From the Assistant Principals
Posted: 18-Sep-2019

Damascus Students Amazing!

Over the last few weeks I have been privy to interviews and speeches as our current Year 11 student’s work through the processes of elections for 2020 House and School Captains. I am always amazed at the quality of speeches that take place throughout this process. To speak in front of audiences of 250-300 people, where one is required to promote individual strengths while at the same time potentially exposing personal vulnerabilities takes confidence and a little bit of courage. Coincidently my Year 8 students are beginning their oral presentations. While not taking place of in front of such a huge audience, the anxieties and fears are still relatively challenging for these students.

Anxiety can present itself in all sorts of forums with speaking in front of your peers one of the most common fears that individuals have. Research has shown that confronting such an anxiety has the potential for personal growth.

In my Year 8 class I was witness to a young man who, from the planning stage of his oral presentation, had his mind made up that he was not going to present to the rest of the class. While he wasn’t able to articulate how this fear was manifesting in his body, I could sense that his anxiety was heightened. While I was prepared to support this boys wishes I reminded him of the potential to grow by addressing this fear. I spoke of the security of the circle that we can make around us. The safe circle does provide security and safety but remaining in this comfort zone does not allow us to grow. Today this young man stood in front of a year 8 English class and delivered an engaging and informing speech on World War 2. He walked back to his seat with a smile and a sense of confidence that warmed the class room.

Healthy risk taking, in this case delivering an oral presentation, had the potential to allow this young individual to thrive. In fact even when healthy risks don’t work out as hoped an individual will gain a sense of resilience and increased self-esteem by just having a go. I would encourage parents to remind students of the benefits in addressing some of our fears. While recognising that fears can be far more complex than I have acknowledged here, it’s often too easy to succumb to the potential blocks that they can put on personal growth.

Congratulations to all students who were willing to ‘put themselves out there’ in the pursuit of school leadership.

Writtren By Mr. Andrew Robertson - Assistant Principal Student Wellbeing

Catholic Social Teaching in an Australian Context

It is not often well known that the Catholic Church takes seriously its role as a teacher in the area of human social activity. In some ways Pope Francis foray into the world of ecological justice with his encyclical Laudato Si (Prais to You O Lord) in 2015 has brought this to more public notice but really Catholic Social Teaching is one the Church’s best kept secrets.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference runs a social Justice desk known as the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. For decades this body has been producing a Social Justice Statement that is released on Social Justice Sunday in mid-September. The 2019-2020 Social Justice Statement is about our sometime unhealthy reliance on the World Wide Web. It is called Making it Real: Genuine human encounter in our digital world.


To quote from the forward by Most Rev. Terence J Brady DD

“People of all generations hunger for friendship and genuine human encounter because we are made for community. Our digital world enables us to be more connected than ever before, but sadly it can also be a place of manipulation, exploitation and violence. This too calls us to active citizenship because, at their heart, these problems are not technological, but rather moral. We can choose how we behave online, and we can collectively shape the online world, building a more just and loving online neighbourhood.”

Taking the text from Luke’s gospel, the document explores in a balanced way the role of the internet and social media in human life and remaining mindful it’s moral dangers and maintaining a concern of those who are unable to access its goods.

Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?
What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?
You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.
You have answered right, do this and life is yours.

Luke 10:25-28

I highly recommend the Catholic Social Justice Statement for 2019-2020. Copies will be available in parishes and from Damascus College from the start of next term.

Written by My. Tony Haintz - Assistant Principal Catholic School Culture

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