Term 1 | Week 4
The Term has commenced at great pace and with positive enthusiasm for what has been an outstanding start to the year.
Last week we were visited by the highly regarded educator and neuroscientist Dr Jared Cooney Horvath, who delivered a number of animated and illuminating presentations to Years 9 – 12, our academic staff and many parents. His extremely engaging presentations focussed on how we learn from a neuroscience perspective. I have received significant positive feedback from students, parents and teachers who all found the presentations highly informative and challenging.
Over the past week a significant number of students have achieved excellence in a vast array of experiences that we have available at Kinross Wolaroi School. The determination, skill and passion of our students are abundantly evident in the great feats achieved in the pool, classroom, in oratory, and on the rowing course just to name a few. More details can be found in the Congratulations section at the conclusion of my article.
Two outstanding information nights have been held recently; one for the newly invigorated Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and the other for our International Student Exchange program. The level of interest from students and families is greatly encouraging. Both these programs have so much to offer towards the holistic education of our students where we are striving to develop within them the attitudes and values to enable them to enjoy fulfilling and rewarding futures.
Casting has been completed for the 2019 Musical ‘Oliver’ and reports of the amazing talents on show bodes extremely well for a wonderful production later in the year. At our Assembly last week we focussed upon acknowledging academic achievement and effort of those students who performed strongly in 2018. It was greatly encouraging to witness the number of students who are making the determined effort to succeed.
In my address I chose to highlight some of the ‘pearls of wisdom’ that our 2018 Speech Day guest speaker, Mrs Kim Brennan shared with us. Kim’s address last year was outstanding and her message so pertinent to us all. Real achievement requires great effort, perseverance and determination. It also needs ‘self-belief’. Kim is an incredibly impressive woman, a 3 time Olympian; an Olympic Gold Medalist; a successful lawyer; International Olympic Committee member; a mother and on top of all this, a grounded, humble and lovely person.
Kim’s wisdom has been acquired through her life experiences where she has faced adversity, confronted challenge and has been supported by inspiring mentors. She believes we are all capable of achieving our own version of a ‘Gold Medal’ or our personal best be it in the classroom or outside of it.
Kim’s initial goal as an athlete was to represent Australia as a hurdler but a serious injury brought an abrupt halt to that ambition. She then discovered rowing and pursued her dream there. All along striving to achieve her personal best in the classroom, at University and in her personal life. She reminded us that the achievement of anything worthwhile is never easy. It takes commitment, hard work and sacrifice.
So often we tell ourselves that we have to love what we do. We often say that the most important thing is to go out and have fun. But the honest truth is that the most meaningful, satisfying things we can do in life are often unpleasant and tough along the way. If we expect achieving our dreams or following our passions to be enjoyable all the time, we inhibit our ability to actually experience that feeling deep in your soul of contentment.
A deep sense of personal satisfaction comes when you know that you have stepped outside your comfort zone, battled the adversity that stood in your way, and emerge even better and stronger on the other side.Kim reminded us that in striving to fulfil your potential to become the very best you can be, you will feel fear, uncertainty, discomfort, stress – all these emotions are normal. You will fail at times. She said that being OK with not feeling amazing all the time is a skill like any other. It improves if we practice it. Kim spoke of managing our ‘self-doubt’ when things are tough and difficult. We all face doubts about our capacity to do things from time to time. Kim certainly did.
She spoke of a voice in her head saying ‘You’re not good enough. You may as well give up now. You’re not rowing well’. Kim called these voices her ‘chimp’. We all have one. Your chimp is your emotions. It comes to you before an exam; when you are stressed about an assignment; or before and during a race or a match.
She spoke of the importance of training our chimp. To be able to notice those negative feelings and thoughts and be able to fight off the thoughts by saying ‘I am not going to listen to them. I am going to do what I planned to do anyway’. Our task is to accept that the chimp will come but know that we can control how we respond to those thoughts and feelings.
This can happen in a classroom situation when perhaps you have heard a voice in your head saying ‘They’re much smarter than you; you’re not bright enough to be here; you don’t have the intelligence to understand. You’re going to fail.’ Taming the chimp – ‘your self-doubt’ – is being able to acknowledge that voice of doubt and deciding that you are not going to listen to it and you are going to learn to the best of your ability anyway.
Kim’s message to us all was an incredibly valuable one. Her final words to us were for us not to give up on our dreams because they may feel hard or scary. For us not to be afraid to find new dreams when opportunity comes our way.
And for us to never stop learning – have the courage and determination to persevere.
We can all achieve our personal best, our version of a Gold Medal because we are truly all inherently capable of so much more than we realize.
Farewell Mr Alderson
At the conclusion of this week we farewell our Business Manager, Mr Greg Alderson after four and a half years of faithful service. As I have written late last year, Mr Alderson has had an immense impact on the business side of the School and has implemented practices and processes that place Kinross Wolaroi in great shape for the future. Over the past months he has worked very closely with Mr Trevor Delbridge to ensure a seamless transition.
We wish Mr Alderson all the very best in his future endeavours as he embraces new and exciting challenges in retirement. Thank you Greg for your outstanding contribution to the School, your colleagues and the community. Bon Voyage.
Congratulations to our Head Prefect, Emer Spora, who won the Orange Lions Club Youth of the Year Quest earlier this week. Emer spoke eloquently and represented the School with pride. She had all the Lions members engaged and entertained with her words of wisdom. Emer took out both the Public Speaking Award and the Overall Award and will represent Kinross Wolaroi and the Orange Lions Club at the zone final in Bathurst next weekend.
Our swimming team continues to go from strength to strength with many long standing records being broken in last Friday night’s KWS swimming carnival. Of note was Collette Lyons who broke the 14 years 50m Breast Stroke record by almost 2 seconds. The record was set by Anna Windsor in 1991! Collette broke many other records, including the 200m Individual Medley; 200m Freestyle; 100m Freestyle; 50m Freestyle and 50m Butterfly. There were other long standing records broken – of note were Sam Archer in the 17 years 50m Backstroke; 50m Butterfly and; 100m Freestyle. Oliver McLaughlin broke the 50m backstroke by over 4 seconds. Mercede Cornelius-Feltus broke the 15 years 50m Butterfly and Zac Lewis broke the over 16 years 200m Freestyle record. Congratulations to all students who competed in this carnival and especially to those who achieved their personal best.
Congratulations once again to Phoebe Litchfield, Yr 10 who has been named to play in this year’s Governor-General’s XI Women’s Cricket match against New Zealand on 28th February in Drummoyne. An incredible achievement for a 15 year old to be recognised on the senior international stage.
Our rowers competed in the NSW State Championships over the weekend and won 3 Gold and 2 Bronze medals. Medal winning performances included Gold in the Championship Schoolgirl Coxed Quad Scull, Championship Schoolboy Coxed Quad Scull and Under 19 Men's Coxless Quad Scull, and Bronze in the Under 17 Men's Double Scull and Championship Schoolboy Coxed Four. Other notable performances included fourth place in the Under 17 Women's Eight and Under 19 Women's Coxless Quad Scull.
Out of 71 competing Clubs & Schools Kinross Wolaroi School ranked 7th and were the 2nd ranked School in NSW overall.
Taylah Hobbs, Year 8, has competed in Armidale in the Youth Round Up event for Angus Cattle enthusiasts.
Taylah was awarded Champion Junior Parader; Champion Junior Herdsperson; and the EJ Angus Encouragement Award which is open for all participants at the event. Well done Taylah. Another remarkable achievement for a KWS student.
Dr Andrew Parry