From Head of Brennan House, James Horrocks
In 2019, the Brennan House Wolf Pack has continued to experience a great deal of success in all facets of College life. To name just a few of these; we have been able to celebrate Will Cooley winning the Australian Youth Sailor of the Year and AISNSW Junior Athlete of the Year Awards, Ryan Abbott gaining selection in the Australian U17 Basketball Team and also taking home the gold medal at the FIBA Oceania Championships in Noumea, Liam Andrews was rewarded for his dedication to the College over the years by being named College Vice Captain for 2020. Congratulations also to the following boys who received awards at the end of year Presentation Day; Anton Svensson, Daniel McSweeny, Alessio Imhoff, Will Cooley, Ryan Abbott, Valentius Wirjana, Ben Walton, Bodhi Reiners, Liam Andrews, Oliver Blackett and Reid McNamara. On top of this, all Brennan House students continued to lead the way in terms of their involvement in the College Music, Drama, Academic and Co-Curricular Programs.
The strong levels of participation enabled a successful year in the various House Carnivals and House Competitions with Brennan winning both the Senior and Junior School Swimming Carnivals and displaying high levels of participation and house spirit all year round. This tremendous involvement in College activities is a testament to the drive and leadership of the 2019 Brennan House Prefect group; Spencer Kapos, Darcy Mullins, Tommy Tyson, Will Davison, Max Curry and Joshua Gleeson, who was also College Vice Captain.
Outside of the classroom students continued to grow and develop through their involvement in the College’s Outdoor Education Program. Year 7 were given the opportunity to take part in year group formation activities as part of the trip to Broken Bay. This is always a great opportunity for Year 7 students to get to know each other, with many students coming from a range of different primary schools. Year 8 had their first experience of Cadet Camp, travelling to Douglas Park with the rest of the Cadet unit. Year 9 experienced their first “outward bound” camp at Somerset, camping and hiking near the Colo River. Year 10 undertook a revised program due to bushfires. As part of this program, they visited RYDA Safe Driving School, took part in the Rock and Water wellbeing program, met with guest speaker Sam Clear, completed the Spit to Manly Coastal Walk and were taken on a cruise around Sydney Harbour. Year 11 undertook their Senior Retreat to Kiah Ridge, where they were able to reflect, plan and set goals for a successful HSC year. These camps allow students to develop important skills in resilience and allow them to engage in practices relating to self-reflection. They are always a highlight of many students entire experience at Waverley College.
The annual Holdsworth Ball, run in conjunction with the incredible Holdsworth Community, took place in Term 3 this year. From early in Term 3, a group of boys and girls from Waverley College and St Clare’s College met to plan the event. This is a huge undertaking for all involved as students are solely responsible for every aspect of the night; fundraising, entertainment, seating, decorations, and prizes, as well as cooking and serving a full three-course dinner. This year students were also able to secure sponsorship for the event that was able to supply all of the desserts for the night. This event would not be possible without the support of the amazing Brennan House and Waverley College communities. Thank you to the staff who generously gave up their time to help with the preparations and running of the night; Rebecca Gair, Tracie Ryan, Sue Walsh, Richard Bryant, Natalie Oates, and the Art Department, Garth Aird and the TAS Department, Chris Balkizas and the Music Department, Jaimi Walker, Kylie Anderson, and the Marketing Department. Thank you also to Mr Graham Leddie for taking the time to attend and show his support on the night. The Holdsworth Ball is one of the most rewarding activities that students can be involved in at Waverley College. Many parents of clients say that these nights are one of only a handful of opportunities they get to see their children interact in a normal social setting, and is something that means so much to each of them. The difference that students are able to make in such a worthwhile area of our local community is immense. Each year, the students who put their hands up to organise this event do an incredible job. They are a credit to their school, themselves and their families.
Student Formation and the ongoing growth of the Wellbeing Program has continued to be a major focus within Brennan House. In 2019, one of the ways this has taken shape has been through the expansion of the Big Brother Little Brother program, linking Senior and Junior School students together for a range of student formation activities. House Assemblies, BBQs, Daily Wellbeing Groups and guest speakers all provided valuable opportunities to come together as a house and discuss important issues surrounding student wellbeing, as well as reinforce the key values of inclusion, giving back and involvement that are held by Brennan House and Waverley College as a whole.
House Masses underwent significant change during 2019 and have become a key gathering in the Brennan House Calendar. It was wonderful to see so many families attending the mass with their sons and then coming together for supper afterwards. This night gave staff, students and families the opportunity to meet early in the year and build upon the already strong Mentor/Parent/Student relationships. I look forward to seeing this night continue to grow into next year and beyond.
Finally, a special thank you to the amazing Brennan House Mentors. The Wolf Pack is very lucky to have such a dedicated and caring group of mentors who continually go above and beyond for the members of their Wellbeing Groups. It is incredible to see how welcomed and valued the students are made to feel each morning during Wellbeing Time. In sad news, we say goodbye to two such mentors at the end of 2019, Mr Glen Mosna and Ms Suzanne Richards. These mentors have made such a valued contribution to Brennan House over their years of service and they will be sorely missed. We wish them both all the best for the future.