One of the best parts of working at Westminster is witnessing the talents of students in a variety of activities. During the Week 6 Senior School Assembly, the Indigenous students presented the Reconciliation Assembly to the rest of the Senior School. This assembly has been on our calendar for many years and each year it gets better in terms of getting the message across. This year it was also presented to the Prep School. Each student who presented displayed a level of confidence and a sense of purpose in what they were saying and the manner in which they delivered their message.
There were a number of special guests, Uncle Darryl Koolmatrie and Uncle Mark Koolmatrie, Elders of the Kukabrak peoples of Southern South Australia, Mr Nathan May, a descendent from the Arabana and Yawuru clans, Ms Monica Williams from The Association of Independent Schools of South Australia.
Uncle Darryl is the most senior person of the Tribes who has the important role of being a cultural person, but also walking in the faith of his Lord. Darryl offers a lot of learning to Westminster with his knowledge of the land, waters and cosmology.
Uncle Mark is also an elder of the land, waters and cosmology of southern South Australia. He is Chairperson and spokesperson for the Original Southern South Australian Tribes Corporation. He has worked in a wide variety of roles - as a teacher, adult educator, Aboriginal youth vocational development, Aboriginal men's health educator, hereditary diseases education and Indigenous sexual and reproductive health. He was Coordinator of South Australia’s first Aboriginal men's gathering in 2001. He holds a Graduate Diploma of Indigenous research in Tribal identity and a Graduate Diploma in Natural and Cultural Resource Management (Deakin University, Geelong).
Nathan May is a multi-talented emerging singer-songwriter. Nathan writes in memory of his friends and family, and as a reminder that there is always hope. In 2014, Nathan was featured in 'Unearthed', the NITV documentary series focusing on the achievements of young Indigenous Australians around the country. Nathan is now studying Popular Music & Creative Technologies at the University of Adelaide Elder Music Conservatorium. He accompanied singers from the Prep and Senior School as they sang ‘My Island Home’.
Year 4 student Hudson Linke addressed the assembly with pride, passion and confidence on what it means to him to be an Indigenous person. Deena Warren and Maddy Rasmussen sang ‘Bless the Broken Road’. The Captain of Indigenous Students, Shelley Haseldine, was well supported by other students in leading the whole assembly.
I congratulate all the students involved in the Assembly and sincerely thank Ms Nahla Baroudi for all her energy, support and passion in guiding the students to present an outstanding assembly, and also for all of her work in supporting the Indigenous students over the years
The Year 9 Camp was a mixture of activities at the campsite near Mylor in the Adelaide Hills and Outdoor activities involving a bush walk along the scenic South Coast section of the Heysen Trail, camping overnight in tents. Some of the benefits for the students included being outside of their comfort zone and working through problems to achieve positive outcomes. The goal was to educate students to apply the same processes when faced with challenges back at school. The staff were impressed by the enthusiasm of the students and I would like to thank all the staff for their energy and supervision of the Camp, in particular, Ms Julie Engelhardt, who organised the overall camp and Mr Rob McLean ('99) who arranged the bushwalking component.
Last week the Year 12 Drama students performed their production piece, ‘What Rhinoceros?’. This is one of the main assessment tasks for the students and, from what I experienced, I believe they should all do very well. Each cast member did an excellent job in portraying their characters and connected with the audience in what was a challenging production. I congratulate all of the students for their performances, and Mr John Doherty for his guidance of the students and expertise in directing the play.
The Year 11 and 12 students will be sitting their mid-year Exams next week, which will provide an opportunity for both students and staff to reflect on the learning that has taken place during the semester. It also allows students to assess their revision and exam preparation techniques, and to investigate ways to improve the effectiveness of their strategies.
Our experience is that, in most cases, Year 12 students will perform better in their SACE Exams at the end of the year than they did in their mid-year exams. This should provide confidence to all students that with a consistent and disciplined approach to their learning there is always room for improvement. I would encourage all students to discuss their results with their teachers to get a clear picture of where they need to improve and how to achieve such improvement.
For Year 11 students this will be their first experience of an extended period of exams. Again, the students need to review their performance with the purpose of assessing the effectiveness of their preparation.
I wish all the students all the best for their exams.
Head of Senior School