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From the Deputy Principal – Students

Deputy Principal - Students, Ms Gabby Smith

Deputy Principal - Students, Ms Gabby Smith

Yesterday Sam Stewart, Lachlan Grant, Connor Andrews and Bert Cottell ably led our Years 7-12 College assembly in the Brother JP Lacey Gymnasium. After singing the National Anthem, Brock Smith presented the Acknowledgement of Country with Sam Stewart introducing our special guests: Dr Marjorie O’Neill, Member for Coogee; Mr Col Blake, Council Member of the Waverley College Old Boys’ Union; Ms Sophie Smith, Founder of Running for Premature Babies, and the Honourable Michael Cleary, AO.

At the lectern, College Captain, Lachlan Grant spoke clearly and compassionately about Refugee Week (Sunday, 18 June – Saturday, 24 June 2023). He encouraged students to both acknowledge and learn more about the journey that refugees have taken to reach Australia. The theme this year is ‘Finding Freedom.’ Lachlan posed this question: what does it mean to be free? He thoughtfully unpacked some examples of what this might mean:

  • to live without the fear of war
  • to have your basic human rights upheld
  • to live in equality and without the fear of persecution.

“Everyday millions of people across the world embark on dangerous journeys for the sole purpose of finding safety and freedom. From Australia to nations across the globe, settling into a new environment after experiencing the perils of a refugee’s journey, can also provide the opportunity to live, to love and to dream … Let us pray that here in Australia we will welcome refugees who come to us seeking a new home with open arms and open hearts. Let us show compassion and celebrate the resilience that makes up parts of our wider community. For freedom should not be an ask, it should be a way of life.” – Lachlan Grant.

Image: courtesy Refugee Week website

Image: courtesy Refugee Week website

Connor and Sam led us in prayer about peace, compassion, equality, love, freedom and acceptance, and we contributed in response: “Change us Lord, so that we may change the world.” Lachlan prayed that through the example of Jesus, we may help bring healing and hope to refugees who come to Australia, seeking a new home.

We were delighted that Dr Marjorie O’Neill devoted time out of her busy schedule to present the 2023 Young Archie Award. This Art Gallery of NSW award is open to students aged between 5 and 14 who submit a portrait for its Young Archie competition. This portrait must be of a person who is special to the student, is known to the student, and who plays a significant role in the student’s life. We heartily congratulate Harvey Smith for his ‘Honourable Mention’ for his portrait of his Perth-based grandfather. Dr O’Neill also mentioned Harvey’s achievement in Parliament:

“I congratulate Harvey Smith in year 6 Red at Waverley College on receiving an honourable mention in the Young Archie competition for 2023 with his portrait My Poppy. Harvey has really captured his Poppy’s sense of humour in his portrait as he portrayed his Poppy very much enjoying himself on Christmas Day.” (15:28): Legislative Assembly Hansard – 10 May 2023.

Harvey Smith with Dr Marjorie-O'Neill

‘Honourable Mentions’ are currently exhibited at the SH Ervin Gallery in the historic National Trust Centre on Observatory Hill until 23 July, alongside the Salon Des Refusés. I encourage you to visit to support the younger generation of Australian artists.

Ms Sophie Smith, Waverley parent and Founder of ‘Running for Premature Babies’ and Mr Col Blake, Council Member of the Waverley College Old Boys’ Union, also addressed the assembly. Inspiring all of us, she spoke passionately about her registered Australian charity supporting neonatal units in Australian hospitals, alongside Mr Blake, veteran City2Surf participant. I hope more students than ever, will take up their challenge to join this year’s City2Surf ‘Running for Premature Babies’ team.

Col Blake with Sophie Smith

Will you help give thousands of premature babies a better chance of survival by being part of this important medical research initiative? Run to save a baby’s life!

Click here to pledge your support for the City2Surf Running for Premature Babies Team

Enthusiastic Waverlian runners - previous City2Surf

Enthusiastic Waverlian runners – previous City2Surf

We also thank the Old Boys’ Union for their generous cheque for $750 to Lachlan Miranda (Year 11) to attend a NSW Youth Parliament Program camp. We are proud that Lachlan Miranda, elected current Youth Minister for Mental Health, will represent Waverley by attending a Youth Parliament Forum camp in July, and we acknowledged this prestigious achievement with applause. We thank Mr Blake and the Old Boys’ Union for supporting our students to reach their goals.

Congratulations, Lachlan!

Next, Mr O’Donnell, Director of Co-curricular, presented the Track & Field captains for 2023:

  • Track & Field Captain – Jacob Hassan
  • Captain of Track – Ryan Harper
  • Captain of Field – Connor Andrews.

We look forward to learning from their leadership.

Lachlan then introduced our guest speaker, The Honourable Michael Cleary (Class of 1958), Triple International athlete, Order of Australia recipient, Australian Sports Hall of Fame member, and the Former Sports and Tourism Minister for NSW (Labor). Lachlan had numerous thoughtful questions for Mr Cleary, touching on his favourite memories, his title as a Triple International athlete (both rugby codes and athletics!), his involvement in the local community, his 1962 Commonwealth Games Bronze medal for the 100-yard sprint in Perth, and his Order of Australia.

The Honourable Michael Cleary with Lachlan Miranda (Year 11)

Mr Cleary was clearly very comfortable on the stage and rather than participating in a traditional Q&A session, quickly launched into ‘storytelling’ mode! He spoke of his achievements conversationally and presented as a most humble person. He was philosophical when touching on moments in his life when he had ‘missed out’ on opportunities.


Ms Gabby Smith

Deputy Principal – Students