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Please note: This post is from our website archive. Some of the information within this post may now be out-of-date.

From the Deputy Head – Advent, major College Liturgies, risk-taking behaviours

Zach, Ben, Jeremy and Noah at "The Doctor"

From the Deputy Head of College, Graham Leddie


In our busy consumer driven world filled with the juggling of duties, responsibilities and aspirations, Advent reminds us to all slow down. The Church’s liturgical calendar begins four Sundays before Christmas with the season of Advent. Advent is a time of expectation and preparation. In the big picture, it’s a reminder to Christians that the Lord Jesus will return. More immediately, it calls believers to ready themselves for the celebration of the Lord’s Nativity.

Advent reminds and refocuses the believer on the spiritual preparation for Christmas. It’s easy to get distracted and caught in the rush and so Advent tempers pre-Christmas celebrations, calls for resolutions, encourages prayer, and redirects energies toward leisure and a quieter, calmer walk to the Lord’s Nativity.

Encourage your son to slow down over this time, read that book he has been putting off, reconnect with nature, assist more around the house or support his local community with those less fortunate (the College’s connection to Matthew Talbot centre continues over the holidays).

We want your sons back safely

Holiday time for some adolescents, particularly boys, is a time where their risk taking can increase. Please ensure you stay connected to what he is doing and where he is. The Police in the eastern suburbs recently stated at a school’s forum that they are very surprised at how many children are allowed to roam free, hang out in parks or by the beach at all sorts of hours and participate in antisocial behaviour.

A dangerous game that is getting some momentum both overseas, in Australia and amongst some of our students is described as the fainting or strangling game, whereby a boy either suffocates himself or others with belts, ropes, or their bare hands. This cuts off the flow of oxygen to their brain and causes an intoxicated feeling when oxygen rushes back into the brain. The consequences can be deadly with many examples of loss of life from practicing these actions. Boys as young as ten are taking this momentous risk with their life or the risk of permanent brain damage. They are just not mature enough to realise how terribly dangerous and sadly tragic this can be.

What are some of the reasons for this risky behaviour?

  • Peer pressure, a challenge or dare, a rite of passage into a social group or amusement over erratic behaviour.
  • Curiosity in experiencing an altered state of consciousness, the experience of a greyout, or an imagined approximation to a near-death experience.
  • A belief that it can induce a brief sense of euphoria (a rushing sensation or high).
  • The prospect of intoxication, albeit brief, at no financial cost.

Please have a serious talk with your son about the risks of applying pressure to the  vulnerable carotid artery and the vagus nerve running parallel on its left. Some warning signs to look out for in your son are bruises around the neck, blood shot eyes and frequent or severe headaches.

Start of the College Year 2017

Wednesday 1 February – All Year 5, 7, 12 and new students from other year levels

Thursday 2 February – All other students

Year 11 and 12

As part of the Wellbeing program in 2017, all students will participate in Wellbeing time with their mentor at the start of each day (8:40am). This will require any Year 11 or 12 student to be on campus for the start of the day and attend all scheduled lessons. Year 11 and 12 students will however be permitted to leave the campus if they have a scheduled Period 6 Study throughout the week. Students will be required to sign out via the Wellbeing Centre.

Major College Liturgies Term 1

Thursday 9 February: Commencement Mass 9am on Campus

Friday 24 February: Aungier House Mass 8.15am College Chapel

Wednesday 1 March: Ash Wednesday on Campus

Friday 10 March: Brennan House Mass 8.15am College Chapel

Friday 24 March: Conlon House Mass 8.15am College Chapel

As well, on weeks where no major College Liturgy is scheduled, Mass is always celebrated each Tuesday at 8.15am.  To these Masses and any of our liturgies at the College, parents and families are always welcome and encouraged to attend.

Congratulations to our Ocean Paddlers

Well done to Noah Havard (Year 10), Jeremy Heys (Year 12), Ben Walker (Year 12), and Zach Havard (Year 12)  who all recently competed in Australia’s longest Ocean Ski paddle race known as “The Doctor”.  This race starts at Rottnest Island, Western Australia and has competitors paddling for 27.5km back to the mainland to finish at Sorrento. The boys’ results could see all of them included in the Australian team for the ICF world championships in Hong Kong next year – congratulations!


I have enjoyed my first year at Waverley immensely and look forward to next year. I wish all families and members of our community a safe and holy Christmas break and look forward to working with your son and you in the New Year.