through the restrictions in three States. Massimo has had to live through four quarantine periods, three in 2020 and one this year. Based on this, one could excuse Massimo for being negative and say life is not fair, however, this is what he said,

“We have been unbelievably lucky and fortunate here in SA, compared to NSW and Victoria, although we did go through a week of lockdown and Stage 4 restrictions, we are still on track to have our Intercol, formal and graduation, we have the freedom to come to school and see and talk each other. So let’s be aware that we aren’t all in the same boat, we are in the same storm, some have yachts, some have canoes and others are drowning, don’t take what we have for granted and help those who you can.”

He then went on to explain his reflections on being in quarantine:

‘In life, we are all given our personal tests and trauma, we will face challenges and adversity, the adversity we face will mould us into the person we become. These challenges are actually opportunities to help grow and develop as a person. Life is unfair and cruel however, it is astonishingly beautiful, and in order to enjoy life, we must take the good with the bad, and we must not let the bad and the ugly sour the person we are, we must accept the good with the bad to overcome our adversity and keep moving forward. We all built our character throughout the lockdown together and it really showed the strong and loving community Westminster is.

Another lesson I have learnt from quarantine is that negativity is born within the mind. I feel this can be better explained through a metaphor.

Weeds don’t have to have any encouragement to grow, you don’t have to water them, they don’t have to get sunshine, they don’t have to have fertile ground, they will grow through the cracks of a sidewalk. But if you want to grow orchids or roses, there are special processes and procedures you must go through and undertake.

Bringing the example into reality, you don’t have to force yourself or motivate yourself to think negatively, to be depressed, to hate somebody, to be sad, you don’t have to make any effort to do that, your mind is on automatic, it is wired think that way. But if you want to begin to overcome adversity and enjoy a healthy life you’ve got to be willing to go against the tide, you’ve got to be willing to harness your will, and in spite of the challenge that is in front of you, you need to summon the courage to take control and grow stronger because you didn’t give up.

Life will keep moving with or without you, the sun is always going to rise in the morning no matter how you feel. For me, the purpose in life is just to enjoy what we have and what we experience on this journey, because in the end, we will only have our memories, so let’s enjoy each other’s company, and spread positivity while we can.’

One of the positive things about our weekly assembly is that it provides an opportunity for students and staff to share their stories and inspire others to view the world from a different perspective and be grateful for what we have. Based on the reaction from the students and staff it was clear that Massimo’s powerful words resonated with many of them. I thank Massimo for having the courage to present such a strong message.

Masks

I have been pleased with the way the students have complied with the direction from SA Health regarding the wearing of masks while they are in class. It is not always that comfortable, but I believe there is an understanding of the importance of wearing them. Over the past few days, there has been an increase in the number of students asking for a mask from the Senior School Office. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide an endless supply of masks and remind students that it is their responsibility to supply their own masks each day. It would seem that the wearing of masks may be with us for a while longer yet so I would suggest that it would be convenient for each student to have a supply in their locker.

Co-curricular, House and Family Photos

Due to the lockdown, we have had to look at rescheduling the Co-curricular, House and Family photos for later this term. We are still confirming dates with the photographers and will publicise the dates as soon as they are set. As we prefer to have students in Winter Uniform for these photos we may have to push back the change over date from Winter to Summer uniform, but will also provide advice around this as soon as we have it to hand.

WestSwim Swim School

After having been shut down during and after the South Australian lockdown, we are very pleased to announce that we will be resuming most lessons from Monday 16 August 2021. Consequently, there will be a lot more movement in and around the Sports and Swimming Centre.

To limit external visitor exposure to our students, the 3.45 pm lessons will be exclusive to Westminster School students. We are likely to remain in this position for the remainder of the term. If your child is currently enrolled in the WestSwim Swim School, please arrive for your lesson as usual.

Please also note the following:

  • We request that only one parent/caregiver attend per student.
  • You MUST wear a mask at all times.
  • You MUST check-in via the QR codes in the centre (this goes for all families who access the Sports and Swimming Centre for any reason as these have now been updated to be separate from the main School buildings).
  • Due to Intercol, there will be no Swim School lessons on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 August.

Whole School Photo

The Whole School Photo has been delivered to the School and will be distributed next week to families who ordered via your nominated child. They will be handed over rolled up in a protective tube. While it is clearly stated on the label not to extract until home, it would be appreciated if you could remind your son or daughter of this as it will be difficult to re-insert without possibly damaging the photo. The photographer has supplied the School with a limited quantity of extras, which we can offer at the special 60th Anniversary price of $49.50. If you missed out on ordering earlier in the year, please visit https://www.trybooking.com/BRGLA. There are some extra photo boards available too at $148.50, which can be ordered through the same link. As the boards require additional handling and care, those who ordered the photo boards will be contacted separately to make an arrangement to collect.

Merchandise for Intercol

Intercol is less than a week away! Make sure you pre-order your Westminster Supporters Merchandise this week as unfortunately there will not be a merchandise stand on the day due to COVID restrictions.

This can easily be done by using the Qkr! App and all items are listed under “Westminster Merchandise”. Please contact the Westminster Shop for any merchandise enquiries.

Merchandise

David Wallage
Head of Senior School