On 24 May, our Years 5 and 6 students: Ellis Cario, Marcus Juhasz, Flynn Gilmore, Ben Mayne, Max Pargeter, Rhys McEvoy, Noah Nunn, River Sullivan, Jacob Pelletier, Jake Mussett, Lachlan Moore, Arlo Buchanan, Tom Brown and Luke Haddock combined to enjoy National Simultaneous Storytime being read to by our charismatic senior boys, Tom Hughes, Charlie Murphy, Conor Andrews, Bertie Cottel and Harrison Rimell.
Held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), each year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, is read at the same time in educational spaces such as schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, as well as in bookshops, libraries and even family homes!
For NSS 2023 our students were able to join in with over 2 million participants. Wow!
NSS for 2023 had the special guests of Indigo and Bubba resident sloths from the Singapore Zoo join their zoo keeper in a special video reading; we had the author and illustrator read and draw live from Sydney Zoo, with the great audience of Koalas and local primary school students, and not to mention another reading from the zookeepers at Marwell Zoo who read to ‘Santas’ their resident sloth.
This year, Ms Tamara Bliznjakovic (Waverley College Library Technician) creatively organised this fun-filled event in The Grange Building for Waverley College, which promoted the age-old value of reading and literacy via the Australian children’s book The Speedy Sloth by Rebecca Young (author) and Heath McKenzie (illustrator).
Our senior boys were such pros! Their expressive reading and animated faces brought this book to life, illuminating the concept of perseverance and courage with colour and humour:
“It was finally time for the event of the year, Spike couldn’t believe it—The Great Race was here! The other sloths said it couldn’t be done, but Spike didn’t care, she was ready to run!”
And nothing beats books read with zesty lemon homemade muffins, fruit straps and iconic Aussie Tim Tams.
Click here to view our certificate of participation
On Thursday, Ms Barrie and I were lucky enough to spend the day with Year 10 Applied Philosophy and Year 11 Extension English students at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. The excursion had been meticulously organised by Mr Roberts who has attended the Festival many times over the past few years.
We were treated to three wonderful and varied sessions; how to formulate an argument in a clear and concise way by champion debater Bo Seo, the importance of Shakespeare in our world today with Laura Murphy and Joanna Erskine, and finally, the importance of reading and studying literary works with academics and experts Michael Parker and Fiona Morrison.
The boys were enthralled by the buzz of the event, where large numbers of students listened and asked questions of the speakers.
Below are some student reflections on the sessions.
During the day at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, students from Years 10 and 11 were able to develop their understanding of the world through the lens of literature by engaging in three keynote lectures. The first session was given by Bo Seo who is a two-time world champion debater and former coach of the Australian and Harvard debate teams. As a debater, I was able to relate to all the analogies Seo gave.
He dissected the forms of features of a formal debate and applied them to an everyday argument, thus everyone was able to relate to the metaphor as a whole. Seo invoked the cruciality of dialogue in our social media-saturated society, by understanding the components that develop an argument into a case. He spoke about the art of articulation and how this is essential to maintain the audience’s attention and further convince them of your point of view.
Bo Seo also touched on how to apply ethos (ethics), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic) to an argument, and really break down a discussion point into several separate conversations. Debating was used continuously throughout the presentations as a metaphor for life.
The most notable point of the presentation was the importance of listening. Listening to one another’s point of view on a certain topic allows you to reconsider your own perspective, but may also allow an individual to question the integrity of their own case, thus making their once flawed arguments much stronger to their own case.
Seo once again made this point relevant as young people’s attention span or attention quotient (AQ) diminishes as a result of the short-form media content that adolescents are uncontrollably exposed to on a daily basis, people are listening less. Thus the art of debating is becoming critical in shaping young thinkers, and listeners, of the future.
Laura Murphy (Shakespeare-inspired composer and lyricist for The Dismissal) and Joanna Erskin (playwright, producer, Head of Education at Bell Shakespeare, NIDA graduate), spoke around the adaptation of Shakespeare not being a new idea, whereby, his works have been adapted in modern pieces and displays observed today.
Re-imaginings or takings of essence from Shakespeare contribute to today’s entertainment significantly. Shakespeare adaptations feed into modern Australian entertainment and continue to do so frequently. Laura Murphy observes the innate interest of infusing past works with an essence of your own, recognising Shakespeare’s transcendent nature and legacy.
Joanna Erskin believes that there is no piece or work that defines the constructs of humanity, the beauty and flaws of our existence than Shakespeare’s. Shakespeare is illuminated as a thief, stealing ideas and essences of work around him, whereby he simply took it and made it better. Thus, we have the capacity to alter his work and make it our own, resonating our ideas with his in future works. There is an inherent value in staging his works and altering them for future entertainment.
The third and final talk of the Writers’ Festival was entitled ‘Why Should We Study This Rubbish?’. The speakers were experts in education and literature and provided a thought-provoking, new perspective on why we should read, how we determine what texts are considered one of the “greats”, and whether or not those books are worth studying in the modern era.
The fascinating talk delved into the world of reading in our current society, a world laced with new technologies, new ideas and new distractions. With this in mind, speakers Michael Parker and Fiona Morrison recommended various new books to add both to a literary canon that fits the 21st century and to our own reading lists. Books such as Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go came highly recommended to add to our bookshelf.
The talk also dived into the advantages and disadvantages in studying these bulwarks of Western Literature. Overall, the talk broadened our perceptions of the power of literature and how that power can be transposed into the modern age.
Immunology, microbiology, bioinformatics, gene therapy, and medical research were some of the many career options students explored at the Garvan Institute’s annual STEM Tour.
12 Biology students spent the day moving through different labs observing research, meeting scientists, and learning about technologies being developed to inform the management of disease and treatment of disease, including personalised medicine.
The day provided a plethora of opportunities for the students to network and interact with a variety of scientists, enabling them to gain a greater understanding of medical research and the tertiary education, and career pathways which can lead them to work at a place just like the Garvan.
As part of the Year 10 elective subject ‘Applied Philosophy’, boys participated in and designed a student-led seminar. The current topic is ‘Psychology in our World’ and with this, students developed targeted questions for the one of the College’s psychologists to engage with, in a special classroom workshop.
Ms Samantha Jessen spent one lesson with the class exploring and mapping out the various expressions psychology takes in our community.
Of great interest was the pathway to becoming a psychologist and the life-giving work psychologists do. The big impact psychologists have on society and in our context, school, was remarked upon.
Various aspects of psychology were touched upon with the students engaged and excited with their learning.
Topics of psychology covered in the course included:
Bringing classroom learning alive via links to real-life community action and real-world professionals, was of great value to the students.
Mr Bill Roberts
Head of Library Services and Years 9 and 10 Applied Philosophy Teacher
Ms Samantha Jessen
College Psychologist (Years 7-12)
Last week, the Year 12 Biology students traveled to the UNSW Museum of Human Disease in Kensington to undertake a four-hour seminar, applying their knowledge and understanding of Genetics, Heredity, and Disease.
The students listened to two lectures and undertook a variety of ‘hands-on’ activities whilst exploring the museum’s many fascinating specimens.
“The excursion was an eye-opening experience which gave us an insight into the world of Biology and Human Disease.” – Darius Hall
“It was cool! The teratoma (germ cell tumour) was strange but interesting to learn about. It had teeth!!!!” – Will O’Connor
“The activities clarified future career paths. It was alarming to see the impacts of our lifestyle choices on our vital organs.” – Finn Stranix
Thank you to Ms Silvia Baylie for accompanying the students on the day.
Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that the most important human endeavour is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it.
We are so fortunate at Waverley to have students who eagerly seek to refine their skills in the dynamics of rigorous discussion. 12 of our students competed in this year’s Senior Ethics Olympiad against other teams from across New South Wales.
The very nature of this senior competition meant that the teams came to the day with a wealth of experience and knowledge. To rank highly in the competition, our teams had to marry their knowledge of ethical frameworks with advanced reasoning skills, to demonstrate a complex ability to interact eloquently and respectfully with opposing teams.
And our boys did not disappoint! The following students are to be commended on their outstanding ability to bring integrity and high regard for logical debate to the day, resulting in both teams receiving honourable mentions from the adjudicators and ranking 4th and 6th of the 19 teams that participated on the day.
Congratulations: Kayden Baker, James Birbas, Oscar Danta, Archie Godby, Yannick Hott, Ewan McDonald, James Medland, Lachlan Miranda, James Peate, Campbell Porteous, Anton Svenson, Zoltahn Szabo.
A big thank you to Mr Bill Roberts, Ms Lauren Ryan, and our hard working canteen and iAssist teams for making sure the Olympiad runs as smoothly as possible.
11 Hosp 01 and 11 Hosp 02 made Mother’s Day treats for the Junior School mums and ticked a competency box at the same time.
Students study different methods of cookery including using a microwave to heat and cook food. Along with learning about how radiation can warm and cook, students consider the safety and hygiene aspects of using a microwave.
The ‘chocolate bark’ was created, chilled, packaged and delivered by the Hospitality boys who demonstrated brilliant teamwork throughout the process.
SOTWEG brings together students who are passionate about looking after our world, not just relating to sustainability, but also about ethical and social issues.
Below are some photos of activities that happened in Term 1, 2023.
Below are some activities for your reference and participation this term.
We are supporting a recycling initiative where bread bags will be processed into oils and reused as food grade packaging. A collection box has been placed in the Senior School canteen entrance, so that students can bring bread bags from home and drop them off. In addition to delaying these plastic bags from going into landfill, the added benefit is that we may win some new sports equipment for the College!
Click here to view more information
Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) is a program designed to empower young people to take a stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about, and give them a platform to to express these issues through the media of writing, photography or video.
The Program offers enthusiastic young people a chance to have their voices heard through high-quality journalistic work. The ultimate goal of these Young Reporters is to identify environmental injustices, highlight solutions and involve the appropriate authorities to address the environmental issues.
Some of the SOTWEG members will be registering and we encourage others across the College to participate. For more information about what this program entails, visit the Keep Australia Beautiful website here.
The group meets weekly on Tuesdays at lunch and we are always looking for new students to join us. Parents/carers are also welcome to provide ideas and assistance to any activities that we will be embarking on or yet to think of, so please feel free to reach out to me directly.
Last Friday saw the commencement of the Debating season. Our first round of the CSDA competition against Marcellin College was highly successful, seeing wins across both junior and senior teams.
I want to particularly congratulate our Year 7 team who turned up ready to debate with poise and confidence in their first Senior School debating competition. Well done to Kasper, Hudson and Oisin on their deserved win against Marcellin.
Friday night also saw the annual Lawrence Campbell Oratory competition take place at The King’s School. Each year, the Lawrence Campbell Oratory brings together one candidate from each of the CAS and GPS schools to participate in one of the most prestigious public speaking competitions in NSW. Candidates are given 15 minutes to select and prepare a speech on one of three topics and present for eight minutes.
This year, Waverley’s representative was Captain of Debating, Harrison Rimell, who chose the topic ‘Everything spoken should be true but not everything true should be spoken.’ A formidable speaker, Harrison’s speech was fitting for the impromptu nature of the competition, delivering ideas about the complex nature of truth and questioning the need to know in a world where truth is often illusory.
I congratulate Harrison on his leadership in representing the College at this fantastic event.
During the second week of the school holiday break, Lachlan Miranda (Year 11) attended the 2023 YMCA NSW Youth Parliament training camp. During this time, he was elected as the Youth Minister for Mental Health. This is an outstanding achievement.
Lachlan was introduced to the Mental Health Committee and participated in a series of worthwhile group activities. Lachlan is a passionate advocate for mental health, especially the mental health of young people. As the student-representative for Coogee, Lachlan has immersed himself in politics and law, working with a committed team of student-advocates aiming to improve the Mental Health Act. Below is a piece Lachlan wrote on his experience:
“The Youth Parliament training camp was a brief, yet highly insightful experience. Surrounded by like-minded individuals who came from around the state, as far as Tweed Heads and as far South as the Snowy mountains. Opening with lectures on the structure of our state government, how policy is created and how young people are able to get involved with advocacy in their local areas. Then, the cohort of 100, split into their respective committees.
In the Mental Health Committee we discussed where our state and local areas are lacking with regard to mental health. After addressing this issue, we as a committee decided that mental health needs addressing in four key areas of our society: the workplace, our education system, the mental health committee that advises the government, as well as providing more support and knowledge for new and expecting parents.
On the third and final day of the training camp an election was held across all of the Youth Parliament students for various government positions. I was lucky enough to be elected the Youth Minister for Mental Health for 2023, not only representing my committee, but young people across NSW.
With the goals outlined previously, the Mental Health Committee and I will draft a bill amending four acts that are already in place across the state. This bill will be presented at the end of Term 2 to various NSW ministers. Ultimately aiming to benefit the mental health of many people throughout the state.”
Lachlan will meet weekly with his committee to develop a cogent Youth Mental Health Bill. We look forward to witnessing Lachlan in action in July where he will debate in NSW Parliament House, connect with elected members, and have a meeting with the Governor of NSW.
Next term, Lachlan will share his learnings and experiences of being a Youth Parliamentarian.