We all admire acts of bravery. Our current overdose of Olympics has beamed courage to us nightly on our TVs. Athletes overcoming the odds – and the world’s best talent – to be triumphant. There are those events where athletes have not been victorious and shown remarkable bravery in dealing with defeat.

School is a bit like the Olympic stage for many students. So often our students face challenges and show great levels of resilience and courage. I contend that every small act of bravery is a big step to life success, no matter what the outcome.  We deliberately design our programs so that children are taken out of their comfort zones and learn to deal with those situations. Failure is embraced as a lesson learned and success paves the way for more challenges to be taken on.

Our Year 10 students are about to embark on the exciting Explore and Soar Week. Several will tackle the slopes of Falls Creek, others will experiment with new art and music workshops in Sydney, a small team are sailing on the One & All, a group of future chefs are taking on a Masterchef week and a group of students will spend the week learning how to work and play with kids with disabilities and undergo their first camp with the CARA organisation. Our Year 9 students are currently preparing for their Rite Journey camp to Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges. This is an expedition where each students takes responsibility for their tents, food and of course – themselves. They must trek long distances, abseil down 60m drops and spend 18 hours on their own as part of the Solo experience.

Last week a number of our student leaders met like-minded leaders from other Anglican schools in a workshop designed to focus on advocacy and service. One of the guest speakers was St John’s Year 12 student Alex Arthur, who has cerebral palsy. He passionately presented on how students with disabilities navigate each day at school. He gave terrific insights into what other students do that really helps but also what they do which does not! He was not only wonderfully engaging but courageous in speaking to a full auditorium.

Our talented musicians will perform as part of their assessment process next week. Performing with the scrutiny of assessors after weeks of rehearsal and practice. Later in the term, five of them will sing their hearts out to a packed Nexus theatre. Being up onstage and giving it their all is a huge act of bravery. The opening night of our Middle School production in Week 9 will also be a mixture of excitement and nerves, and for many of our younger students, it will be their first public performance.

On Wednesday, three netball teams battled out Grand Finals at Priceline stadium and there were acts of bravery involved in every minute of the games. Students putting their bodies on the line in an effort to do their best for their team mates and the school.

Twenty-nine students from the school have been meeting regularly to prepare for an exciting tour of Japan where, for the first five nights, they will stay with a host family they have never met before and immerse themselves in daily Japanese life. This is brave stuff.

Each day students have to stand up in class and present their work, they have to tackle academic challenges that are not always comfortable exercises and in the playground they have to deal with difficult social situations at times that again that all up concur with that well known line that life was not meant to be easy! As you reflect on the never-ending list of challenges young people face each term, get excited about the collective growth that happens, win or lose. Most importantly give our young stars the credit they deserve as they push on, resilient, determined and courageous.

Richard Anderson
Head of Senior School & Deputy Principal