Welcome to the new school year and Nossal’s second decade! (our 11th year). I would particularly like to welcome new students, parents and staff to our school community and hope to get to know you well over the next few years.
This is the text of some of my address to the students on our first day assembly....
"We start 2020 under a cloud (both literally and figuratively) and the recent bushfire events have highlighted the current environmental crisis globally, and that has been quite shocking for a whole raft of reasons. It is distressing to see graphic images of the devastation to communities, wildlife and the environment, (particularly so close to home) but when you start to look beyond the immediate impact and damage to explore the root causes and implications of these events it is hard not to despair – especially when you examine the scale of the problem, and the breadth and complexity of the measures required to mitigate this. It has been very easy to be complacent in a country like Australia where we enjoy a very safe, comfortable and comparatively idyllic existence, and I know that as much as I have enjoyed my travels to various other parts of the world, I always return with a greater appreciation of what we generally take for granted here. I’m not sure that we can do that any more, (not just us – but the rest of the world too) and I know that many of you, like me, may be feeling quite overwhelmed by the scale and gravity of the unfolding events and frustrated and angered by the political posturing and bickering that undoubtedly impedes efforts to address the myriad causes and issues that are now so hard to ignore.
I worry that your generation feel the burden of responsibility to fix a problem that is not of your making and is becoming increasingly dire as our global leaders prevaricate and argue about what should be done.
I am however endeavouring to be somewhat optimistic about the current situation, and hope that because it has so dramatically highlighted the need for strong action, there is now a greater chance of positive and united responses and a much larger groundswell of interest and desire to see changes made.
As a school of highly talented individuals and future leaders I believe that we can do much (even in comparatively small ways initially) to contribute to the groundswell and to engage with others locally and globally to proactively make improvements and changes. Mr Clark and the school Captains will talk to you today about the impact of such events and some of the things that we have already started. Our NEST team have been working on some of this for several years now, and there will be many other activities, events and initiatives the students here will be aware of, involved in, or keen to initiate. If I was asked to seek a group of young people with the passion, intelligence, creativity and vision to work on this – I would be hard pressed to find a better group than those who wear the Butterfly badge – past present and future.
So, I think it is time that we step up – take the lead on addressing the things that are in our control (big and little), and encouraging and pressuring others to address the things that we can’t. I think we are now seeing a grassroots groundswell triggered by the terrible events, and hope that we as a community can take a really active and leading role in channeling our concern and distress into positive action. I am open to your suggestions and encourage you help us make a difference.
As always, I exhort you to take every opportunity you are offered at Nossal – to be actively involved, and to use us for your benefit – the school exists solely for this purpose – to support, educate and nurture you. I hope you all have wonderful year and look forward to what we can achieve at the beginning of our second decade."