The Year 7 Community Connection Day morning session focused on the themes of racism and Reconciliation Week. This event was organized to educate and engage students on the importance of cultural understanding, respect, and reconciliation in Australia. Activities and discussions aimed to foster a deeper awareness of the historical and contemporary issues related to racism and the ongoing efforts towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The sessions concluded with students making a commitment to action through personal pledges or prayers, written on coloured circles, on how they will contribute to reconciliation and combat racism in their daily lives. These were placed in the centre of St Brigid’s Chapel during the final liturgy. The circles were used to create an Aboriginal flag display in the Year 7 area – a reminder that reconciliation is relevant all year round. One of the key outcomes for the session was an increased awareness whereby students gain a deeper understanding of the historical context of racism in Australia and the significance of Reconciliation Week. This awareness is crucial in fostering a more inclusive and respectful school environment. This initiative is expected to have a lasting impact on the students, encouraging them to be active participants in the ongoing journey towards a more just and inclusive society.

After recess, the students met in their respective wellbeing classes and took part in a careers session which required them to complete a ‘Character Strengths’ online survey. These Character Strengths are the positive parts of our personality that impact how we think, feel and behave. By taking the survey, the students discovered their unique character strength profile (24 Character strengths in total). The top five character strengths were then used to create a poster for the classroom by each student.

Prior to lunch, the students took part in a very special session where they wrote ‘A Letter to my Future Self’. This letter is stored away and re-opened on the Year 12 Retreat Day, which for the Year 7 students, will be in 2029. Some letter prompts are as follows:

What are your hopes today?

What are your dreams at Clonard?

What is your vision as your Year 12 self?

Perhaps you have a vision of the kind of friend, daughter, leader, sportsperson, artist, musician, scientist etc you think you will become.

Four of the Year 7 classrooms were then opened for a shared lunch of hot chips. This treat was warmly received by all students and staff.

After lunch a small number of students headed off to take part in various GISSA sports. The Year 7 students remaining, were placed in six groups. Every group had students from across the six Year 7 Wellbeing classes. Prior to the day, the students learned a ‘Yulunga Traditional Indigenous Game’ within their wellbeing class. On the day during the afternoon, students then had the opportunity to teach their game to members of their group.  There was lots of laughter and new connections made with students from other classes.

Student comments:

“My favorite memory was probably the writing the letter to your year 12 self”. Niamh H 7G

“The best part was when we all had to work together as a team and if we didn’t the game wouldn’t work properly, and I enjoyed that we had to work as a team”. Gabriela M 7Y

“I really enjoyed meeting new people and getting to know a bit about them”. Kasey Mc 7W

“What most surprised me most was how fun the games really were and it showed as all about how team work is the key to having fun in the game”. Phoebe A 7W

“The best part was the hot chips we got, and the games were really fun”. Jasmyn D 7B

Project Rockit

Week 7 commenced on a positive note with the Year 7 students attending a fun session conducted by presenters Giaan and Ruby from ‘Project Rockit’.

The session was called ‘Connection.‘  Giaan and Ruby explored the positive potential of technology, upskilling the Year 7 students to build connected communities, support their wellbeing and ways to navigate harmful experiences when online.

The big Idea of the session was that ‘every choice made online has an impact, so the impact you make is up to you’. It was a fun and interactive session in which the students learned strategies to help them navigate the online world. 

Student comments:

“I learned that there are websites to help kids and people when something on the internet is not appropriate”. Maryam A 7Y

“I learnt some more about how to be safe online and how sometimes it good to just have a break from your phone”. Rubi S 7W

Year 7 I CAN Network Visit

On Friday 24 May, the Year 7 students had the wonderful opportunity to participate in an incursion run by the I CAN Network. 

I CAN® is Australia’s largest provider of autistic-led group mentoring and training programs. The school program empowers young people with an ‘I CAN’ attitude that provides motivational talks to students about neurodiversity, acceptance, and inclusion.  

During the incursion, Cylan and Lauren delivered their own personal stories of living with autism and what their school life was like. Our students brainstormed ways that Clonard can become more inclusive and played many fun games to connect with each other and develop self-esteem.  

Big thanks to the I CAN Network.

Student comments:

“I now know a bit more about Autism”. Amberly F 7Y

“I learnt about what challenges people with autism have”. Georgie W 7W