Principal 21/10/22: Being an Upstander takes Courage

Welcome to Term 4

With the first newsletter of the term, I like to start with a welcome, but now that we are wrapping up Week 2 it feels like we are very much settled into this busy last term of the year and quite distant from the last break. Not to worry! I’ll still take this opportunity to welcome you and wish you and your children a positive and engaging term as part of our school community.

Last week our HSC students commenced their final examinations. The first examination always holds trepidation but now it is much more routine. Our Year 12 students are confidently putting their skills and understanding into action, one paper at a time. Please join us in continuing to pray for our HSC students: that they may clearly recall what they have learnt and communicate effectively in each of their exams.

A Glorious Grandparents Day

Last Friday was a glorious day as we welcomed over 600 school family members to Grandparents’ Day which was celebrated with the Book Week costume parade, open classrooms and book displays. I would like to thank the many staff who worked hard to prepare this day and all the family members who joined us to celebrate.

Making wise and courageous choices

Last week I spoke to our High School students at our term commencement assembly on the School attribute ‘make wise and courageous choices’ with a focus on being an ‘Upstander’ against bullying.

Courage can be described as a willingness of someone to step outside their ‘comfort zone’ despite being worried or afraid. One of the places in the Bible that speaks of courage is the book titled ‘Acts’. The apostles Peter and John held to their convictions about Jesus even though they were threatened with violence (see Acts 4). They could be courageous because of what they had seen Jesus do and through their faith in God’s power to make and keep his promises.

Like many parts of society, social fears often drain us of courage. Fears like rejection, isolation or loss of control often cause students to remain silent and conform when they see something that is wrong.

This is not a new concern, over 70 years ago, Rollo May wrote “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice . . . it is conformity.” I shared a more modern saying with our students “Only dead fish go with the flow.” Often it is easier to say or do nothing if we see something wrong. To step up and call out injustice or harm takes courage. One way our students can be wise and courageous is by taking on the role of an ‘Upstander’ against bullying. Bullying appears to be silently approved of when bystanders do or say nothing.

Bullying involves a situation when there is a power imbalance, in combination with repeated negative acts which have the intent to harm.

Reachout provides some simple ways students can be ‘Upstanders’ and act against bullying.

These include:

  1. Be a mate to the person being bullied
  2. Shift the focus away from the bullying situation
  3. Call the person out on their bullying behaviour
  4. Leave the situation, and then act
  5. Ask for help

Thankfully our school has limited incidents of bullying, however, we want our students to know how to respond if they observe bullying and make wise and courageous choices by taking on the role of an ‘Upstander’. This advice is not just for their time at school but also models how they can respond to bullying in the other areas of their lives (like in the workplace).

Our School’s Welfare Google Site has more information on the topic of bullying and how to respond in constructive ways. I invite you to visit this site and discuss the topic with your children.

On wisdom:

“For the Lord gives wisdom;
from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity—every good path.

For wisdom will enter your mind,
and knowledge will delight your heart.
Discretion will watch over you,
and understanding will guard you”

Proverbs 2:6, 9-11

God Bless, 

Mr Keith McMullen