Message From the Principal

The first three weeks of Term 2 have kept most of us very busy. We have a number of activities happening around the school that are providing opportunities for the boys to excel in their chosen fields. Over the weekend Mr Croft, and our music teachers gathered the school band and headed to Mt Gambier for the Mt Gambier Jazz Competition. This was a wonderful opportunity for the boys to play their music as well as to observe other very talented bands. Once again our boys acquitted themselves very well.

Last Friday the College celebrated the annual Mother’s day Mass and Breakfast. Reports I have been given indicate that it was a great success, with great numbers in attendance, estimates place the number of mums, sons and staff in attendance at around 140 – enjoying what was a emotional gathering. I have been told that it was beautiful to witness the wonderful relationships shared by the boys and their mums and in some cases their grand mums. The boys rose to the occasion making sure mum was well looked after with a cup of tea and something to eat before they enjoyed each other’s company while they had the opportunity. We thank all the mums and grandmothers who were able to join us in what has become one of the special calendar events here at the College.

As we enter deeper into Term 2 and the realities of the school year have well and truly settled in, it is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that not all students find coming to school a joy. Schooling for some kids can be threatening, daunting or simply a chore. Cases such as these can cause undue stress and anxiety and it is for these students that much work needs to be done to ensure their experience of school is a positive one. Salesian College has always recognised that it is in partnership with families that we are best able to provide a good education. With this in mind we are well aware that it is this relationship between the school and the parents that needs to be at its strongest if we are to support students who are under pressure. It is when students are struggling most that our partnership requires open communication and a willingness to support each other to best address the needs of your children. The reasons students struggle at school are as varied and numerous as there are children in our care. For some it is the fear of failure, for others getting a hard time at school, whilst others it is just the thought of doing a particular subject or simply not wanting to adhere to school rules. We know that whatever the reason, whether that reason be real or perceived, the outcomes or the effects can be the same and can be detrimental to a student’s ability to learn. It is for this reason that parents and teachers need to work together to identify possible solutions to the issue at hand.

The vast majority of these situations are able to be worked out cohesively with the families concerned. Once the issues have been resolved, students are able to readjust and have a positive experience of school. However, there are times for various reasons things don’t work out. Communication breaks down, either party is not happy with the stance taken by the other, misunderstandings or a multitude of other barriers  exist, all of which make it quite difficult to move forward. It is in these situations that both parties need to look at ways we can work together for the benefit of the students.

One thing we would like to focus on for this term is the resilience of our boys, for, experts argue that this is the single most important skill we can give our children. With resilience, kids are able to face issues more confidently or adapt to situations which bring them discomfort. I include some advice taken from one of the country’s leading parenting educators, Michael Grose on resilience.

“Some kids are resilient by nature – their temperament helps them to be mentally and psychologically tough. You know those kids. They get straight back up after a setback or disappointment. Rejection in the playground doesn’t faze them. Unfortunately, not every child has such natural resilience.

The good news is that most of the research shows that resilience can be nurtured and developed, particularly when parents themselves are resilient and they actively foster it in their kids.

Resilient kids share four basic skill sets – independence, problem-solving, optimism and social connection. “

Building Resilience

From a resilience perspective parents need to coach kids through some of their more challenging moments and reviewing what they may have learned for next time. Avoid solving all their problems for them.

You can promote a lasting sense of resilience in your kids by:
• Having a positive attitude yourself. Your attitude as a parent impacts on their ability to bounce back from some of the difficulties they face. Make sure you model a ‘you can do it’ attitude for your child when he meets some of life’s curve balls.
• Look for teachable moments. Many kids’ learning opportunities are disguised as problems. Make the most of these opportunities so that kids can grow and learn from some of the challenges they face.
• Make kids active participants in the family. Active participation in a family develops the self-help, problem-solving and independence skills of kids that are necessary for resilience.
• Build kid’s coping skills. There are plenty of strategies you can pass on to kids to help them cope when life doesn’t go their way, including acceptance, getting away for a while, and normalisation.

Promoting resilience in kids is a not a single event but a continuous process that requires adults to be supportive and empathetic when things don’t go their way. It also requires you as a parent to have an understanding of resilience, so you have faith in yourself, and your child’s ability to cope. The link below has 7 wonderful points on how we can build resilience in our boys and it is well worth the read.

A number of our boys have shown great resilience in their chosen fields to overcome many hurdles placed in their way to go on and represent their state and for a select few their country. Harrison Tul is one such student. Harrison will travel to South Africa later in the year to represent Australia in the world championships in the sport of trampolining. It has been a long journey for Harrison which did not have its origins on a trampoline. Like many in the sport Harrison comes from a gymnastics background where he learnt the trade of tumbling, bouncing and twisting his body into as many unnatural positions as he could. It wasn’t until 2009 that he formally got involved in the sport of trampolining.

Artistic gymnastics had a large influence on Harrison as he always loved going on the trampoline at practise. One day when he was messing around on the trampoline his coach said, “there may be a future in in trampolining for you”. Harrison now trains twice a week on a tramp with extra sessions in the gym. This is a reduced load to allow him to cope with the demands of his VCE.

Harrison was the Victorian State Champion in the 17+ division in 2012 winning the Individual Trampoline, Synchronized Trampoline and Double Mini Trampoline sections. It hasn’t always been easy with Harrison suffering a number of serious injuries to get to the stage in his career he has shown great persistence and both physical and mental resilience to achieve what he has thus far and we wish him every success later this year when he represents his country.

Harrison is certainly not the only student to have had success in their chosen field – the following students in our own school have achieved state or national level representation and there is probably more that we are not aware of. In the coming weeks we will run articles on these boys to celebrate their wonderful achievements.

State Representatives
Koji Campitelli (Baseball)
Josh Lean (Baseball)
Jack Daniels (Baseball)
Gehan Seneviratne (Cricket)
Ethan Andrews (Hockey)
Peter Sio (Rugby,Athletics)
Harrison Tulberg (Trampoline Gymnastics)
Griffin McPhee (Hockey)
Casey Henderson (Hockey) currently playing in Canberra
Christian Theoharous (Soccer)
Anthony Parveris (Tennis)

National Representatives
Christian Pansino (Ice Hockey)
Athan Dritsas (Judo)
Dean Dritsas (Judo)
Alec Kumar (Taekwon-do)
Max Barrett (Baseball)
Mitch Holding (Baseball)

As can be seen it is a vibrant and dynamic community to which we belong and whilst it takes a lot of energy, it also brings much joy to us all.

Have a great week and God Bless.

Robert Brennan