Posted on June 2, 2020 / Middle School
It was close to 10 weeks since our boys had stepped foot on the campus after going to remote learning for the last week of Term 1 through until Wednesday 27th May. With such a lengthy period of time away from each other and staff, it was justifiably an exciting day on Wednesday when everyone was back on site and able to catch up with their peers, tell stories of their time in isolation and above all just be back around each other. There are of course many new regulations we have put in place for the safety of everyone including multiple sanitising stations, drink taps closed (students must bring their own drink bottle), directional signs during peak times in buildings, plus lots more. It will take some time for these to become common practice, however, with regular reinforcements and reminders I’m sure our boys will adapt quickly to what will be the new norm for society.
It must be said, that whilst in remote learning our boys did incredibly well. Of course, there were a number of students who found not being in front of their teacher challenging, but for most, they demonstrated a wonderful level of application and organisation in a time where many may have thought that teenage boys would struggle. This is due in part to the amazing job the teaching staff did in continuing the learning for our boys, maintaining structure throughout each day and each lesson, and also maintaining an appropriate level of academic rigour on our students. As a school and as a community, we owe a huge level of gratitude to our staff for the wonderful job they did during this time. The success was also due to the commitment and demonstration of responsibility our boys displayed. Many of them found the quieter learning environment, free from distraction of their peers, a great place to focus and achieve really well. They were able to continue their academic development, whilst also being able to develop many other skills that will be vital for them in future years when they enter either their university years or the work force. Skills around time management, digital communication, remote teamwork, plus lots more. I have no doubt we will able to look back on this time and recognise many positives that have come from what has been a challenging time for many people.
Having our regular classes operating back on campus in the last week has enabled me to get around and see many of our boys. PE and sport are operating, albeit under strict guidelines around no-contact or sharing equipment (plus more), and to see our boys back running around the oval, training for cross-country or playing other games was great to see – especially whilst the weather was great upon their return. It was great to also smell the kitchens in full operation (Home Economics from the earlier years) during my walks around the school. Our Year 7 boys doing Health cook in our kitchens every week and the smell this week of spaghetti bolognaise making its way around campus was amazing. As parents, please look to continue encouraging your boys to “play” in the kitchen, get them to recreate the recipe they did at school to help further enforce these vital skills that will serve them well in the years ahead.
During our period of remote learning it was wonderful to see many of our co-curricular opportunities continuing for our boys. Of course, they were in different formats and missed the physical connection, but our cross-country and athletics squads had ongoing routines to complete, our debaters continued and our music department had many of their nights continue as well. Recently we had our Secondary School Piano Concert which was conducted over Microsoft Teams, and despite a couple of IT issues, the concert was a huge success. I would like to congratulate all students who participated in this event and also the staff who persisted endlessly to ensure that this event could run so successfully.
Over the month of May, Elijah Hanna of Year 7 participated in an event titled “The May 50k.” This is an event where participants aim to run 50km in the month of May to raise awareness for sufferers of multiple sclerosis. This year Elijah has run over 100km for the month which is an amazing effort for a 12 year old boy. For more details on Elijah’s efforts, click on the following link: Elijah’s 100k in May.
On Saturday 30th May two recent alumni, Max Reilly (2016) and Vishnu Pillay (2019), participated in another fundraising event titled “The Bali Hope.” This event is a double marathon (84km) where participants are fundraising for the Bali Children Foundation who support disadvantaged children to secure an education where they would not normally be so lucky. This event is usually held in Bali, however, due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, 2020 participants were restricted to complete their dual marathon in their local areas. Both Max and Vishnu began their day at 5:30am at Lilydale Lake and made their way up along the Warburton Rail Trail to Warburton, before turning around and coming all the way back. It was an incredible effort by Max and Vishnu and it was also great to see so many ex Tintern students there to support and cheer them on.