A lunchtime meander….
Sometimes the character of a place or person is revealed in those hidden moments when no one is watching. Character is such an important part of our education at Berwick Grammar School. Whilst we encourage our boys to strive for excellence in all that they undertake, we realise that a boy is only truly educated and prepared for life if he has had an opportunity to develop his character. I wanted to share with you all a brief moment in time that I shared with the staff recently, about the character that was revealed to me on a lazy meander through our School. I love our assemblies, there is such warmth there as we continually forge the bonds of community and this communication was written to our staff following last Thursday’s assembly.
‘I thought we had a tremendous assembly today, celebrating achievement, effort and musings upon the nature of strength. A good contingent of parents were exposed to boys demonstrating that at our School it is great to achieve and it is something to be celebrated. Some boys’ school celebrate sport and win at all costs or only academic achievement. Today we saw the Renaissance man qualities of our school – athletes, academics and artists – a place and value placed upon all. Morning tea followed, set up and donated by the erstwhile wise men of Year 12 Messers Diston, Dunstan and Ashcroft. Young men and staff ate and laughed together. It was great to see Nick Bruton in a suit, I didn’t realise they could make them that tall. I will have to find your tailor Nick so I can get a suit for my expanding waistline.
At lunch I wandered through the Middle School (yes I do leave my office on the odd occasion allowed at present) and was presented with the very best of our School. Year 10’s and 7’s playing soccer together, laughing and using each other’s names. Friendships forming and strengthening. Older boys encouraging young boys. Close to the whole of the remainder of Year 7 played Table Tennis under the watchful gaze of Mrs Bourke who reminded them of the need for cleanliness in the locker area. The wafting sounds of ‘You’re the Voice’ drifted into my ears and I wandered around the corner to the scene of Loren and Robyn, giving their time, energy, enthusiasm and expertise to the Musical talents of the boys from Richards – Will Nelson on percussion, Matt, Sebastian and others leading the way. It was a Kodak moment, that’s a camera for the millennials on staff. Photo attached.
I was chuffed. I am so proud of you all and the work you do with our boys. Teaching our students makes us a School. These types of activities, the things that happen when no one is really looking makes us a community.’
An opportunity to contribute.
These past few days I have been both fortunate and honoured to participate in the National Mental Health in Education Summit. That I was invited to speak about our philosophy and programs at Berwick Grammar School provides some indication of our emerging leadership in all matters pertaining the growth and development of boys. the Summit provided an opportunity for educational leaders, psychologists, legal types, academics and clinicians to present their own perspectives on some of the pertinent issues confronting our young people. I was invited to present some provocations on the links between educational issues and increasing pressures, stresses and anxieties for young people. This also provided me with the opportunity to discuss the evolution of our Growing Good Men Project.
I have been quite overwhelmed with the positive feedback my presentation received. I did have notes this time, unlike some of my recent assemblies and I am confident that some excellent things will come from our School as a result of my participation in the Summit. These include developing some links and collaborating with Tertiary institutions and professionals from all over Australia. It was a real honour to present along with colleagues from some of Australia’s most well-known Schools including Geelong Grammar, The Scot’s College and Melbourne Girls’ Grammar. We cannot underestimate the challenges confronting our young people, in our instance our young boys and developing men, in terms of equipping them with the right tools and capacities to lead noble, honourable and fulfilling lives. We are all on a journey together and this is the key as the primacy of relationships and connectivity between people and institutions I believe will endure beyond context to ensure the best conditions for the growth of our boys. My thanks for your support of our endeavours.
Dr Steven Middleton
Head of Berwick Grammar School