2020 has been a year of firsts for the Waverley College Cadet Unit (WCCU). The Unit has joined forces with cadets from another school – St Catherine’s – and transitioned to online training in the face of COVID-19. We caught up with Commanding Officer MAJ (AAC) Julie-Ann de Kantzow to find out more.
WCCU’s partnership with St Cath’s is really exciting. Cadets has always been an inclusive co-curricular activity. The boys and girls are learning to develop healthy working relationships with each other, but still benefitting from the merits of their single-sex education. Their interactions reflect the professional relationships they’ll encounter at university and in the workforce. It’s promoting socialisation as well as fostering an appreciation for work ethic, competence and professionalism.
The Cadet program is designed to build young peoples’ tenacity, resilience, initiative and leadership qualities. Through collaboration and team work, our cadets learn that leading, serving and working with others can be challenging but also deeply rewarding. We recognise that leadership comes in many different forms, and the new program gives every cadet the chance to shine, to lead by example and to serve with integrity.
The boys have really been looking forward to this new initiative. The girls joined us at parade for the first time at the beginning of February, before we started our COVID-19 online learning journey.
On the day, the heavens opened and they were stuck in gridlock traffic. I’m proud to say that our first parade was a real success; the boys displayed exemplary behaviour as they waited patiently to welcome St Cath’s.
It was an intensive three-day course for senior cadets, designed to bring the girls to the rank of Corporal. This means that they now have the knowledge required to be able to lead a section of junior recruits on Friday afternoons and on camp when things return to normal. The girls had to work hard. They rose to the challenge and performed admirably. We were fortunate enough to be visited by the Commander NSW 2nd AAC Brigade, COL Tara Bucknall, who presented the girls with their Corporal rank slides.
Before we moved to off-campus learning, all companies were busy learning how to put up hutchies and prepare ration packs in preparation for the Annual Field Exercise (AFX), as well as focusing on the importance of health and hygiene in the field.
Due to the virus, we moved training online, to a Cadets Google classroom. During challenging times like this, it’s particularly important to uphold our values of courage, initiative, teamwork and respect. The Unit has made a stellar effort in this respect, adapting to a different mode of learning, commemorating our service personnel from their homes for Light up the Dawn on ANZAC Day, and continuing to follow the Cadets Code of Conduct during a period of uncertainty. I really do commend them.
The AFX is a five-day camp in the field at Douglas Park – and the perfect opportunity for our cadets to put their skills into practice every year. Our senior cadets plan a week full of engaging and challenging activities, and lead the Unit over the course of the week. We’re continuing our preparation online, and looking forward to the day that we’re able to return to the parade ground and the field.
Thanks for your time, MAJ de Kantzow! We look forward to seeing WCCU back on parade too.