What a year it has been! Starting the year under a COVID cloud, then punctuated by COVID start, stop, alter, pivot, hop, drop and roll. It really does highlight the journey of leaving childhood to adulthood, and the many twists and turns of navigation required.
The 2022 Rite Journey program is one that challenged thinking about physical and emotional development, provided openness on those ‘secret’ topics, championed those who were willing to step outside of their comfort zones, provided opportunities to show responsibility and, this term, focused on gratitude for those key people that support their very existence.
Our journey began at the start of Term 1, when students, parents and staff gathered at the Spit to participate in a very special Calling and Departure Ceremony, celebrating the start of this life-changing experience. At this Ceremony, students cast off identified childish habits into the Gold Coast Seaway; a statement of intent to leave such practices behind. Students also received letters from their parents that highlighted moments from their upbringing; valuing the strengths and virtues that their child possesses and how proud they were of them for embarking onto the journey of young adulthood.
Term 2, was about preparing them to step out into the unknown, to let them experience responsibility in an unknown environment, to work with others in an unexpected way to problem solve, discover and complete a challenge. The Character Builders Photo Challenge Day, was an opportunity to experience all these attributes of character to prove to themselves that they truly can do the right thing when no one is looking, accept the challenge of responsibility, work effectively as a team, to have fun with integrity and grow- grow into accepting the responsibility that comes with becoming an adult.
The third phase is being able to step out on their own feet. Who am I becoming, how do I get there and how do I learn to stand on my own two feet? The outdoor experience at Camp Kokoda in late Term 3, offered an opportunity that was taken up by half the cohort, to hike through Mt Barney, swim in the rock pools, to push beyond what they thought they were capable of, build the bonds of shared hardship, and realise that they are able to endure more than they thought possible. All students prepared, cooked and shared meals, and cleaned up. All very adult duties. My experience was very memorable. A big thank you to my team of boys who took such good care of me.
Term 4 heralded the final phase of the Rite Journey Program. The Return and Homecoming Ceremony is a symbolic commemoration of our Year 9 students’ completion of the Program; to express to their families how they have grown over the year; to reflect on what they have learned about themselves and to set their sights on what sort of man or woman they will strive to become, as they approach their Senior Years.
All the young people who sat before me are ready for the next step towards adulthood. Parents, your call to action is to let this happen. Let go, they can have the conversations with their teachers to find out about events, missing school photos, finding their lost property. They can pack their own school lunch and prepare for the school day. If they fail, let them fail. It is better they fail now, than in the larger moments in life that are not so simple to resolve.
Every one of our 2022 Year 9 students are a blessing from God- shaped, formed, gifted and full of purpose, with a plan for their life; one as parents and teachers we do not always see yet. They will live their best lives when they are happy with who they are, filled with the joy of challenges that interest them, inspired to be respected, caring, kind and decent humans because they were brought up with the same degree of respect for their individuality and reason for being. This gift is what we, as their elders, provide to them with the choice of having a Lutheran education, teachers who encourage them to be the best version of themselves and friendships formed through mutual respect. Parents, your clear interest is to work with this school community in raising your child to be the most incredible version of themselves they can possibly be. I acknowledge that the path can have dips, obstacles and a bountiful supply of teenage deflections but that is why we work together, for together we are the best quality team for your child.
Thank you to the Year 9 classroom teachers, to the Year 9 Pastoral Care team, to the teachers’ aids, school leaders, all the different areas of school stakeholders, and Dr Wong; for together we make Trinity a place where each of these students becomes the person God designed them to be.
Mrs Danielle Blundell
Head of Year 9