I have been reflecting on the many events that occur in Term 1. As a School, we have a very busy calendar. It is important that we complete each event at the scheduled time to ensure we continue to offer many and diverse opportunities for our students, and that parents can connect with the School and feel included.
This is particularly important for our new students. Each of our campuses have completed House swimming, information nights, welcome back events and leadership inductions. All are vital to ensuring a well-structured beginning to our year and all contribute to the positive culture that exists at Gippsland Grammar.
Earlier this week we conducted the Garnsey House Swimming Carnival. As is often the case, the weather sought to put a dampener on things, but we persisted in drizzly, almost wintry, conditions. I would like to congratulate the students who competed and supported their House on the day. While the weather was not ideal, I did not hear a single complaint. Those involved made it a great day.
In the week leading up to the swimming carnival, I spoke to my daughter about her participation and the number of events she would be competing in; I admit that I was hoping for some return on my investment in many years of swimming lessons. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t be swimming on the day, as there were other, more competitive, girls in her age group. As a parent, I briefly wondered about the worth of this event for my daughter as a non-competitor. Was it a waste of her time and valuable class time? My daughter didn’t seem to mind and was happy to attend.
On the day itself, I chatted to students about their involvement and their willingness to participate. Most of the students I spoke to were competing in at least one event; some were not swimming at all. Yet all told me how important it was for them to be there to support their House and their peers. In particular, they had practised and were looking forward to the House chant competition for the Spirit Shield. I watched my daughter during the day as she cheered on her friends in the pool, participated in the chant and assisted, where required, with the general running of the House. The day connected her to her House, her friends and the School community. My daughter had a great day and the experience greatly enhanced her overall positivity towards her House and the School.
While the House competition is hotly competed, with students desperate to win the overall House Shield at the end of the year, the overall competition is really about connection: the opportunity to feel part of something bigger than ourselves. This has a positive impact on student wellbeing and their sense of belonging and self-worth. Every House event provides opportunities for students to compete and shine in particular areas of interest and strength, whether it is swimming, athletics, debating, public speaking, dancing, acting or music. If a student wants to compete, they can; if they do not compete, they can support. Both aspects are critically important to the culture of our School and the wellbeing of our students. It is through these events that our students learn resilience, teamwork, leadership, humility and pride.
I encourage all our families to support House and interschool competitions. Discuss with your children the importance of participation and connectedness and let’s help our children to find their time to shine - and their time to support others.