Adversity is the Catalyst for all Success

Mr Mark Richards | Director of Teaching, Learning and Innovation

Whoever coined the expression, Get it right the first time did not work in education.  How many of us ever get it right the first time?  When we work hard at something and fail, it is the genesis for all success achievement.

My favourite inventor, Thomas Edison, failed nearly 10,000 times inventing the incandescent light bulb. Walt Disney nearly went bankrupt 12 times before he saw his dreams come true. Even Steve Smith had to fail as a spin bowler before he became a runs machine.  Students will inevitably experience setbacks in their educational journey.  Learning to cope with this, to use these challenges to improve, is at the core of Excellence, and is why we place such an importance on Tenacity.  At today’s assembly it was wonderful to celebrate those students who have achieved excellence in their academic pursuits throughout 2020.

Adversity is the catalyst for all success.

Misfortune leads to fortune. Setbacks lead to breakthroughs. And hardship leads to triumph.  Struggle is part of a growth mindset and failure is a human-made illusion of a perfectly natural phenomenon. The human experience requires that we struggle for anything meaningful because it is the only way we can appreciate anything.  Failure does not exist except when the fear of trying inhibits or outright prevents any attempt to achieve our potential.  I am reminded of this everyday as I watch my two-year-old son; falling off bikes, the cuts and bruises from tripping over or bumping into doors.  Admittedly he is clumsier than most, but it takes every fibre of my self-control not to encase him in bubble wrap, to protect him from getting hurt.  I know this will not help in the long run, and indeed his current favourite phase is “no daddy”, indicating he wants to try it himself first.

The transformational butterfly

The following is a story from Earl Nightingale’s book, The Essence of Success.  It is an ancient fable that has been passed down through generations to illustrate one of the most important life lessons: why struggle is a critical component and necessary ingredient for achieving any kind of success in any type of situation.

The wise man of the village held a cocoon in the palm of his hand.

“What’s that?” The young boy asked.

“Why it’s a cocoon,” replied the wise man.  “Inside is a caterpillar that spun this cocoon.  He’s in the dark.  But when he’s ready, he’ll break out and turn into a wondrous and beautiful butterfly.”

“Can I have it?” asked the young boy.

“Of course,” answered the wise man.  “But first, you must promise that you won’t open the cocoon for the butterfly when he begins to break out.  The butterfly must do it all by himself.”

The young boy agreed and took the cocoon home with him.

The very next day, the cocoon began to tremble, and the butterfly fought hard to escape.  The young boy couldn’t bear to watch the butterfly struggle; so he broke open the cocoon.

The butterfly was exquisite and so graceful.  She soared into the air and suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, plummeted to the ground.

The boy returned to the village wise man crying and cradling the butterfly in his hand.

“You helped the butterfly escape, didn’t you?” the wise man asked.

With tears in his eyes, the child admitted that he had opened the cocoon.

“The butterfly had to struggle.” the wise man said, “By struggling he was building strength in his wings.  He was in the dark and so much wanted to get out of the cocoon.  But to escape from the cocoon and to transform his life from a lowly caterpillar to a magnificent butterfly, he had to struggle; he had to build muscles in his wings to fly.  By trying to make it easy for him, you made it harder to fly.”

What we all can learn from this story

When we are in the dark, experiencing job loss, relationship issues, health setbacks, failure of any kind, or any life challenge for that matter, we need to strengthen our muscles – our resolve – to transform our lives for the better. This requires that we work extra hard, endure adversity, and not wish for someone to come along to make things easier – to open our cocoon.  Being in the dark – not knowing how a failure, problem, or life challenge will successfully transform our lives is a necessary part of our existence. It is the only way we can become more and achieve more – and soar to the great heights we are capable of.  To always aim higher.

 

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Adopt a Boarder

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Adopt a Boarder

Getting to Know: Miss Woodbine featured image

Getting to Know: Miss Woodbine

Interviewed by Madison Kane and Kirra-Louise Kuhn Miss Katelyn Woodbine. Drama expert. English-teacher extraordinaire. Owner of adorable labradoodle, Winnie. This teacher is often seen walking …

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Getting to Know: Miss Woodbine

Interviewed by Madison Kane and Kirra-Louise Kuhn

Miss Katelyn Woodbine. Drama expert. English-teacher extraordinaire. Owner of adorable labradoodle, Winnie. This teacher is often seen walking around the school arm-in-arm with art-department head, Miss Berriman. What are they up to? Are they plotting against Mr Keevers? Most importantly, is Miss Woodbine ever going to bring Winnie to school?

These are all great questions, but unfortunately, they will have to be answered another day. This article is all about getting to know our third-newest English teacher a little bit more, so Kirra and I decided to sit down with her one lunchtime and have a conversation with our very own Miss Woodbine.

When asked if she always wanted to be a teacher, Miss Woodbine answered with an immediate and confident “Yes.” Ever since Grade 9 when she started to “assist directing some shows,” she became set on being an educator, and then “went straight to uni and ended up a drama teacher.” Well, SCOTS is all the better for it!

After we inquired about the million-dollar question “Why SCOTS?” Miss Woodbine responded with a variety of reasons, such as the opportunity to teach a large portion of drama and because it’s “close enough to family in Brisbane but it’s far enough removed that [she doesn’t] feel overwhelmed by the big city.” Her overall motive for the decision was mostly that it’s “just a nice place to be,” which is really all you can ask for in the end.

Our next question was a bit more thought-provoking, and after a bit of soul-searching (and jokes), Miss came up with a serious answer to her most rewarding experience as a teacher. “I guess for me the most rewarding thing is seeing the ‘Ha!’ moment that students have when they actually finally get something.” She went on to explain further, probably in response to our still slightly confused faces.

“So, when I’m teaching and somebody is not getting it and getting frustrated and I try something different, and you see on their face and they just go ‘Oh, I get it.’” Kirra and I both agree that it was a very noble choice of a rewarding experience, and as Year 12 students, we love when we get that moment Miss Woodbine described so aptly. She finished off this train of thought by proclaiming “That’s what made me want to be a teacher.”

Here it is. I know most of you will be anticipating this question. It may be cliché, but Miss is, in the end, still an English teacher. Unsurprisingly, we just had to ask about her favourite book. Even though she “hates picking favourites” she did (in the end) settle on just one. “My favourite book of all time has to be One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, written by Ken Kesey.” It turned out it was one of the books she studied in high school and it has remained one of her favourites all this time. So maybe there is still some hope for Artemis Fowl.

Ever the English teacher, she said it is a novel she would “highly recommend” and also “reading is good!” These were both spoken while leaning in and speaking directly into the microphone, by the way. Ah, some things will never change (just joking Miss, if you are reading this you are the best and thank you so much for letting us interview you and also Winnie looked cute today). On the topics of books, she wasn’t a fan of, Miss had to admit she had no inclination toward reading Harry Potter (despite “everybody trying to recommend it to me,”) and lived in fear of Mr Bolton finding out. Not really, but he was very passionate about that particular book series. It would have been a very interesting conversation, I’m sure…

Our final question was if Miss Woodbine had a favourite drama experience or a moment at that stuck with her. She became quite excited and was immediately overwhelmed by possible options, so Kirra quickly clarified to go with “the first one that comes to mind.” She had to say all-time her favourite drama moments are “seeing plays come together. You do the rehearsals, and you think this is never going to work, it’s never going to come together, [and] all of a sudden with the lights and the costumes everybody just fits into place. It’s wonderful,” She admitted.

Speaking of performances, the drama department is currently working on putting together a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, headed by none other than the very talented Miss Katelyn Woodbine herself. It’s shaping up to be quite the show and the cast members are already hard at work learning lines and blocking out scenes. Miss is already looking forward to seeing that special moment where everything comes together.

We hope you enjoyed this article and possibly got to know our friendly-neighbourhood drama teacher a little better than before. Keep a lookout for future instalments of “Getting to Know” to maybe learn something new and exciting about our next guest!

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Cattle Club Update

Grace McIlroy | Year 11 Cattle Club member Last weekend the SCOTS PGC Cattle Club travelled to Glen Innes, to take part in their annual …

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Cattle Club Update

Grace McIlroy | Year 11 Cattle Club member

Last weekend the SCOTS PGC Cattle Club travelled to Glen Innes, to take part in their annual Show to compete in the junior judging and show our College cattle, all of which proved very rewarding.

Congratulations to all students who received the following recognition:

  • Daniel Hughes led an Angus bull that received 2nd place in his class and later led another Angus bull which was named Reserve Champion.
  • Grace McIlroy received 1st place in Fruit and Vegetable judging and led the bull which won his class and was later awarded Grand Champion Angus Bull
  • Benjamin Carey received 2nd place in Fruit and Vegetable judging and 2nd in Border Leicester (sheep) judging.
  • Georgia Mulcahy was awarded 1st in Paraders, 3rd in Junior Judging cattle and led a heifer that received 2nd in her class and was later awarded Reserve Champion Angus Heifer.
  • Ethan McDonald led a heifer who received first in its class.
  • Mackenzie Taylor led a steer the got 3rd in his class.
  • James Buchan led a heifer that came 3rd in its class.
  • Maddie Taylor and Georgia Buchan competed in various classes in showing cattle and junior judging.

Georgia M, Mackenzie, Georgia B and Grace also competed in the “Farmers’ Challenge” and were successful victors against Dan, Ethan, Ben and James. Maddie also took the time and effort to video the challenge.

All in all, Glen Innes was an amazing experience for both the students and cattle. A big thank you to Mr Collett for organising and taking us to Glen Innes and thank you also to Mr Mascadri for coming and helping with the students and cattle.

Mr Mascadri will be taking us to our next show which is this weekend at Killarney.

 

From Girls’ Boarding

Mrs Susan Everson | Head of Girls’ Boarding Our last few weeks in boarding have had a focus on the girls building positive relationships with …

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From Girls’ Boarding

Mrs Susan Everson | Head of Girls’ Boarding

Our last few weeks in boarding have had a focus on the girls building positive relationships with each other.  As with any family, young people flourish when their relationships are strong and supportive and it has been pleasing to see the girls build the foundation for healthy and robust relationships.  Respect and tolerance are two values that are important to our boarding house and are being used a lot.

Learning to live with 54 other girls and staff teaches us about accepting other perspectives, beliefs, and personalities.  Each day we are learning to accept and celebrate differences, listen effectively and support one another.  A highlight of the week was the traditional ‘New Girls, Old girls’ concert the girls presented on Monday night.   Together in Year groups, the girls performed and enacted a variety of songs which provided lots of laughs and enjoyment for all. This gave the girls an opportunity to form deeper connections with each other in a fun-loving environment.

A ‘big sister’ program has been implemented by the Year 12 girls; encouraging a mentoring role to take place and ensure that the younger students always have a senior girl they can turn to for any kind of support.

During the last week, communication has been sent to all parents and carers to share details of the day-to-day structure, programs and initiatives for Term 1 2021. Please contact me if you did not receive this correspondence.

Here’s to another great week in boarding!

 

From Hawkins House

Mr David Marriott | Head of Senior Boys’ Boarding What a great start! There is a real sense of belonging in Senior Boys Boarding as …

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From Hawkins House

Mr David Marriott | Head of Senior Boys’ Boarding

What a great start!

There is a real sense of belonging in Senior Boys Boarding as we approach the end of Week 4 of Term. The boys have certainly realised the need to start the year well and create good habits and study routines.  In particular, it’s great to see the boys of all year levels interacting and sharing fun experiences together that have them smiling regularly. I have been particularly impressed by our Senior boys in their welcoming manner and ‘lead by example’ approach. The values of respect and spirit are certainly showing through in Hawkins House and well may that continue.

The boys are also very pleased to now have the new pool table, table tennis table, big screen TV and several new lounges across all common rooms within Hawkins House. The facilities really are impressive. In addition, it was great for staff to see that several of these items were actually constructed by the boys, working together in groups; another great sign of teamwork and tenacity. Thanks to all involved.

Going forward, keep an eye out in future Newsletters for some ‘Boarder profiles’, a great way for the SCOTS PGC community to get to know more about our boys in Hawkins House.

‘Adopt a Boarder’ weekend (26 – 28 February)

This is fast becoming a tradition at SCOTS PGC where boarders spend the weekend with a day school student and their family. This is a great opportunity for further friendships to be developed.  The weekend concludes with a Chapel service and dinner on Sunday evening, where the families are invited. I encourage families and those boys in Senior Boys boarding to make arrangements and then communicate with me directly so leave can be approved.

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From Cunningham House

Mr Stewart Bailey | Head of Junior Boys’ Boarding As we approach the halfway mark of our first Term, our Junior Boys have remained busy …

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From Cunningham House

Mr Stewart Bailey | Head of Junior Boys’ Boarding

As we approach the halfway mark of our first Term, our Junior Boys have remained busy embedding themselves in various activities and co-curricular pursuits, both before and after school.  Whether it be Sheep or Cattle Club practice, a session in the gym, training for sport or even just a stroll down to the servo for a cold drink after a long, hot day – our boys are never idle. With so many different distractions available, it can be easy to lose track of the main focus.  I have stressed many times that effective time management is critical while at school – not only is it important now, it is also an essential life skill that helps us to organise our lives as adults.

This week, I began a series of one-on-one discussions with the junior boy boarders.  We largely focussed on their goals for the year and aspirations for life beyond school. While it seems that early teen boys may not have a clear idea of what they want to do, all boys responded in a mature and thoughtful manner, with some who know exactly what they want and others learning along the way.  These conversations have been very worthwhile to get the boys to start thinking and planning for the future and it’s always a gratifying part of my role to be a part of this process. As a College, and for me personally, I’d like to reassure you that we are here to help each student recognise their true potential and I am certain that the boys in my care are up to the task.

Finally, for this edition, I’m happy to announce that our new pool and ping pong tables have arrived and are proving to be a huge source of entertainment for not only the boys but the JBB staff as well. A huge thank you to the boy boarders who spent several hours putting the tables together. More inspiring from my point of view and maybe to the dismay of some adults, they even read the instructions! Great job gentlemen.

As I have said on a regular basis, I am available for a chat at any time and if you have an issue or query, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time.

 

 

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FOR SALE: Firewood Rings

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FOR SALE: Firewood Rings

Taking a GAP Year?

Rev. Willie Liebenberg | College Chaplain Late last year and even more recently, I’ve had quite a few conversations with students about the next step …

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Taking a GAP Year?

Rev. Willie Liebenberg | College Chaplain

Late last year and even more recently, I’ve had quite a few conversations with students about the next step after their school life.  I often hear the words, “I’m taking a GAP year.”

What does one do on a GAP year?  I found this article in the Uniting Church Queensland’s magazine JOURNEY and thought it would help parents and students who may be considering a GAP year.

Activating faith in a new generation (in Features 29/11/2019)

Simon Gomersall—Director of Activate (Gap Year Program) at Trinity College Queensland—sat down with students towards the end of the year-long program to reflect on their experiences. Activate is for people between 18 and 30 years who want to study theology and apply their learning in real-world contexts. Students complete a Diploma of Ministry, undertake numerous life-skill programs, develop ministry skills and engage in mission experiences in Australia and overseas.

“Activate is such a great year,” says Lize van der Merwe, an Activate student from Toowoomba staying at Raymont Residential College in Auchenflower, Brisbane. Trinity College Queensland is located in the Uniting Church Centre on the same site.

“There is a holistic approach to everything you do. There’s a lot of pastoral care involved, but they (Trinity College) also care about your learning and your relationship with God. We make many relationships with the whole college community, not just the Activate crew, where you feel so deeply invited in, cared for and loved.”

Activate students take their formal academic subjects amongst the wider college community, mixing with people from all walks of life and at different stages. They engage in subjects such as Spirituality for 21st Century Disciples; Introductions to the Old and New Testaments; Evangelism, Conversion and the Mission of God; Introduction to Christian Leadership; Introduction to Christian Thought; and Beyond Sunday, emerging with a nationally accredited Diploma of Ministry.

Lucy Kammermann, a school leaver from Cairns, says that the Activate experience helped her understand much more about her faith.

“Starting the year I was really intimidated because there were all these big topics, and honestly, it’s made me question a lot of my own ideas, like whether I really believe what I think I believe. But coming to the end of the year and all the experiences we’ve had, I think I understand a lot more what faith really is and how I can share that with others.”

Her studies did raise more questions, Lucy adds, but “good questions”.

“Before, I was a lazy Christian. I believed what I believed because of what my parents told me. I hadn’t really asked big questions. And it was a lot, at first, coming into theological studies. Because it’s not just academic, it’s questioning what you believe, life and death stuff.

“Coming out of it, I’ve learned so much. It makes so much difference to really understand why you believe things and the significance of those things: how big, powerful and good God is! I’m just starting to comprehend the amazing things he’s doing. You really get to see that in Activate. It brings a new light and perspective. It brings more depth to the reasons I hold my faith.”

Germaine Kaskol is a 30-year old personal trainer who joined the group in the mid-year intake.

“I can see the big picture now,” says Germaine. “I came into the program saying, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do. Where am I going?’ But I wasn’t looking at the big picture, just at what was in front of me. I feel like I better understand God’s big picture now and am getting better equipped, so I’ll be ready when God calls me.”

Nineteen-year-old Emma Williams, who is considering continuing at Trinity to convert her Diploma of Ministry into a bachelor’s degree, says, “I don’t really know how to express how I’ve changed. I know I’ve changed. I’ve definitely been grounded in my faith, which has impacted all aspects of my life. I feel more humbled from the Thailand and Aramac trips—having those opportunities, to see so many different things, has blown my mind!”

Emma is referring to two key mission-based events in the Activate program.

In first semester, the students undertake a short-term mission experience to support the work of a school chaplain in an outback Queensland town where there are no functioning churches. They teach RE classes, run lunchtime and after-school programs for students, meet with and learn from local Christians and reflect on the unique challenges of people in smaller and isolated communities.

In second semester, the students fly to Thailand for a mission exposure experience which includes serving a local Thai church, assisting with ministries to neglected and disabled children, serving elderly slum residents, visiting detainees in Bangkok’s infamous Immigration Detention Centre and running a party for sex workers through a local ministry supporting women exiting the bars.

With accompanying academic reflection and assessment, the trip fulfils the requirements for one academic subject. But the opportunity to share and serve in practical ways is equally transforming for the students.

Lize comments, “I’ve loved all the skills that we’ve been learning. I’ve gained the capacity to share my faith at my residential college and have had so many conversations. The training and sessions that we have done have allowed me to shape my testimony and I’ve been confident to share that many times, planting lots of little seeds.

“I’m now able to openly talk about why I am a Christian. If it wasn’t for Activate, I wouldn’t be feeling so strong. What we’ve done has equipped me for those conversations.”

To find out more about Trinity’s Activate program visit trinity.qld.edu.au/activate or contact