From the Principal

Mental Health, Community Support, STEAM and Science

Australian adolescent mental health trends are currently following a concerning trend and Tintern Grammar remains committed to supporting our young women and men in this area as we navigate a changing world. On this note, you may well recall the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which was released in 2017. This series was based on a novel by Jay Asher and revolves around a young person who dies by suicide. Season 1 was widely viewed by young people and also received significant media coverage. The show raised concerns from Mental Health Organisations and professionals concerned with the well-being of adolescents. These concerns centred around a number of issues, including the graphic nature and content of the series, its glorification of suicide and failure to promote positive, proactive and effective help-seeking behaviours.

Season 2 was released on Netflix last Friday 18 May. This series does begin with a warning about the impact of the content and advises those who are likely to be adversely affected to avoid watching the series. It also suggests help-seeking behaviours and resources. The series focuses on the impact on those left behind, difficult peer interactions and legal proceedings that result. The series may raise concerns and difficult emotions for young people as it addresses cyberbullying, mental health sexual assault and suicide. I would strongly encourage parents and guardians of secondary students to have some conversations around the show and its content, as we encourage young people to talk to trusted adults around their issues or concerns. The series would not be suitable for Junior Schools’ students.

These conversations can be difficult to navigate and the MHFA website provides a list of discussion points about the program as well as advice regarding how to broach the topic of Mental Health and suicide. Visit the MHFA website

Here are some additional resources that may assist in these discussions, particularly around Season 2.   

13 Reasons Why Information

Headspace – the launch of 13 Reasons Why Season 2

If your son or daughter is in need of support regarding the content of the show or any other issue, they can call, contact or visit:

  • Catie McNamara – School Counsellor cmcnamara@tintern.vic.edu.au, their pastoral mentor, Year Level Co-ordinator or Head Of School
  • Kids Help Line on 1800 55 1800
  • Life Line on 131114
  • Suicide Line Victoria 1300 651 251
  • Headspace 1800 650 890

On an entirely contrasting note, as a self-confessed science enthusiast (or perhaps nerd!), I am very excited to bring two pieces of science(ish) news to the Tintern Grammar community. As many of you will recall, the focus of our 2017 Annual Appeal was supporting the creation of the Tintern Grammar STEAM Centre. Designed to be a place where students could turn their big ideas into a tangible reality through CAAD design software, laser cutting and 3D printing, coding and programming and our terrific robotics program, the donations from our community clearly expressed the priority that we all place on student opportunity in this area.

It may not be quite finished, but The STEAM Centre is already functioning (just try to keep the students and Mrs Healey out of there!), and watching our students work in teams reinforces what they gain from the collaboration, the critical thinking and the opportunities to innovate, that this facility puts in the hands of every student. It is exciting and rewarding to see, and is also very much the result of your generosity as a community, the generosity of every donation made last year, no matter how big or small. We could not have done it without you, and on behalf of all the students that do and will use it, I thank you for your generosity and commitment to our School.

My second piece of (definitely) science news concerns the re-imagining and re-creation of the current Science buildings, which will commence later this year. Originally built in 1991, they were state-of-the-art when opened and have served the School with distinction for nearly 30 years in a curriculum area that has seen dramatic and (particularly recently) rapid change. By Term 1 2019, the skeleton of the building will be the only thing carried over from the current Science buildings, and it will be a breathtaking facility, enabling students to experience the curiosity, wonder and challenge of science, both in the classroom and in learning spaces outside it, in this most scientific of centuries!

This re-imagining of science at Tintern will be our largest building project for some time and I am confident that families will want to commit to joining with the School as partners in the transformation of The Speagle Science Centre, which will touch the lives, learning and experiences of every student at Tintern. I hope you will make a donation and every contribution, small or large that you feel you can afford will be received with our gratitude. In a century where it will be science that society looks to in order to address challenges around population, global warming, food scarcity and energy, we owe it to our young men and women to give them every opportunity to develop in this field if it is their pathway!

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