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From the (Acting) Deputy Principal – Students

(Acting) Deputy Principal - Students, Mr Steve O'Donnell

(Acting) Deputy Principal - Students, Mr Steve O'Donnell

Writer in Residence, Will Kostakis, Candidly Shares His Personal and Writing Journey

Local author Will Kostakis spent a day at Waverley College as ‘Writer in Residence.’

Will answered student questions about what it is like to be an author, the challenges faced by local Australian authors, and outlined what it takes to publish a book (a two-year process in general, earning on average $15,000 a year)!

Will also shared writing tips for students, getting students to write a joint story starter where boys did not tell the reader, but showed readers how a character felt or how a scene felt.

Will also outlined to staff and students the power of reading and how developing this skill will help in all facets of life.

The library and Head of Literacy, Ms Mary Ryan, will continue to work together to provide opportunities for boys to develop their reading and writing skills through special events and curriculum enrichment.

Will also spent time with Mr David Parnell (Head of Learning Support), Ms Sam Jessen (College Psychologist) and Ms Elizabeth Watson (Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning), and worked with a group of senior students through questions of identity and belonging.


Mr Bill Roberts and Ms Mary Ryan

Literacy Team

Will Kostakis and Year 8 in their Library Literacy Lesson

Will Kostakis and Year 10 Applied Philosophy Students

Will Kostakis Writer in Residence

In his meeting with the Year 11 and  Year 12 students, from the Waverley College Student Pride group, William Kostakis spoke about his story of coming out to his parents and grandparents, in the context of a conservative Greek family. Growing up in the closet, Will faced the challenges of restrictions placed on his expression as a young gay author, continuing into his career, in a time when conservative publishers controlled the content of material that made it to print.

Will challenged the Waverley Student Pride students to reach out and support peers, who would benefit from connecting with others on similar journeys. As leaders in the school, they have the opportunity to leave the school a place that will continue to grow as a welcoming and inclusive community, valuing growth and strength through diversity. “Courage is fake. Be strong, even when you don’t feel it, and your courage will grow.” (William Kostakis)

“I loved meeting Will, he was super nice, very easy to talk to, and great fun to chat with. I learned tons about all sorts of things, from politics, to dealing with homophobia, and even the writing industry.” (Year 11 student)

“I think it was very interesting to hear about Will’s experiences overcoming discrimination as a queer author.” (Year 12 student)

Students, including allies, wanting to join Waverley Pride should email or see their Head of House.

“Together Always. United in Diversity.” (IDAHOBIT 2023)


Mr David Parnell

Head of Learning Support

Mobile Phones

One of the biggest negative effects on student wellbeing is mobile phone usage. Waverley College has clear policies around mobile phone usage and from Term 4, most State schools will be implementing a ban on all mobile phones during school hours. We will be reviewing our current policy before that time.

This week on School TV there is a great episode on mobile phone separation anxiety that all students, parents and carers can access:

Special Report: Mobile Phone Separation Anxiety

The use of mobile phones and technology in schools has been a highly debated topic internationally, including in Australia. Almost all states and territories in Australia, have implemented full bans on mobile phones during class, recess, and lunch times, while allowing students to carry their phones during travel to and from school.

Critics argue that there is no evidence supporting the effectiveness of such bans, but this is a mischaracterisation. Studies have shown the positive impacts of mobile phone bans in schools. One study conducted in 2016, found that banning mobile phones led to an increase in student performance, with test scores improving by 6.4% of a standard deviation. Similar studies from Spain and Norway also supported these findings.

Students on mobile phones

For parents/carers concerned about mobile phone separation anxiety in their children, it is important to acknowledge it as a real issue and discuss the negative effects of phone addiction, such as sleep problems and mental health issues. Gradually introducing phone-free periods at home, setting clear expectations and boundaries and modelling healthy behaviours can help your child cope.

It is also crucial to establish a support network and seek professional help if needed. Implementing mobile phone bans in schools allows for better focus on teaching and learning, minimising distractions and interruptions.

This Special Report will help address mobile phone separation anxiety and provide guidance on supporting your child’s wellbeing during this transition period. We hope you take a moment to reflect on the information offered, and as always, we welcome your feedback. If this raises any concerns for you, a loved one or the wellbeing of your child, please consider seeking medical or professional help.

Click here to view the Special Report