As ANZAC Day approaches many people are learning more about the history of that alliance, the campaign at Gallipoli and the connections with families past and present.
I have read with some interest about the perceived commercialisation of ANZAC day by large corporations and small businesses. For some, the day itself is connected to sporting events. Clearly, the name and recognition of experiences should be respected.
It is when stories are personalised that we begin to understand more about the time of these events and the personal outcomes. I, like many others, had a family member connected with Gallipoli. My grandfather, Thomas Keddie, fought with the AIF and landed at Pine Cove, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. He sustained severe leg wounds and was repatriated to Egypt before being moved to an English hospital. He was discharged due to injury and yet joined up again in 1917 and fought in Belgium. Thomas Keddie was one of thousands whose stories are recorded on-line in the archives of the Australian War Commission.
One of the powerful aspects of studying history is in being able to use past events to promote healthy discussions around how these events occurred in the first place and how they parallel to any current situation. We never honour or study past conflicts to glorify war but rather to recognise the efforts and deeds of those who sought to serve their country. Our Year 9 students have been studying a full unit on the First World War and have done so for the past number of years. It is done with detail and fact. The College will be gathering next week to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of ANZAC day and will do so with due respect and context. We will also be part of the Manningham day for students. There are a very large number of boys and staff who will be on the Battlefields Tour in September of this year, a wonderful way of experiencing the geography and culture of those places.
Parent/Teacher/Student conferences for the Middle Year’s students will take place next week. They are important occasions where boys can discuss their progress with both staff and their parent/s. The more a boy takes responsibility for his own learning the more likely it is that he will prosper. We had a very high percentage of our Senior Years families attend the corresponding conferences at the end of last term. There was a strong sense of partnership in evidence and we look forward to our senior students putting in place any recommended strategies that would enable them to progress.
In the last In Fide it was mentioned that the College was being visited by the Council of International Schools to see if membership would be granted. Globally, membership has only been given to around 25 % of large schools who have applied. I am pleased to say that Whitefriars was considered to be in the category of school that shows a good sense of organisation and, most importantly, has shown a strong connection between the Mission and Values of the College and the reality of practice. We have now been granted member status.
Congratulations to staff who have prepared for the visit and who are the key reason for such a result. We now move to the formal stage of gaining full accreditation which will be an 18 month process.
As we move into second term we see many of our boys in the new uniform with others in the transition phase. The boys look smart and have been good local ambassadors to date in the way they present and travel.
Our inaugural Mother/Son breakfast takes place on 30 April. Information is attached to the newsletter. Given the early responses it seems that we will have a very healthy number in attendance.
On a sadder note our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hugh Cameron on the recent passing of Hugh’s Grandfather John Whittle. May he rest in eternal peace.
Almae In Fide Parentis