End of Year Wrap-Up
2020 has certainly been a year that we will always remember. We started the year with the very sad news of the passing of Conlon Year 7 student, Archie Perkin. Archie was an energetic and courteous young man, full of life and love for others.
For a large part of 2020 Coronavirus presented us with a new reality, not just here at school but also for the whole global community. We were challenged to think, learn and undertake experiences in different and sometimes more creative ways. The young men of Conlon House proved to be adaptable, resilient and compassionate when rising to meet the challenges and uncertainty we all faced. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
Although many of our normal school activities were cancelled during the year, it was still a very full and rewarding year. Our students quickly adapted to online learning and Google Hangouts, though fortunately to the relief of all we were able to resume face-to-face classes by early Term 2.
Again this year our Social Justice focus was raising awareness for R U OK? Day. Two of our Prefects; Joshua Conacher-Smith and Alfie Sewell decided that the best way to promote this year’s theme, ‘There’s more to say after R U OK?’ was to design and place a huge poster/notice board in a prominent position of the school so that all students could be reminded daily of the importance of looking out for their mates and also offering ideas about how to start that conversation.
On the official day, Thursday, September 10 three Old Boys, Lachlan Drew-Morris, Patrick Cliffton and Luca Moretti from ‘Turn up the Talk’ conducted a live podcast from the school which was aired to all wellbeing groups. A follow-up video was shown at a whole school assembly which included images of R U OK? Day activities at both our Junior and Senior campuses, ending with a beautiful rendition of the Foo Fighters song Times Like These sung by a group of incredibly talented Waverley singers and musicians from Years 5 to 12. R U OK? Day has always involved the whole College community and this year was no exception.
Although the Year 8, 9 & 10 camps were cancelled along with the Year 12 retreat, our Year 7 boys were able to enjoy their three-day camp experience at YMCA Yarramundi. Activities at camp included; abseiling down a cliff face, ‘flying’ across the cliff tops, hiking to the top of a mountain, camping overnight, and completing a challenging obstacle course. We also celebrated a very special Ash Wednesday liturgy under the stars. The camp was a great opportunity for the Year 7 Conlon boys to get to know each other and further cement friendships with the boys with who they will spend the next six years.
Our Year 10 students in lieu of going to camp spent their last two weeks of school involved in various activities, including Service Week, games at Queens Park, study skills in preparation for senior studies, Rock and Water activities and completing the Spit to Manly walk. Service Week activities included spending a day preparing meals at My Big Kitchen, working in the warehouse at the Matthew Talbot Hostel, completing a walk around Kings Cross with Rough Edges, completing the Kadoo walk in the National Park at La Perouse and a mini-retreat/reflection day at Centennial Park. Our Year 10 students were outstanding ambassadors for themselves and the College. It was an absolute pleasure spending time with the Conlon boys and I was reminded of a quote by Mahatma Gandhi who said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
For the third year in a row Conlon House won the inter-house competition. Our strength has always been our unity and participation in the inter-house competitions run here at school. James Medland (Year 9) was by far and above the outstanding contributor to the online inter-house competition run in Term 2. And during Term 3 we again had success in the Inter-House Touch Football, Tug-o-war, Strongman and Dodgeball competitions. Conlon’s passion, spirit and that ‘have a go’ attitude saw us again triumph in the Inter-House competition.
Conlon House continues to produce strong leaders. Our Prefect leaders for 2020; Mitchell Eyles (House Captain), William ‘Charlie’ Barber, Emmanuel Di Bartolo, Joshua Conacher-Smith, Joshua Cornelius, Hugh Johnson and Alfie Sewell continued the tradition of being wonderful role models and inspiring leaders for all students. Year 12 as a cohort probably had to be the most adaptable and flexible during this year. They adapted quickly to remote learning, they accepted the uncertainty of whether many traditional Year 12 events would go ahead and they focused on what they could do, rather than what they could not. They will have strong memories of playing their final Winter Season game with their mates in Waverley colours and they will have memories of their Year 12 formal and a very special graduation ceremony at the SCG. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our Year 12 students, and on behalf of Conlon House sincerely wish them well in all their future adventures.
Conlon House has been enthusiastically led in the Junior School by Captain, Adam Curran and Vice-Captain, Charlie Carter. These two young men are also to be commended for their reliability and strong leadership over the past year.
Congratulations to all the Conlon boys who have received a Gold Award this term and congratulations to the following students who all received awards at the end of year presentations;
Huon Groves (Dux of Year 7, Mathematics, PDHPE), Kayden Baker (2nd overall, Drama), Archie Godby (English), Lachlan Isaac (Technology), Cameron Vincent-Hull (Musicianship)
James Medland (PDHPE), Robert Muir (Musicianship), Deuchar Dezamaulds (Visual Art)
Campbell Groves (Mathematics 3, Principal’s Award for Sport), Liam Wood (Geography), Kai Jones (Industrial Tech Wood), Alistar Isaac (Music)
Jared Garwood (Dux of Year 10, Science, PDHPE, Applied Philosophy, English, Mathematics), Oliver Elliot (English), Christian Puga (Graphics Tech), Thomas Martin (Principal’s Award for Sport)
Hayden Wild (Dux of Year 11, Advanced English, Physics, Software & Design), Pat Hoggett (All-Rounder), Toby Rabinowitz (Drama, SOR 1), Cooper O’Donnell (PDHPE), Nikita Nikitenko (Mathematics Advanced), Darcy Sullivan (Marine Studies), Sebastian Van de Hoek (Geography), Samuel Kneebone (Food Technology)
It is with sadness that we again have to say goodbye to two Conlon Mentors; Mr Richard Bryant (CO10) and for at least a year Mr Matt Johnston (CO08). Mr Bryant is heading to the Northern Territory to take up a position as Director of Formation at a high school in Darwin. Mr Johnston will still be connected to the College as he is taking up a one-year teaching position at our Junior School. Both Mr Bryant and Mr Johnston have had an amazing impact on the students in their mentor groups, and will be greatly missed by the entire Conlon community.
Thank you to all Conlon mentors for their continued care and support of your sons; Ms Jennifer Hoare and Mr Anthony Gill (Junior School), Miss Suzanne Walsh (CO01), Mr Nick Brophy (CO02), Mr Paul Cornish (CO03), Mr Jean-Paul Boumelhem (CO04), Mrs Mary Ryan (CO05), Ms Kaitlyn Downey (CO06), Mrs Sherri Falkinder (CO07), Mr Adam Ballard (CO09) and Mr Chris Blenkinsopp (CO11).
Finally, thank you to the entire Conlon Community for your continued support, and hopefully we will be able to see more of each other in 2021.