Dear Parents and Caregivers,
I am writing to inform you about The Rite Journey, an exciting and innovative program for all Year 9 students at St John’s Grammar. It is part of our WINGS suite of learning that provides the health and wellbeing learning for students. It comprises 2 lessons per week for the year. This letter also extends an invitation to you to attend the first two ‘Ceremonies’ that form an essential component of The Rite Journey program.
The program has been created to complement your role as parents and caregivers in guiding your child into young adulthood. The Rite Journey was developed in South Australia and is now being used by many schools across Australia and internationally. It provides the opportunity for students to participate in a year-long rite of passage experience in separate boys’ and girls’ classes. Many cultures have their own version of a rite of passage designed specifically for this age group.
Learning how to be an adult male or female in any society requires guidance, mentoring and a great many conversations. In our society today, young people often turn to their peers, the internet and the media to source their knowledge and guidance. During The Rite Journey, students will be required to have important conversations about what it is to be a respectful and responsible man or woman in our society. As your child journeys through the year, they will explore 4 main themes; Relationship with self, Relationship with others, Relationship with Spirit, and Relationship with the world. We hope that the discussions they are having at school may also stimulate conversation in your homes. Students will also use a special Rite Journey journal throughout the year, and this is an additional item to items on the school book list. The Rite Journey journal is $35 and will be added to each family’s account in 2020.
A unique feature of The Rite Journey are the seven steps that form a contemporary rite of passage. In conjunction with the program’s founder, Andrew Lines, we have developed a memorable series of events, aimed at honouring your child’s transition into young adulthood.
To launch the program, students and parents /carers are invited to attend the ‘Calling’ and ‘Departure’ Ceremonies. These will be conducted at the Belair National Park – Walnut Paddock at 6:00pm on Thursday 6 February. The ceremonies will be completed at approximately 8:15pm. It is essential that we start on time (so that we can finish on time – by sunset and the park closing). Please arrive from 6.00pm so we are seated to commence the ceremonies at 6.30pm.
As part of the Calling Ceremony, Parents and Carers, have a special task to fulfill. You are requested to provide the following after the first component of the ceremony:
- A packed light Dinner to share with your family only, e.g: cold meats and salads
- 5 secret items that signify your child’s childhood – try to choose items that no longer define them. As an example, many families bring along a toy they used to play with or a teddy bear, action figure etc. You will bring these to the event and will be explaining the past importance of these items to your child, whilst expressing the notion of ‘moving on’ from this phase of childhood. You may bring in photos if the item has been lost or discarded. These items will return home with you at the end of the evening.
After dinner, students and parents /carers will then split, proving an opportunity for families to learn about the aims and intentions of the program. This is the first component of the ‘Departure’ Ceremony. We are extremely fortunate to have program founder, Mr Andrew Lines in attendance this year. At the conclusion of the presentation, Parents /carers and students will reunite and students will symbolise their transition towards adulthood and this special occasion. This is the conclusion of the ceremonies and our staff are confident it will provide a powerful opportunity to have an important dialogue with your child. Parents /carers are subsequently requested to approach their Rite Journey teacher and give permission to teach the program to their son or daughter for the year.
As part of the evening, each student and their parents /carers will fill out a card. On this card, the student will write something that they wish to ‘let go’ of or ‘stop doing’ as they progress into young adulthood. On the reverse side of the card, the parents /carers will write a message of their choosing. It could be a message of support, a new freedom you wish to extend to them or something that you as the parent will ‘let go’ of as your child becomes a young adult.
The school is aware that families are structured and restructured in many and various ways. We are also aware that The Rite Journey Calling & Departure Ceremony may present difficulties for some families in making decisions about who should be present and how the student can effectively relate to all those who attend. While we do not wish to intrude on your decision making process and respect that many families may not wish to discuss these matters we would encourage any families who are concerned to contact their Rite Journey teacher in order to discuss ways in which the school can assist in making this ceremony both meaningful and comfortable for every student and their family. Please do not hesitate to call if you have any concerns at all. Likewise, if you have additional questions about The Rite Journey program, we are happy to discuss those with you further. We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming ceremonies.
As a lead Rite Journey school, we know that this program will be invaluable for our Year 9 students and we look forward to all that this program offers the students and their families. We trust that you and your child will find The Rite Journey to be a positive, rewarding and transformative process.
Leader of Student Wellbeing