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

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Senior School - Edition 15 - 2021

Term 3

When I reflect on what has happened in Term 3, I have come to the conclusion that we could not have done much more. Keeping in mind the disrupted start to the term with lockdown and quarantines.

There have been House Dinners and House and Co-curricular photographs. From an entertainment perspective, we had the Year 11 Play, the SACE Dance and Australian Made performances, Music Night and Big Band Bonanza. We competed in a wide range of winter sports which culminated in the Intercol competitions against Pembroke, our musicians performed successfully in the ‘virtual’ ABODA SA Band Festival and our athletes have competed in inter-school athletics events. The Outdoor Education department ran several expeditions ranging from mountain biking, rock climbing and bushwalking in various parts of the state. I’m sure I have missed other activities but none of what happens in the Senior School would have been possible without the support, organisation and passion of our staff and their willingness to work with the students to make ideas become reality.

I thank staff and students for ensuring Westminster is never a boring place and there are opportunities for everyone to find an activity to develop their passion.

Year 8 Gala

One of our special annual events was held last week in the form of the Year 8 Fundraising Gala, with students running their own stalls to raise money for the Harris Family Seeds of Hope Foundation. The money raised will help to support educational outcomes for students less fortunate than those at Westminster, through orphanages in both Indonesia and Taiwan. The Gala provides the opportunity for students to demonstrate leadership, teamwork and creativity, while also developing their planning and organisational skills. This year the students raised approximately $3000+ in a single afternoon, with students and staff from both the Preparatory School and Senior School involved on the day. It was also wonderful to have some special visitors at the Gala, Mrs Johns and her beautiful baby girl Sophie Grace!

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Year 8 students also volunteered their time to decorate and plant succulents with proceeds going to the Michael Rice Centre Ward that cares for children from SA and NT who have blood disorders and cancer. In Term 4 the Year 8 students will be wrapping Christmas presents for the children at the clinic.

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On behalf of the Year 8 students, Westminster School and the Harris Family Seeds of Hope Foundation, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude for the support that has been provided by parents and businesses, with donations and also with driving students to shops and delivering items to the school. This ensured the Year 8 Fundraising Gala was a success, both for the funds raised and the learning that took place along the way.

Thank you to the following businesses who supported this year’s event:

Bakers Delight Unley
Bunnings Edwardstown
Chipman Family
Cimarosti Bros Colonel Light Meat & Smallgoods
Domino's Hove
EB Games
Hello Harry Burger Joint Glenelg
The Golden Wishbone Mitchell Park
Weekends Surf Co. Marion
Woolworths

An event like this would not be possible without the support and guidance of the Year 8 staff, Head of Year 8, Ms Nicole Salamon, and Year 8 Tutors Mrs Angela Phillips, Mrs Kat Elliott, Mrs Dee Barton, Mr Jason Greenslade and Mr Peter Walwyn.

Student Leadership

Today the 2022 School Captain and School Vice Captain will be announced at the end of term whole school assembly. Current Year 11 students nominate to be a School Leader and then students and teaching staff vote for School Captain, School Vice Captain and also for School Leader positions.

During the first week, next term each House will elect their House Captain and House Vice Captain after which School Leaders will be determined based on the voting results. As with any election, there will be some students who will be disappointed that they did not achieve one of the positions, however, there are many other leadership positions available within the Senior School. I would remind all students that there are always times when leadership skills have to be applied and as such we all have the opportunity to show leadership.

During Terms 2 and 3, the Year 11 students have led a week of Chapel Services with each House preparing and presenting services for the week. We have been doing House Chapels for many years and each year the quality of the message improves. Each Year 11 Tutor group chooses a theme and then addresses it in a values context using bible readings, prayer, video clips and music. This is one way the older students are showing leadership and providing a positive role model to the younger students and sets a standard which future years will aspire to when they are in Year 11.

I would like to publicly thank all the Year 11 students, Year 11 Tutors, House Heads and School Chaplain, Phil Hoffmann for their involvement in these services.

Year 12 Students

This is not really a holiday period for Year 12 students – they will get their opportunity to relax after exams and final assignments are completed. However, there must be time for some relaxation over the next two weeks.

My advice to Year 12 students is to schedule around 15 hours per examined subject over this period - including Revision Courses, if you are attending any. If you are taking courses, keep concentration levels up during these by taking notes and clarifying everything in your mind. Complete final drafts of major assignments that are still due in Term 4 rather than leaving them for when you are back at school.

Plan your days and meet the objectives you set for each day. Think about going to a University library or some other location if TV, friends, or family members are proving a distraction. Keep a list of things that need clarification from your teachers in the last term.

When Term 4 starts, you will only have eight days on campus before your last day, and on these days most subjects will be revising and any remaining major assignments will be due. The responsibility falls very much on you to respond seriously to this time and make the most of your opportunities. This is a time when you can really make a lot of headway. Conversely, if you waste this precious time, others are gaining headway on you.

Westventure 2022

In 2022, our Westventure program will move from Year 10 to Year 9. While we will run Westventure in Term 1 for Year 10 in 2022, the transition to Year 9 will begin in Term 4 2022 with the first Year 9 Westventure camps from 17 October to 9 December. In 2023, we will re-establish Westventure in Term 1 as an ongoing program for Year 9 students.

A decision such as this has required considerable discussion between the School Leadership Team and our highly experienced Outdoor Education staff, who fully endorse the recommendation to bring Westventure forward by a year level.

Considered points behind the recommendation and subsequent decision include:

  • The move of Year 7 into the Senior School has made us rethink our camp program to ensure year level camps appropriately build on one another in terms of challenge and ultimately meeting specific interests.
  • The age of today’s Year 9 student is historically the age of Year 10 students in the early years of Westventure.
  • Students have an earlier opportunity to bond as a House during each Westventure camp, which will continue strengthening in Year 10 and in the years beyond.
  • Students have greater access to Outdoor Education as a Stage 1 SACE subject in Year 10 or 11 and then Stage 2 in Year 11 or 12.
  • Following Westventure in Year 9, the Year 10 cohort will be able to select from a variety of pinnacle Outdoor Education experiences in areas of their choice, including rock climbing, kayaking, sailing, bushwalking and cycle touring.

Students enrolled in the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award will be able to embed their expedition experiences to count towards their medals.

Having assessed the proposal thoroughly, we believe that this Westventure shift in timing will produce excellent outcomes for our Year 9 students both at the camp and in the years that follow.

International SpaceCRAFT Exploration Challenge

This week, 10 of our Stage 1 Physics students have been involved in the International SpaceCRAFT Exploration Challenge. SpaceCRAFT is a platform for collaborative space system and mission design. It provides a high fidelity simulation of the universe, including real planetary data from NASA/JPL and correct physics for models of space and planetary environments. This program, which is being run from Texas, gives students an incredible opportunity to participate in space exploration virtually.

As part of a mission team, students are designing spacecraft, space suits, planets and habitats, navigating to planets, landing their vehicles and exploring to find resources in order to sustain human life. Students are learning from subject matter experts including astronauts, space scientists and aerospace engineers who are directly involved in ongoing missions as they compete with other teams for the best mission design. Lessons have included topics ranging from planetary science to spacecraft systems, orbital mechanics to robotic exploration, bring all aspects of space exploration together.

They have used a Virtual Reality (VR)/2D compatible “space simulation” environment designed to enable users to collaborate, design, evaluate and experience the technology for future operations in Space. This is, in effect, enabling everyone to contribute to humanity’s future in space. Students have had the opportunity to compete in several challenges with one team sitting in first place and the second team in the top 20 out of 50 for the majority of the week!

Aisha Hargraves
Senior School Science Teacher

Chinese

In Term 3, students studying Chinese have undertaken a wide range of language and cultural programs. Students have worked hard to further develop their Chinese language skills through various communicational activities such as oral presentations, reading analysis and text productions. For many, it has been an incredible learning journey with a strong sense of achievement developed.

In addition, students showed enthusiasm in exploring Chinese culture, such as calligraphy. Students learned the art of writing characters with a brush. We were fortunate to have Jerry Tang, our very own Chinese international student to do a demonstration for us. Jerry has been practising calligraphy for many years in China since he was little. Students had a great time experiencing this unique Chinese culture.

Later in the term, the Chinese classes studied the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and designed their own special mooncakes. The senior Chinese class had the opportunity to visit Chinatown and experience firsthand Chinese language and culture. Below are some reflections from their excursion.

‘Chinatown excursion was so exciting that we were able to recognise many Chinese characters and explored Chinese culture, building upon our understanding of Chinese food, shopping and overall culture. I used chopsticks to eat my lunch and used Chinese language to order food.’ – Kayla Graham (Year 11)

‘I had a really interesting time. We recognised many Chinese characters, built and enhanced what we learned in the classroom. Visiting all the Chinese stores and restaurants and reading labels and menus in Chinese was an incredible experience.’ – Airlie Rouvray (Year 11)

‘I really enjoyed the visit to Chinatown. I could try authentic Chinese food and practise my reading and speaking as there was Chinese writing everywhere.’ – Sasha Coorey (Year 11)

‘Today I learned new Chinese characters that can be found in the Chinese supermarkets and around Chinatown. It was great that I could understand a lot of Chinese and what they meant.’ – William Lam (Year 11)

‘The Chinese excursion was very fun. I recognised many Chinese characters in Chinatown and managed to order my lunch in Chinese. Overall, I had a great day and will miss study Chinese next year.’ – Corinna Lecons (Year 12)

‘Today’s excursion was very fun. I learned how to order in Chinese and had a good time exploring’. – Emily Holzbauer (Year 10)

‘I’ve been to Chinatown before, but this time was different. I went with my Chinese class. It was fun to show my classmates my favourite spots and to speak Chinese to the shop keepers.’ – Jenny Xu (Year 10)

Wendy Lampard
Curriculum Leader: Languages

I wish students and families an enjoyable holiday and look forward to seeing the students back for Term 4.

David Wallage
Head of Senior School