Newman News Term 2 Week 6: From the Principal

The Power of Presence

The WA Day long-weekend has arrived and before long, we will be at the end of the term. Both this long-weekend and the upcoming holidays provide excellent opportunities for our students to take a rest from the busyness of life. Whether our children are quite young or moving quickly through adolescence, they can experience a sense of being overloaded with activities or their engagement with technology. Recently, I glanced upon an excerpt from author Richard Louv’s book ‘Last Child in the Woods’. Louv is a strong advocate for our children taking full breaks from ‘connectivity’ and activity to experience the peace and restorative possibilities in nature. He contends that Nature Deficit Disorder can lead to some of the troubling trends we see in our young people and regular breaks that bring us into contact with nature and natural beauty can do wonders for wellbeing. We all know this – How often do we catch ourselves commenting on the beauty of a sunset, a sunrise or the spectacular interaction we have with natural scenery? This weekend and the holiday breaks are great times to plan for our children, whatever their age, a break from ‘generation connect’ and spend time in nature-based activities. I am sure any opportunity you plan to support this break will help our young people be present in the moment and present to one another. The balanced use of technology which supports well-being over illbeing and a regular connection with nature are important factors in sustaining well-being.

There is something to be said about telling stories. Peter W Cobb writes ‘the hearer of a story becomes with the teller a shared caretaker of the story’. Wouldn’t it be so powerful to be able to borrow a person instead of a book from a library to listen to their life story for 30 minutes? Well, such a thing does exist in Denmark and more than 50 other countries. The aim of the project is to fight prejudices and awaken in people the action to treat everyone with dignity and respect. Each person has a title – ‘unemployed’, ‘refugee’, ‘homeless’, ‘domestic violence survivor’ and the act of listening carefully encourages empathy, perspective and respect. Next Wednesday‘s Zero to Hero seminar for parents doesn’t take us quite into the space of ‘borrowing a person’ but it does give parents the opportunity to have two incredibly valuable human resources present with story, knowledge and experience that aims to assist us with raising young people. If you can spare the time, I am sure you will gain important insights for guiding your child’s wellbeing journey.

ACC Cross Country

Congratulations to the Cross-Country team on a fine performance at this week’s ACC Cross Country Carnival. In near perfect conditions, the team performed very well against stiff competition from 80 schools. There were 4000 competitors at the carnival The final position for Newman was fourth and there were great individual performances and ‘personal bests’ achieved. Thanks to Marnie Barrett, Ciaran Allsop, Tiyana Kerimi, Cameron Tremayne, and Tom Williams for their coaching over the season and to Sport Captains, James Hart and Meg McAullay for their leadership.

National Reconciliation Week

This week we have joined in the national recognition of Reconciliation Week. The theme for National Reconciliation Week in 2023 is ‘Be a Voice for Generations ‘ and encourages Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise. Across the College, we have engaged with the important message of Reconciliation, and we look forward to the celebration of NAIDOC in coming weeks.

Marist Family Day

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday and it also marks the occasion of our Marist Brothers’ Community’s celebration of the Marist Family Gathering in Mass and a morning tea. The occasion also celebrates the Oak Marist Jubilee (80 years) of Br Noel Hickey and the Golden Jubilee of Br Paul Murphy with the Provincial, Br Peter Carroll in attendance. We congratulate Br Noel and Br Paul and give thanks for the presence and support of our Marist Brothers’ Community. Please keep them in your prayers.

Best wishes for a relaxing long-weekend.

Andrew Watson