International Women’s Day (Wednesday, 8 March), is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The College celebrated this day with a morning tea at each of its campuses and at assembly this week.
We particularly acknowledge and thank the women that enable Waverley College to thrive and to seek to be better, more equitable, fairer and more responsive to the inequities that exist across Australia and the globe.
The United Nations theme this year for International Women’s Day is ‘innovation and technology for gender equality’.
Today, a persistent gender gap in digital access keeps women from unlocking technology’s full potential. Their underrepresentation in STEM education and careers remains a major barrier to their participation in tech design and governance. And the pervasive threat of online gender-based violence—coupled with a lack of legal recourse—too often forces them out of the digital spaces they do occupy. We are all challenged to play our part in making the digital world safer, more inclusive and more equitable.
The Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (WGEA) is an Australian federal law that aims to promote and improve gender equality in the Australian workplace. The Act applies to non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees, and requires them to report annually on their gender equality performance.
Waverley has a strong commitment to gender equality and promotes gender equity and advancing the rights of women and girls and creating a more inclusive workplace and environment. The 2023 College data shows that the College has made progress towards achieving gender equality and has good reason to be proud of our efforts.
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We would like to remind you that our CANVAS Learning Management System is open for Years 5-12 parents and carers, in lieu of a Term 1 progress report.
>>> Click here to view Ms Porter’s full article on this.
Good luck to our Years 5, 7 and 9 students for their NAPLAN tests which begin next week.
>>> Click here to view Ms Lynsey Porter’s full article on this.
>>> Click here to view Mr Chris Soden’s article and to make a booking from 9am on Saturday, 11 March.
‘Kids Giving Back’ is a charity whose mission is to create the next Generation of Generosity. Their programs are delivered for children 6-18 years old and their families, and offer opportunities to assist vulnerable people in the community.
Thank you to the following students who participated in one of their programs during Term 4 of 2022, and over the Christmas holidays.
Interested students can find more details on their website www.kidsgivingback.org
The Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (the Department), would like to notify you that a request has been made for your child’s school to provide residential address and other information as required under the Australian Education Regulation 2013.
The College is required to provide the Department with the following information about each student at the College:
>>> Click here to view more information.
Today we celebrate St. Patrick, the fifth-century bishop and patron of Ireland, whose life of holiness set the example for many of the Church’s future saints.
St. Patrick was able to use his knowledge of Irish culture and the traditions and symbols of the Celtic people, to help explain Christianity in a way that made sense to the Irish and was thus very successful in converting the pagan people of the time.
The shamrock, which St. Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity, is a symbol that has become synonymous with Irish Catholic culture. St. Patrick is most revered for bringing Christianity to Ireland, and the foundation he built for the generations of Christians who followed him.
With the College’s founder, Edmund Rice being Irish, the day holds an obvious connection to Waverley along with St Patrick’s life of sacrifice, resilience, and prayer being very relevant for a Catholic community in the 21st century.
Thank you to the many parents/carers who baked cakes and sweets for sale at the St. Patrick’s Day cake stall organised by Ms Sue Walsh and the Identity and Mission Team, along with Year 12 prefects. All money raised will go to the following charities;
Congratulations on such a positive start to the NAPLAN testing period on Wednesday with the Writing component.
The remainder that the test sessions are scheduled for next Monday, 20 March to Wednesday, 22 March, as per the testing timetable which is available in the link below.
>>> Click here to view the Senior School NAPLAN timetable.
Students are reminded to bring their charged laptops, headphones and a pen.
Congratulations to both our swimmers and divers who both took out fourth position in last evening’s CAS competition. Both teams performed with great spirit and enthusiasm. Thank you to Ms Nicola Silsby (Swimming convenor), Ms Kath Knowles (Diving Convenor) and Mr Nick Nezval (Head Swimming Coach) and their respective coaching teams for all of their hard work throughout the season. We congratulate Knox (Swimming) and Trinity (Diving) on their respective wins.
We hosted young leaders from around the Eastern Suburbs last week, and welcomed Independent Member for the Electorate of Wentworth, Ms Allegra Spender MP. Ms Spender encouraged the young leaders to be authentic, values based leaders who call and empower others to make meaningful change.
As part of our PDHPE program and student wellbeing program, every Year 9 student participated in a short program of Ballroom Dancing under instruction from the Joan Carmody Dance Academy.
Along with students from St Clare’s College, our students participated in lessons in preparation for an evening of dance on Wednesday evening. I would like to congratulate our Year 9 cohort on their dress, manners and spirit to participate in such a positive way.
I received many comments of praise from parents and staff who witnessed the evening. Thank you to Mr Patrick Darvill for coordinating the evening and to the staff who assisted in supervising this great program.
Prefect Matthew Woods delivered an excellent speech at the College Assembly regarding Harmony Day, which the College will celebrate next week. Matthew unpacked the celebration that recognises our diversity and brings together Australians from all different cultural backgrounds.
View the video below that he used to support his impactful message.
Next Tuesday, all senior students and staff are invited to a lunchtime Picnic in the Centenary Quad. Students are asked to bring their favourite cultural foods to share with their friends or mentor groups. Some picnic blankets will be available and students may like to bring their own.
Prefect Jack Preller spoke at the College Assembly about the World Greatest Shave, and delivered the poignant message that 53 Aussies are diagnosed daily with blood cancer and 16 will lose their life.
He challenged us all to donate to the Leukaemia Foundation who support crucial research, and to screening programs that can change the lives of the 135,000 Australians living with Leukaemia today. The World’s Greatest Shave goal is zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035, but they can only do it with your help.
At the end of the Term, the five top donors will have their heads shaved, so if you start fundraising, maybe you’ll make the cut. You can help by donating here
Congratulations to the 1sts Touch Football team who won the Independent schools grand final – defeating a previously unbeaten St Ignatius’ College, Riverview.
Payton Tarau, Cruz Clarkin, Joseph Vonwiller, Asher Thomasyu, Cooper Taylor, Sam Johnson (Captain), Louis Johns, Vidar Sundkvist, King Manu, Keeyan Abrahams, Lachlan Algie, Darcy Standfield, Riley Donohoe, Judah Miller – Coach – Mr Tom Steel.
The Volvo Ocean Lovers Festival taps into Australians’ love of their ocean lifestyle, with the largest dedicated ocean science and cultural celebration in Australia. Their accessible and interactive festival invites all-ages to dive into an informative and relaxed entertainment-rich environment, that harnesses the power of innovation, science, technology, art and entertainment, to accelerate positive change for our blue planet.
The schedule for this weekend can be found here: program
Congratulations to Ms Martina Cooper and Ms Cath Stewart, who presented to their NSW peers at the 2023 Studies of Religion (SoR) Conference last week. Their focus area was developing critical thinking skills to achieve SoR outcomes in Buddhism.
Ms Cooper and Ms Stewart are held in high esteem across the SoR and Education community. They are regularly invited to participate at inter-faith forums, present at conferences, contribute to papers and currently Ms Cooper is on the CSSA Trial HSC examination writing committee. Their knowledge, skill and leadership in the field of SoR is highly regarded, and is reflected in the outstanding HSC results that the RE faculty and their students consistently achieve each year.
At this year’s conference, Ms Cooper and Ms Stewart highlighted the importance of students critically evaluating information and arguments; identifying patterns and making connections; constructing meaningful knowledge and applying it in real-world situations. They gave examples of how they enable their students to be co-creators of learning experiences and equip them with the skills to ethically leverage technology to generate significant lines of inquiry. (Pedagogies for Deep Learning, 2020).
As well as providing deep insight into the importance of the global competency of critical thinking, they shared two exemplary Stage 6 Assessment tasks to demonstrate how students can write higher-order responses to HSC questions. They highlighted successful strategies for students such as, engaging with the stimulus, using relevant terminology, using contemporary examples, ensuring the living religious tradition of Buddhism is evident and producing analytic responses rather than narrative responses.
They closed their presentation by highlighting the importance of encouraging students to write by hand. There is a large volume of research that supports the benefits of writing by hand. For example, Psychology Today’s (2021) paper on “Why Handwriting Encourages Better and Faster Learning” asserts that “the use of pen and paper gives the brain more ‘hooks’ to hang your memories on. Writing by hand creates much more activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain,” senior author Audrey van der Meer said in an October 2020 news release. “A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pen on paper, seeing the letters you write, and hearing the sound you make while writing. These sensory experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and open the brain up for learning. We both learn better and remember better.”
I recently spoke to our Year 12 students on this very topic. We know that Trial and HSC examinations require candidates to write quickly and legibly. An average student ought to be able to write in the vicinity of 2,500 words in a two-hour examination. It is essential that they build their handwriting capacity and stamina if they are to produce work under examination conditions that truly reflects their ability and knowledge.
I read an article by a physiotherapist who said that attaching weights or batteries to the end of a pen in the weeks leading up to an examination is unlikely to be efficacious, but that regularly writing using pen and paper for the next six months is the only way to develop this critical motor skill.
Congratulations once again to Ms Cooper and Ms Stewart for their outstanding contributions to the SoR, Education and Waverley community.
President Ronald Reagan argued leadership is not who is the greatest; rather leadership is the ability to “make others do great things.” The best leaders are often invisible to most, yet those leaders who are invisible make the greatest impact. In essence, any individual can be a leader.
Waverley College hosted a Prefect Leadership afternoon with guest speaker Allegra Spender MP, on Friday, 10 March. Allegra, the independent member for the electorate of Wentworth, encouraged young leaders from schools across the Eastern suburbs to be authentic, values-based leaders who are called to empower others in order to make meaningful change. She encouraged the students to face their fears and ask for help; as she articulated that asking for help is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Allegra reminded them that as leaders, they don’t need to have all the answers and she challenged students to question what success really looks like.
What resonated most, was Allegra’s understanding of ‘being effective’. Her greatest tip for young people was to choose one difference they would like to make, and to work hard every day to achieve it. Allegra acknowledged that in order to make that difference, there are always challenges. She challenged the students to be forward-thinking and to focus on the positive change they are making in their schools. The most effective leaders are those who guide, support, nurture or influence others, without seeking anything in return. When students are empowered to lead responsible and respectful lives, often they inadvertently impact others. That inadvertent impact is what true leadership is.
So whether you’re an upstander, a Prefect, a Captain or simply a friend, every boy at Waverley has the ability to be a leader. Start today, and ask yourself how can I be a leader? Remember, the invisible leader makes the greatest impact.
Ms Sue Walsh
Director of Mission and Identity
Mr Nicholas Sposari
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is well underway for 2023, with many students on track towards completing their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards respectively.
New enrolments for this year are now closed, as we are currently at capacity, with openings and registration for new students to become available in the foreseeable future.
Please stay tuned and watch this space for announcements for new enrolments, especially for boys currently in Year 8.
Compulsory lunchtime meetings are currently being held for all students involved with the Award. Boys in Year 8 are invited to attend these meetings along with any other students who would like to express their interest.
Bronze Award: Lunchtime meeting held in the Fitzgerald Room, Wednesday Week B. Please arrive promptly at 1pm to have your name marked off.
Silver and Gold Award: Lunchtime meeting held in the Fitzgerald Room, Friday Week A. Please arrive promptly at 1pm to have your name marked off.
Mr Alon Horry – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms Laura McLarnon – email@example.com
Dear Parents and Carers,
Enrolment applications for Years 5 and 7, 2025 will close in two weeks.
If you have a sibling enrolment you wish to enrol in 2025 and haven’t yet submitted an application, please ensure that you do so by the closing date on Friday, 31 March.
If your son is currently enrolled in the Junior School, you do NOT need to re-enrol for the Senior School.
If you have any questions regarding sibling enrolment please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
Congratulations to Lachlan Miranda (Year 11) who has been accepted into the 2023 NSW Youth Parliament Program as a representative of the electorate of Coogee.
Lachlan undertook a rigorous application process to be accepted into this highly-sought, illustrious program. In Lachlan’s application, he was asked to outline his leadership credentials as well as his leadership passions. He wrote about his aspirations to become a psychologist post-school and his focus on mental health. Lachlan has been assigned to the Mental Health Committee and will meet his committee members on zoom, in a few weeks time.
Lachlan will spend time in the two upcoming holiday breaks attending two camps based in Sydney. Firstly, a Training Camp at Sydney Olympic Park where Lachlan will meet face-to-face with his committee and engage in forums and workshops looking at advocacy, leadership and mental health. This will be followed by a Residential Camp week where he will spend time at Government House and at NSW Parliament House. Here he will debate in front of sitting NSW members of Parliament, engage with community and political leaders, and develop connections with his peers from across the state.
This adds to Lachlan’s ever expanding ‘parliamentary portfolio’! Last year he was selected to participate in the inaugural Civics and Citizenship Program at NSW Parliament. Lachlan – one of only 30 students chosen from across NSW – engaged with his peers around Australia, discussing the democratic system of government and the role of citizens in upholding a strong and resilient democracy.
Lachlan is very excited about his latest parliamentary opportunity and looks forward to sharing his experiences and learnings with the College community. We wish him every success in this program and thank Mr Sposari for his ongoing support and guidance of Lachlan.
Waverley has taken a small step towards a more sustainable future, with the installation of two new solar benches for students on the Senior campus. Each of the benches is equipped with solar panels that provide renewable energy for students to use while they study and socialise outdoors.
The units have built-in batteries allowing for the storage of power that can be used for events held at the College in the evening or when there is poor sunlight. A monitoring system allows us to see how much power we are generating, allowing students to visualise the benefits of solar. The benches were supplied by Furnicharge who specialise in these types of Australian-manufactured equipment.
These solar benches represent a part of the College’s sustainability efforts, as it encourages the use of renewable energy and reduces the carbon footprint of the campus. The benches are designed to withstand the elements, ensuring that it will last for many years.
In addition to providing a sustainable energy source, the solar bench is also equipped with USB charging ports, making it easy for students to charge their devices while ‘on the go’, along with four wireless charging points, and ideally located in an area where students gather before boarding buses home.
The benches are designed with comfortable seating and a sleek, modern aesthetic, turning what was a dead area of the campus into a spot for students to gather, and for teachers to use for outdoor learning opportunities.
This initiative is the first step to a wider program of sustainable projects which is being launched in conjunction with the student Ecology Group, and if successful, could see more of these installations across the campuses at the Senior and Junior Schools.
The education community has recently been abuzz with the rise of ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can generate responses to questions in real time with a simple prompt.
The question is, how will we respond?
Tools like ChatGPT are not going away, in fact, they are only going to improve and become more sophisticated over time. Whether we like it or not, this particular form of AI is now a permanent fixture of our society.
Stopping students using the tool is a short-term knee jerk reaction to dealing with AI. We cannot be the gatekeepers of this knowledge. We need to be smarter. We need to figure out a way to adjust to these tools, and not just ban them. Remember when calculators, computers, smart phones and watches, spell and grammar checkers, and Google arrived and panic ensued. “Each of these technologies infringed on the educational status quo, yet teachers managed to make it work.” (Education HQ, 2023). Educators used these innovations to supplement and enhance human capabilities not replace them.
We can not ‘un-invent’ technology, so we are determined to teach AI well. We should not be afraid of AI. Generally speaking, it has been modelled that people tend to respond to the introduction of new technologies according to their age bracket.
With the right approach, ChatGPT can be an effective teaching tool. We can help our students think about leveraging AI, and consider its applications, its shortfalls and its benefits.
As Roose points out in his 2023 New York Times article, our young people will graduate into a world full of generative AI programs. “They’ll need to know their way around these tools — their strengths and weaknesses, their hallmarks and blind spots — in order to work alongside them. To be good citizens, they’ll need hands-on experience to understand this type of AI works, what types of bias it contains, and how it can be misused and weaponized.”
ChatGPT does not need to be viewed as a threat to student learning, especially if teachers pair it with substantive, in-class discussions and creative tasks. Our role as educators is to ensure our students are critical thinkers. We need to emphasise that AI does not replace thinking, rather, enables higher-level thinking to occur. It enables thinking to be faster and better informed.
Some examples, and not limited to, of how we are using ChatGPT as a teaching tool include:
Having students generate an AI response and then compare it to an exemplary script or with the marking criteria to evaluate its level. At best an AI response is usually a C grade. The responses are not higher order; they do not include in text referencing; the sentences are simple; the vocabulary is not particularly sophisticated and the paragraph style is simplistic, repetitive and formulaic.
Some teachers are asking students to try to ‘trip up’ ChatGPT. It has flaws and limitations. Sometimes it is factually incorrect, has bias and it currently only has information up until 2021. Such flaws and limitations can stimulate a critical thinking exercise where students can fact check, refine, edit and validate with human judgement.
We are also designing assessment questions that require students to draw on a personal reflection in their response. Something that can not come through an AI-generated answer. Additionally, we are incorporating Writer’s Toolbox (WT) with task submissions which require specific sentence structures and paragraphing techniques unique to the WT program.
Currently, plagiarism software companies such as Turnitin are working on how their programs can detect AI writing to uphold academic integrity. While they have not committed to a release date, they are confident that they have the technology to address emerging forms of misconduct using ChatGPT. In the meantime, we will be addressing the ethics of best practice with ChatGPT. We will be very clear with our expectations around its use, and teach our students to use it wisely and ethically. We will educate them about the consequences of misusing Chat GPT, consequences of plagiarism and the importance of ethical decision making.
The adjustment to this AI innovation may not necessarily be easy. Sudden technological shifts, particularly one of this magnitude, rarely are. But who better placed to guide students into this dynamic new world than their teachers.
Thank you to parents, carers, staff and students who participated in Monday’s Wellbeing Mentor meetings. Academic research supports the notion that educational partnership has a positive impact on students’ cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Our Wellbeing Program was extensively reviewed seven years ago by Emeritus Professor Donna Cross, who provided the College with a strategic report regarding our pastoral and wellbeing programs, structures and curriculum.
Professor Cross has just been appointed by the NSW Government as the first chief behaviour advisor to work across Public, Catholic and Independent school sectors in a bid to improve student behaviour and educational outcomes for all students.
Waverley is a member of the Positive Educations Schools Association (PESA) and Association of Independent Schools of NSW (AIS), and we are currently working with their Deep Learning program initiative which incorporates the learning competencies (6Cs – Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Citizenship and Character) into our teaching, learning and wellbeing programs to underpin all of our curriculum. Deep Learning integrates academic skills with personal and social capabilities, and gives priorities to those capabilities and dispositions that support whole-school learning and living.
In the early centuries, Christian fasting rules were strict during Lent, as they still are in Eastern churches. One meal a day was allowed in the evening, and meat, fish, eggs, and butter were forbidden. The Eastern church also restricts the use of wine, oil, and dairy products. In the West, these fasting rules have gradually been relaxed. The strict law of fasting among Roman Catholics was dispensed with during World War II, and only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are now kept as Lenten fast days.
In addition, Catholics and other Christians often choose to give up specific pleasures, such as sweets, alcohol, or social media during Lent, as a way to foster simplicity and self-control; many use their cravings or desires for these items as a reminder to pray and to refocus on spiritual matters.
As a school, we focus on penitential practice and almsgiving during Lent, where we encourage students to support other members of the wider community and build bridges within their families and friends. There are several wonderful examples within this newsletter of where families and students can offer support. Please take the time to read these articles about:
Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with Mayor Paula Masselos and we discussed how our students and community could interact further within their local community. The following opportunities currently exist.
Would you like to learn more about the Waverley College SchoolTV initiative?
Click here to view further information
Because parenting doesn’t come with instructions, SchoolTV is a wellbeing resource implemented at our school to help support you in the challenges of modern-day parenting. Parenting is a learning journey and it’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed when faced with raising happy, well and resilient young people today.
Every family has experienced some sort of difficulty or adversity in recent times, some more than others. As mental health concerns continue to rise, there have been some alarming statistics reported in relation to the mental health and wellbeing of young people. Unfortunately, the blueprint for parenting is often based on our own experiences, but this is no longer fit for purpose in raising children as citizens of tomorrow. Parents and caregivers play a vital role in providing the guidance needed to support children and adolescents as they reframe their worries and focus more on the things they can control in their life.
In this Special Report, we are seeking parent participation through a short survey. The survey is designed to provide a barometer to help gauge the state of student wellbeing within our community. We encourage you to take a few moments to complete the survey as this will help our school know the nature and extent of your concerns and determine how best we can support families in the months ahead. Responses remain anonymous and will only be reported on an aggregated basis. You are asked to base your responses on observations made in the last 12 months.
By working together we can continue to build relationships, foster connections, enable understanding and break down barriers as we navigate a pathway towards better mental health and wellbeing for all students. Please reflect on the information offered in this Special Report, and as always, we welcome your feedback. If this raises any concerns for you or your child, please reach out to the school or seek professional medical advice.
Click here to view the Special Report
SchoolTV is conducting a national study to measure their impact on youth mental health. The goal is to better understand how they can support communities and empower confident parenting.
They have partnered with Deakin University to conduct this study. By positioning themselves with the findings of the Deakin University study, SchoolTV can demonstrate to government bodies that their platform is effective in improving the wellbeing of young people, and that they have a strong track record of success. This, in turn, can help SchoolTV secure funding to expand its reach to more communities in need, and to continue to provide vital support and resources to schools and their families.
How you can help
SchoolTV understands that parents and caregivers have the greatest influence on a young person’s life, and they invite anyone who is willing to help to participate in the survey. If you have a friend, acquaintance, or family member whom you think may also be willing to help, please feel free to share the link.
All responses are anonymous, and all data is managed by Deakin University.
Please click the button below to complete the survey
Ms Gabby Smith
Deputy Principal – Students
In last week’s edition of Nurrunga, Mr Leddie wrote about the findings of the Deakin University, QUT, and the University of Canberra reading survey titled ‘Teen Reading in the Digital Era’ conducted at Waverley College last year. All evidence pointed to the fact that our students are not engaging in reading as much as we would like. However, the students indicated that they would like to be reading more in 10 years’ time.
The question Mr Roberts and I have asked is ‘Why wait?’
Since Week 1, we have welcomed all Year 7 and Year 8 students and their English teachers to the library, providing them with the opportunity to browse the shelves, select a book and read. We have also read short stories and extracts from novels and autobiographies aloud to the students.
According to reading expert and academic Meghan Cox Gourdon, reading aloud has many benefits:
“Students who engage in ‘Reading aloud’ are used to listening, so it’s easy for them to do it. They’ve heard lots of language, so their comprehension will be comparatively strong. And they learn from experience that paying attention brings rewards. By contrast, technology distracts us and pulls us in different directions. Technology is training us to dart and react like hummingbirds, scrolling, liking, posting.”
I have personally enjoyed reading chapter 1 of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. If you haven’t already, read it quickly before it’s too late.
Over the course of these lessons, Mr Roberts and I have made some interesting observations, which may be of interest to parents, carers and teachers.
We have emphasised that the purpose of our reading lessons is to encourage the students to read for pleasure. We are not testing the students’ reading level or asking them to ‘study’ the book. We have discussed the many benefits of reading for pleasure and set reading goals. We have found careful selection of age-appropriate texts is leading to student buy in and heightened interest. We have thoroughly enjoyed watching the students on their personal reading journey. And we have learned that, hypothetically, students don’t have any problems with eating raw eggs.
It would be wonderful if our students could also ensure that they complete at least 10 minutes of reading at home on a daily basis. Cox Gurdon sees reading as, “an antidote to a world of fractured attention spans, one in which students are being increasingly deprived of what is an ancient and proven human connection”. If this is possible in just 10 minutes daily, students and teachers will soon begin to notice improvements.
For more information please send your sons to myself or Mr Roberts.
Click here to view information about the 2023 Premier's Reading Challenge
Well done to the majority of Year 7 students who have remembered to complete and bring their NAPLAN writing booklets to their library lessons. I encourage all students to ensure that they return their work on Tuesday, 7 March at the latest, as NAPLAN is fast approaching.
Students in Year 7 and Year 9 will continue their NAPLAN preparations over the next few weeks, in time for their writing exam on 15 March.