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From the Deputy Principal – Students, Ms Gabby Smith

Deputy Principal - Students, Ms Gabby Smith

Deputy Principal - Students, Ms Gabby Smith

Government Launches New Campaign To Get You To Talk To Your Kids About Consent

The Federal Government will be encouraging parents/carers to talk with children of all ages about consent with a new campaign launched last Sunday.  Research commissioned by the government to guide the consent campaign found that while parents/carers see consent as something important to discuss with their children, two in five wouldn’t intervene if they saw or overheard a non-consensual act.

86 per cent of the 2,031 participants agreed adults should be speaking more about consent with young people but a majority weren’t confident in actually doing so.

A third of adults said they believed the importance of consent had been “blown out of proportion,” which researchers said presented another roadblock to conversations with kids.

Find the discussion guidelines here to help navigate the discussion around consent with your child.


National Reconciliation Week 

The National Reconciliation Week 2024 theme is, ‘Now More Than Ever.’ This theme reminds us that the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must continue. It also demonstrates that the work continues in treaty-making, truth-telling, understanding our history, education, and in tackling racism.

The artwork and design represent the momentum of the theme. The chevron – a universal symbol for pointing the way – signifies advancing as one as we look towards a reconciled future; and the vibrant artwork of Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie Douglas encourages connecting with each other, understanding and continuing to move forward.

On Thursday, 30 May we held a Reconciliation Week Assembly to continue the discussion on reconciliation, to promote standing up to defend and uphold the rights of First Nations peoples and to actively reinforce the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across our continent. 

Aboriginal boys perform Welcome to Country

Welcome To Country

We were honoured to welcome award-winning journalist Stan Grant as our special guest speaker. Stan is currently Director of the Constructive Institute Asia Pacific, Professor of Journalism at Monash University and Chair of Yindyamarra nguluway at Charles Sturt University. 

A gifted and gentle storyteller, Stan shared his own journey through education, revealing a transient family life and a youth marked by poverty and homelessness. With no running water and very few books, Stan picked fruit to help his parents earn money, attending 20 different schools by the time he’d graduated from high school.

Stan Grant talks to school assembly

Stan Grant

It was Aboriginal people who inspired Stan to go to university. Starting as a cadet in journalism he lived in many places, sat in the White House with Barack Obama and “got to see the best of the world and the worst of the world.” He reminded our students of the extraordinary opportunities they have at Waverley College, exhorting them to strive forward, and not let fear or doubts hold them back. “Say yes every time someone puts an opportunity in front of you” he said. “Say yes.”

Our Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Mr Kevin Heath, facilitated an insightful Q&A session where Stan openly shared his reflections. Below is a brief window into their conversation.

Stan Grant is interviewed on stage

Stan Grant chats with Kevin Heath

Q: “After changing schools so many times, who was your sounding board?”

A: “I always had God in my life and I knew that I was loved … that has never left me, never.”

Q: “You’ve lived in a few different countries. Can you talk about some of the lowlights and highlights?”

A: “I’d prefer to speak about the highlights. My children speak Chinese, Arabic, Wiradjuri … I’ve learned that despite our differences, we are human beings first, in the image of God.”

Q: “Who inspired you to be where you are today?”

A: “My parents are my greatest inspiration. My father worked in sawmills and I used to think – where does he keep the strength to keep going? He had injuries at work. My father wrote the first Wiradjuri dictionary and from my mother I learned a love of poetry and words.”

Stan’s parting reminder to our students inspired great hope. “Where you are today will not define the person you will be tomorrow.”

 Following Stan’s presentation, we learned more about the significant artistic partnership between our Walawaani students and Waverley Council, where students created stunning artworks and promotional banners for Council’s Reconciliation Week.

In his speech, Joshua Raymond (Year 8) explained:

“During this project, we had the unique opportunity to work closely with local Indigenous artists Uncle Gene Ross and Billy Reynolds, and the council, to collaboratively create artworks that celebrate and honour Indigenous cultures, histories, our individual self, our countries and what the theme of Reconciliation Week means to us.”

Lastly, Principal Mr Graham Leddie and Councillor Dominic WY Kanak publicly recognised the remarkable contribution of these 22 students from Years 5-11, inviting them to the stage to receive the Principal’s Award for their outstanding work in the Walawaani, Waverley Council Art Project. We acknowledge Ms Matilda Brown, Ms Rebecca Rodwell and Ms Jenna Turnbull (Visual Art teacher) for their stellar contributions to this consequential creative project.

These Reconciliation Week banners are currently displayed on Birrell Street, Bondi Junction Mall and Campbell Parade with individual student artworks on display at Waverley Library galleries 27 July – 22 August 2024. Do take the time to check these out!

Indigenous Round

On Saturday, we come together for our annual Indigenous Round, a vibrant celebration of culture through sport and community. We hope to see as many of our community members at our Indigenous Round Opening Ceremony to be held at Queens Park on Saturday at 2:45pm before the 1ST XV. Please come along!

More can be read about National Reconciliation Week here.


Ms Gabby Smith

Deputy Principal – Students