A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Marion, South Australia
Early Learning to Year 12

Round Square - Edition 8 - 2019

‘Westminster is a pretty busy place, isn’t it!’

Yes it certainly is! I am sure it is no secret that there is a lot going on at Westminster. We all know how many events and activities are on offer in our school community on a daily basis. The above quote though is not referring to our full school calendar, rather our level of social conscience and commitment to our global community. It is a quote from one of our Round Square Student Committee members, made recently when discussing different Service programs and activities/involvement throughout the year.

As we chatted further, it quickly became very clear to us, not only are we as Westminster staff and students able to participate confidently in many different projects, but that these projects and events work hand in hand with our Round Square IDEALS and in turn complement our school values. It is wonderful too to see our staff role-modelling Service learning by helping out in a variety of areas such as Uniting Church Packing Days, Resthaven visits, Red Dove Cafe and the Ronald McDonald House Dinner Program to name just a few!

Yes, we are busy and involved at Westminster, and from what I have seen so far we are part of many wonderful projects that help others both locally and internationally. This is definitely something which we should all be very proud of.

I see this as another gentle reminder of the pivotal role Round Square plays at Westminster and how important it is that we continue to expose our students to all of these opportunities in order for them to develop into true global citizens. After all, isn’t that exactly what experiential learning is all about?

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Round Square Conferences and Events

For students that participate in a Round Square conference, it can be a life-changing experience.

Students in all Round Square schools have the chance at various ages to attend conferences and events at national, regional and global levels. These provide outstanding personal development opportunities, enhancing social and leadership skills, broadening intercultural understanding and forging lifelong friendships.

Although there is a bit of a misconception sometimes of what a ‘conference’ entails, they are anything but boring lecture style events. Each conference has a theme based on the IDEALS of Round Square, and offers a combination of guest speakers, group discussions, workshops, cultural visits, community service and adventure activities.

All Round Square conferences and events are action-packed, vibrant, social and intellectual occasions, which greatly enhance the ability of the young people who attend them to develop a broader world-view, as well as a greater understanding of themselves.

What exactly is the Round Square IDEAL of ‘Democracy’ all about?

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The word ‘democracy’ has its origins in the Greek language. It combines two shorter words: ‘demos’ meaning whole citizen living within a particular city-state and ‘kratos’ meaning power or rule.

It is generally agreed that liberal democracies are based on four main principles:

  • A belief in the individual: since the individual is believed to be both moral and rational;
  • A belief in reason and progress: based on the belief that growth and development is the natural condition of mankind and politics the art of compromise;
  • A belief in a society that is consensual: based on a desire for order and co-operation not disorder and conflict;
  • A belief in shared power: based on a suspicion of concentrated power (whether by individuals, groups or governments).
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Our country is a democracy. That means it is run ‘by the people for the people’. Citizens in our democracy have rights. For example, we have the right to speak freely, to practice our religion, to vote, and so on.

Citizens in a democracy also have responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is to choose our leaders. Another is to keep informed about what is going on with our government. It is also the responsibility of citizens to help make their community a good place in which to live.

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A democracy needs active citizens in order to work. There are many ways to take part in a democracy. It is absolutely essential in Round Square schools to teach students both the values of democracy and the importance of active participation in democracy. Freedom of thought and speech should be greatly encouraged and appropriate forums and channels of communication set in place.

Appreciating the importance of self-discipline and sharing in the running of the school are all vital parts of democracy. Student government and a genuine sense of responsibility in the management of the school are goals in all Round Square schools.

At Westminster School, there are various forums that students can be involved in, both within their House or year level, with Student Representative Councils in both the Preparatory and Senior Schools. There is participatory democracy through the election of School Leaders and House Captains, and this has been extended into most areas of the co-curricular program as well. Round Square at Westminster School is in the hands of a student committee, with groups responsible for overseeing the six pillars and numerous activities.

Exchanges Update

Regional Exchanges

Our Regional Exchanges are slowly starting to take shape. We are hoping to have several of our Year 8 students participate this year. We usually see these exchanges take place in Term 3 and 4, and, although applications are technically closed, I am still negotiating with schools so if you are interested (particularly Year 8 boys) please get in touch immediately.

Regional Exchanges are two week exchanges (usually within Australia), which allow students and host families to have a taste of what it is like to participate in an exchange without the cost and duration of an international visit. We generally offer these Exchanges to our Year 8 cohort but have also had some Year 9s participate in the past (this is dependent on availability with other schools).

It is also possible we may be able to have some Regional Exchanges offered to our Year 7 cohort next year, so stay tuned!

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International Exchanges

Recently, we have had one Exchange student arrive to us from Athenian School in San Francisco, USA. We hope Adit is enjoying his time in Adelaide so far (in spite of this chilly weather). Thank you to Patrick Davison (Year 11 Jeffries) and the Davison family for taking such good care of him.

Round Square is on Pinterest!

Not only do we have a great website resource for Round Square as mentioned in several previous eNews articles, but Round Square also has their own Pinterest site where you can access a variety of photos of projects and exchanges. It is great to have access to all of these different forms of communication, and it certainly allows us to keep up to date with the latest Round Square initiatives.

Upcoming Conferences and Events 2019/2020

  • RSIS – Borneo, Saturday 7 to Friday 20 December 2019 (applications closing soon!)
  • RSIS – Madagascar, Saturday 11 to Saturday 25July 2020 (only 15 places available, so get in fast!)
  • RSIS – Laos, Saturday 11 to Friday 24 July 2020
  • Round Square Global Conference for ages 12 to 13 at St Mary’s Colchester, UK from Monday 29 June to Friday 3 July 2020 "Our past, your future - conservation in action”. (Would need at least four to five students to go ahead and is dependent on regional interest first). *please note: this conference falls in our school holidays
  • Round Square Regional Conference for ages 13 to 15 at Cheongshim International Academy, South Korea from Saturday 14 to Thursday 19 March 2020, “Reverence for the Past, Aspirations for the future” (During Term 1)
  • Round Square Global Conference for ages 15 to 18 at Elaraki School, Morocco from Wednesday 12 to Monday 17 February 2020, “Future is Now”; (Would only go ahead if numbers greater than four students and dependent on Regional interest, during Term 1)
  • Round Square Global Conference for ages 16 to 18 at Craighouse School, Chile from Wednesday 1 to Tuesday 7 April 2020, "A Generation Raising Together” (Would only go ahead if numbers greater than four students and dependent on Regional interest, during Term 1)
  • Round Square International Conference ages 16 to 18, Australia (Melbourne, Ballarat and Launceston), end of September 2020 (places for five students to attend, during Term 3)
  • Brookhouse School, Tokyo, Japan – Sports focus conference prior to the Summer Olympics, to be held around July/end of Term 2, Age group: possibly 13-15 (awaiting further information)

*Please note, all conference opportunities are dependent on global and regional requirements and our own student interest, it is not financially viable to send a group smaller than three or four for most of these. Global conferences are now open up to all Round Square schools and schools in that particular region are given first chance to register.

For further information on Round Square, our initiatives, exchanges, or conferences, please contact me via Email.

Julia Chukwuani
Round Square and Exchanges Coordinator