Amidst the prevailing concerns about the rise of a second wave of COVID-19 occurring at such a crucial time of year, there are moments of real joy and inspiration that issue from our students. Watching a band rehearsal or observing the first netball or hockey match for a Year 7 Barker team are among these moments. Visiting classes and seeing inspiring learning occur, or overhearing the energetic voices of Year 6 students whose groups wrote a “Book in a Day” and raised $14,000 for the Kids Cancer Project in the process, are the kinds of events that happen every day, as I have shared with you before.
I enjoy receiving emails from students, something that happens from time to time. Usually, the emails contain requests or advice about how to improve some aspect of school life. Late last week, a student sent me this about the Personal Interest Project we conducted over March to May during the COVID-19 lockdown. I was incredibly moved.
Dear Mr Heath,
This is a little late but I felt it was needed that I said a huge thank you for the organisation and excitement around the PIP project. Through isolation my paints were out the whole time for one idea to the next and I was very grateful I got to showcase my work.
I struggle with the learning side of school and it was very hard to stay motivated through isolation but I was eager and excited around the PIP and genuinely enjoyed the project.
I am the first of my family to come through Barker and let me tell you, I will not be the last. From the loving support of the learning support staff (especially Karen Romer) and the support from my Head of House, Simon Walker, I feel truly loved and cared for and that school can finally be a safe place.
I read once that the true definition of home goes beyond a physical address. Home is a place where one’s spirit is secure and safe. For our Aboriginal families, home is Country – where the spirits of ancestors and stories enter their consciousness.
Home is somewhere a person is truly known and (yet) truly loved. To be both known and loved in this world is a gift of incalculable value. This is what I want to see every day at our School.
The student who wrote to me confided that they “struggle with the learning side of school and it was hard to stay motivated…” Struggle does not negate the sense of being “at home” if somewhere in the midst of the struggle is the sense of loving care from people who know you and love you.
Reach out to your class teacher, Head of House, Chaplaincy team, Connect Group Leaders, sports coaches, Counselling team, Deans, Heads of School or me to ensure that Barker is home. In the meantime, thank you for continuing to support our efforts to make Barker a safe place for everyone in every way.