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GOODFELLAS PROGRAM

The Year 8 boys’ pastoral classes experienced the Goodfellas program on Thursday 6 May. Our interstate presenter, Jack Ellis, captured the imagination and held the attention of our Year 8 students with his personal story and his ability to challenge the thoughts of our teenagers. Some of the myths that he busted included:

  • There’s nothing I can do about violence against women
  • Real men have six -packs
  • Real men don’t cry
  • Boys punch on, then move on
  • All gamers are geeks
  • Men are from Mars, women are from Venus
  • Boys hate learning

Throughout the day it was great to build upon the students’ understanding of character strengths and their importance to making us the best version of ourselves. Leadership, perspective, self-regulation, judgement, perseverance and bravery were strengths that often came up in the sessions.

Please read below some responses from our Year 8 Student Leaders:

“I personally thought that Goodfellas was good and would have taught people many lessons, including me. What I got out of the Goodfellas program was to always go for what you believe is best for you and don’t just do something because you think it’s cool”. – Jude

“It was nice to hear such an inspirational story about Jack’s life and how he continued to do drama even though he could’ve been teased. Jack’s mindset of ‘not caring what others think’ helped him become a professional actor, painter, educator and much more and set all the boys a great example. Overall, I found the experience very informative, eye-opening and crucial for young boys and I strongly recommend it for future Year 8 students”. – Arya

“I took away a lot from the session such as being a good bloke, respect, and it’s all good to cry. Now I feel that when I get emotional its perfectly fine to let it all out and sometimes it’s better to let out your emotions”. – Andrew

“I felt that things he talked about were very relatable to all of us. Learning what a good leader looked like and how to be a good leader was very helpful and interesting to me as some of the points that he raised will really help me develop as a leader”. – William

“I found it interesting that he didn’t just give up entirely on his dream when he was injured, but he followed another path and started aiming for another passion. And when he didn’t succeed in acting, he kept trying and eventually got into one of the best acting schools in the world. What I learnt from his speech was to not give up on your dreams”. – Phoenix

Mr Paul Flaherty, Year 8 Director

ENLIGHTEN EDUCATION

On Friday 7 May, the Year 8 girls’ pastoral classes were taken through the ‘Butterfly Program’ by Emma from Enlighten Education. Emma presented several sessions that focused on some of the challenging issues that face our teenagers. These included:

  • Gratitude – the effect it has on the person giving and receiving the gratitude.
  • Real girl power – empowering our young ladies to be change-makers.
  • Stop I don’t like it – setting boundaries to maintain safety, identifying what is right and what is wrong, and being able to tell the difference.
  • Girl world – the role of friendships: how to make good friendship choices and how these friendships can be maintained.
  • Love the skin you are in – be able to critically evaluate the messages we receive each day.

A few of our Student Leaders shared their thoughts on the presentation:

“Enlighten Education was a really great experience for me, I learnt a lot about myself and others. I learnt that no body is perfect, and if somebody gives the impression of ‘a perfect look’, it’s not their true appearance. I learnt how to deal with an argument, by using respect to help me. When I have an argument with a friend, I now know that I can stay calm and use this method to regain my friendship. I also learnt what true friends are, they are people who put your emotions and thoughts first, and they are people who love you for who you truly are. I really enjoyed Emma coming to present all of these tips and I hope to do it again”. – Siena

“We were able to attend some amazing and inspirational workshops which were run by radio host and Enlighten Education member, Emma Georgiades. This was a very exciting program to have come to St Michael’s College. We talked about all sorts of things to help and strengthen our confidence and love for each other. We are so grateful that we were able to have Emma come in and work with us”. Avani

“Enlighten Education was very insightful in the fact we were revealed the power of advertising. I thought it was a great program for lifting self-esteem and self-love, and it was very informative with helping girls resolve conflict in friendship groups. We did enjoyable activities that helped us meet new people and get closer with our friends”. – Erin

Well done to all the Year 8 girls, you were a great audience. Hopefully you enjoyed the day and received some important messages that can shape the person that you are becoming.

Mr Paul Flaherty, Year 8 Director

EPIC CHALLENGE SHOWCASE

On Saturday 8 May, a group of Year 10 students attended the Epic Challenges Showcase hosted by UniSA. The showcase was a culmination of weeks of preparation in creating a project that demonstrated how life could be sustained on Mars. This event involved an exhibition style format where students could interact with the other teams as well as answer questions about their project from fellow attendees. One group was even able to speak with NASA astronaut, Charles Camarda about their ideas of using crickets as a sustainable food source. Cricket protein ball anyone? Congratulations to the teams involved.

Mr Adam Biggs and Ms Elli Nicola, Teachers – Secondary

View more images and videos here

YEAR 9 VISUAL ARTS

In Year 9 Visual Arts, students have investigated the process of Lino Carving and the way that street art can bring light to social issues through provocative imagery, often using irony or humour to draw attention. Students first analysed the artworks of Banksy, an allusive street artist, then picked a social issue that they were interested in which included COVID, Black Lives Matter, online bullying, animal cruelty, and the environment. The students commented that they enjoyed being able to choose a topic and design an art work that communicated their opinion. They used lino carving tools to create a block, printed a range of trials, scanned their best print and then used Photoshop to place their designs onto a wall in a street scape. The results are some very thoughtful and eye catching pieces.

Ms Tess Morcom, Design and Technology Teacher – Secondary

YEAR 10 GUEST SPEAKERS

On Friday 30 April, Year 10 history students were privileged to hear from two guest speakers about different aspects of WW2. Historian, Peter Ingman who is an expert in Australia’s involvement in WW2 and Andrew Steiner, OAM, a Holocaust survivor who spoke to the students about his experiences of living in nazi occupied Hungary during WW2. At the end of last year the Adelaide Holocaust Museum and Andrew Steiner Education Centre was officially opened. Andrew continues to share his story of survival and his important message about people not being a bystander to injustices around them. Year 10 students Poppy Benson and Isabella Agnos shared their reflections on Andrew’s moving presentation:

“I was very emotional throughout the presentation, as I imagine a day to be wasted if I don’t spend it spreading positivity, love and compassion. The presentation sparked a dream within me, to educate young people on genocides and mistreatment that occurs around the globe. The Holocaust is an example of what can happen if people lose empathy, compassion, and trust in each other. If students do not learn of how important these things are to create a socially just and equal society, then this tragedy will always be a possibility”. – Isabella Agnos (10PC-02)

“I believe that it is important for these stories to be told in order for future generations to realise how traumatic the Holocaust was, but it also reflects on the issues that happen in our society today. I believe that we could all take a valuable lesson away from the talk. Whether it be about loving one another for who we are and not segregating by our culture or religion, or if it made us realise how much the older generations had to endure to get to where we are today”.Poppy Benson (10PC-01)

Ms Stacey Moros, Head of Department – History – Secondary

VET DANCE

This week, students from our Certificate III VET Dance program spent a couple hours with Dance Physio, Jen Guest, from Smart Health Training.

Jen spoke about different body types, demands of the profession on the body and shared with us about her work.

The students were all given an individual assessment and gained a greater understanding of their bodies abilities and idiosyncrasies. Students were then able to finish writing their conditioning programs with expert advice from Jen.

Jen brought so much knowledge, humour and warmth to the session, the students were motivated and inspired to be the best dancers they can be! We highly recommend Jen for our dance students in the community if they would like to work with a Physio with specific dance knowledge.

We look forward to having Jen back again in the future.

Mrs Dani Caputo, Dance Subject Coordinator & Drama Teacher – Secondary

CREATIVITY AND MINDFULNESS IN OUR ECO GARDEN

The Eco Squad, together with our Year 12 Wellbeing Leaders, are now running creative activities in the garden. There is nothing more peaceful than coming together in nature to paint, draw, plan and create.

We will be running a mindful, creative activity every Tuesday during lunch, and everyone is welcome to join.

Our Year 8 and 12 students have been working together on our mosaic bird bath. It will become a beautiful new addition to our garden right next to the insect hotel. The next activity will be resurrecting two old wooden bins into two colourful painted garden beds for our fruit trees.

We also have herb drying and plastic bag crocheting coming up soon, keep an eye out on the notices for more information. We look forward to seeing more friendly faces in our garden this term.

Mrs Robyn Palmer, Sustainability Officer

CO-CURRICULAR OPPORTUNITY

Attention budding diplomats!

Are you a Year 9 to 12 student who is interested in issues facing Australia and the world?

Evatt is a Model UN Security Council competition for students in Years 9 to 12. It aims to educate young people about Australia’s place in the world and empower them as active citizens by developing negotiation, teamwork, public speaking, research, and diplomatic skills. The preliminary rounds begin in Week 8. The competition takes the form of a mock session of the UN Security Council. Teams of two students debate, amend, and vote on resolutions from the perspective of the country they are assigned.

If you are interested in finding out more about being involved in this competition, please come to an information session at the start of lunch on Tuesday Week 4, 18 May in room LEC06.

Teams will be allocated one of the fifteen countries that are members of the United Nations Security Council in 2021. The students judged the most effective diplomats proceed to the next round.

In the course of the debate, students will:

  • Deliver speeches to the Council to persuade other teams of their country’s point of view.
  • Lobby and negotiate with other teams in caucus time and in a separate negotiation chamber.
  • Amend the resolution to suit their country’s agenda.
  • Ask questions of other countries like in ‘Parliamentary Question Time’.
  • Vote on the final resolution.

Above all else, Evatt is designed for students with varying interests, experiences, and abilities. No previous knowledge of international affairs or MUN debating is necessary. A workshop will be run before the Preliminary rounds to give students an introduction to Model UN, and to go through the rules of the competition.

If you would like more information, please email come and speak to me. Stacey.moros@smc.sa.edu.au

More information can be found by clicking here. https://unyouth.org.au/event/evatt-sa-2020/

Ms Stacey Moros, Head of Department – History – Secondary

YEAR 11 DRAMA

On 5 and 6 of May, the Year 11 drama class performed in their Semester 1 production ‘Talking to Brick Walls’.

‘Talking to Brick Walls’ is a verbatim piece of theatre in which plays are constructed from the precise words spoken by people interviewed about a particular event or topic. In this instance, the words spoken encompassed a series of conversations we could and should (but probably don’t) have with our parents and the importance of this as teenagers.

The show featured some originally scripted content as well as content generated by both the students and their parents themselves to explore the complexities of family dynamics during adolescence.

An absolutely fantastic experience for all involved, including a sold out show on Wednesday night!

Congratulations to our Year 11 drama class.

Ms Rhiannon O’Hara, English & Drama Teacher – Secondary

YEARS 7-9 LEARNING AND WELLBEING CHARACTER STRENGTH FOCUS

Week 3: Perseverance

The character strength ‘perseverance’ supports us in working towards our goals despite challenges that we confront, no matter how long it might take.  Though sometimes our goals can seem impossible to attain, we don’t let the challenges discourage us, and in the end we take pleasure in accomplishing the goals we set ourselves.

Perseverance functions as a bit of a ‘leveller’. It means that we don’t have to be the wealthiest, most popular, or the brightest person; if we persevere, we can achieve our goals. Perseverance is also connected to our ability to delay gratification or reward (have you heard of the Stanford Marshmallow experiment?), self-regulate, and practice self- control. All of these help us to keep our commitment to a longer-term goal beyond the horizon.

Perseverance is an important ingredient if we want to learn things to the level of mastery. Aristotle is credited with once saying, “excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”, something we repeatedly persevere with. This week in my email to students I asked them to reflect on what might have happened if the first time they were learning to walk and fell, they were told not to try that again!  We would never do this as parents, but in truth, if we don’t continue with our efforts to speak, walk, ride a bike, learn a new language or instrument, or overcome anxieties or beliefs that hold us back, we would all be stuck, and where would that leave progress and innovation? I probably wouldn’t be sitting at my laptop, writing this article today!

Common sense tells us failure, though unpleasant, teaches us many things. Perseverance can be inspired by allowing kids to witness us fail and reset our course and by allowing them to experience failure themselves in a safe, supportive environment. When we overcome a setback, reflect on our earlier decisions, and try again, we develop what is known as “grit”. Angela Duckworth is a noted expert in this field and in her bestselling book ‘Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance’ (2016), she discusses grit as an essential quality for success in life. She evidences that though natural talent matters, perseverance is much more critical than ability as a predictor of achievement, even though most of us may believe that we have to be born talented to succeed.

We can all think of many inspiring examples of people who have persevered and who have managed success, sometimes against incredible odds. In contemporary times we could think about JK Rowling who was almost penniless, and whose novels were rejected by numerous publishers before she found success, or Sir Richard Branson, who struggled with dyslexia and learning at school, but who went on to become a great entrepreneur and business person. Historically we could think of Thomas Edison who invented the lightbulb and changed life forever. He failed many times before making it work and is credited with saying “I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways to make a lightbulb that won’t work. Walt Disney is another person we consider to be a creative genius. Incredibly, he was fired from the local newspaper, where he worked as a cartoonist as a young man as his boss believed him to lack creativity! Disney was left in dire financial difficulties and at one time it’s suggested he resorted to eating dog food as he could not afford anything else. Through his perseverance, his amazing success has touched all of our lives at one stage or another.

In a similar way, it’s also true that we all have champions of perseverance in our own lives we could mention. One of my past students fought a hard battle with cancer many years ago now. He was so determined and even had a permanent reminder tattooed on his forearm, ‘tieni duro, non mollare mai’ meaning ‘never quit, never surrender’. He epitomised perseverance and I remember and am inspired by him often.

Another of my past students, who continues to go from success to success, humbly credits his success to his goal to ‘be a little better today than I was yesterday’. It’s a simple goal which reminds us to persevere!

Carol Dweck has long been considered to be an expert on “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. She speaks about the power of ‘yet’- a little word that loads our thoughts with hope. I don’t get it yet! In her book ‘Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfill Your Potential’, Dweck explains the fundamental difference between growth and fixed mindsets. The impact of shifting our mindset can make all the difference in the world to how we feel and how we approach challenge. She has also spoken in many TED Talks.

Perseverance is closely aligned with goal setting. It’s important as people that we set ourselves realistic goals that can be achieved and also think through the process that will help us arrive at our desired destination. We often talk about ‘SMART’ goals. It’s important to also focus with a lens of hope as this allows us to be persistent, as we look towards what is possible, and direct our energies there.

It’s interesting to reflect on how perseverance can help us in our work and in our studies. In workplace studies, perseverance has been indicated to be the strength most associated with productivity.  Together with self-regulation, and love of learning, perseverance is also a predictor of school success and academic achievement in middle school students.

Wishing you perseverance, and the positive feelings and achievements that accompany it this week!

Mrs Tonia Carfora, Year 7-9 Learning and Wellbeing Initiatives Leader

Sources:
StrengthsMining: Perseverance/Industriousness https://www.strengthsmining.com/via-strengths/courage/perseverance-industriousness/
The Positivity Project: Week 14 Perseverance https://posproject.org/blog-week-14-perseverance-2018-19/
Common Sense Media:Character Strengths and Life Skills https://www.commonsensemedia.org/character-strengths-and-life-skills/what-is-perseverance
MaConville, R and Rae, T (2012) Building Happiness, Resilience and Motivation in Adolescents.
Image source: https://brightwatergroup.com/news-articles/14-inspirational-quotes-for-people-with-disabilities/