From the Principal

Fiona Godfrey, Radford College Principal

Fiona Godfrey, Radford College Principal

Busy End to the Semester
The end of an academic term is traditionally very busy and even though our senior students conclude early in Term 2, this term has not been any different. In fact, over the past week, we have had several major events within the College, including the Year 5/6 Production, Radford Rocks, Principal’s Tours, AST trial examinations, Score Checking Day and the inaugural Secondary School Grandparents Day.

This year’s Year 5/6 Production was a hilarious, contemporary play called Luke Lloyd: Alienoid, written by award-winning screenwriter, John Armstrong. The script follows Luke, a smart, shy and highly imaginative student who has no friends at school. It is Luke’s mission to defeat the class bully, with the assistance of his dog Astro, the class mouse Kevin, and his baby sister Lola. Along the way he learns the truth of his father’s existence.

The play, directed by Ali Clinch and produced by Nick Akhurst, was incredibly entertaining and in a humorous way, explored a number of very relevant themes for students of this age, including bullying, the importance of belonging, use of technology and the power of friendships. The play also showcased the talents of the cast members, and the accompanying sound and lighting was of a very high standard. Congratulations to all staff and students involved.

After having the privilege of attending the Yr 7/8 and Yr 9/10 Recitals two weeks ago, it was quite a change in tempo at Radford Rocks last week. The event, which at times tested my eardrums, really highlighted the range in ages of students who are involved in the co-curricular music program. It was quite inspirational to be listening one minute to highly accomplished senior students, and then the next minute, watching much younger Junior School students starting off on their musical journey. Thank you to Kirsten Knight, Emily Leong and all the other staff involved in co-curricular music for allowing us to experience such a range in musical styles from a diverse group of students.

Although ‘Grandfriends Day’ has been an annual fixture on the school’s calendar in the Junior School for a long time, until last week, we had not invited the grandparents of our Secondary School students into the College. Combining the event with a Foundation Morning Tea, we opened our doors to allow grandparents to observe the school in action, have a tour of the campus and hear about the strategic direction of the College, including the development of our Foundation and future plans for the development of the campus.

Grandfriends Day, Secondary School Grandfriends Day, Secondary School Grandfriends Day, Secondary School

The turnout of grandparents on the day was quite staggering. In talking to a number of the attendees over morning tea, it was interesting to note that many of them were parents of former Radford students, and now as grandparents, were keen to see how the school had developed and changed over time. It is great to see that we are now experiencing a multi-generational association with Radford with some families. In all reality, it may not be too long before we have our third generation of Radford students from the one family entering the College.


College phone upgrade and outage next week
The College is currently in the process of upgrading its phone system. The IT Department has been working to make this transition as smooth as possible, however, part of the upgrade means changing our phone network provider. This will result in a short outage next Monday 1 July between 10 am and 11 am. People ringing the College during this time will get a busy tone or a message stating the number is not in use. The upgraded phone network is expected to be operational shortly after 11 am.


Congratulations to PBS Builders
Last week the College received wonderful news that the builders who worked on the Junior School Specialist Centre, the Ridge Building (i.e. the Years 3 and 4 building) and the Morison Centre had won a significant award for their work on the Ridge building.

PBS Building won the Master Builders’ Association ACT People’s Choice Awards for the `Commercial Building Less Than $20 million’ category. This is a great testament to the care and precision that PBS put into the development of that building and we were delighted for them that they have received such an accolade.

 

Deputy Principal Head of Junior School Andy Gordon

Appointment of New Head of Junior School
As was detailed in a special message last Friday, we are delighted to have appointed Mr Andy Gordon to the role of Head of Junior School from the beginning of Term 4.

As you would be aware from that message, Andy is currently the Head of Primary at John Paul College in Brisbane, a position he has held for the past seven years. He has also held a number of other senior roles in independent Junior Schools in south west Queensland, as well as taking on leadership roles within professional educational groups and associations.

Although Andy will not formally join us until the start of Term 4, we have organised for him to come to Canberra on a couple of occasions in Term 3. In addition to attending our Board Retreat in early August, we have organised for him to come to Canberra on 5/6 September. We were going to organise a special event on the Thursday night for Junior School parents to meet with Andy, but given the Fathers Day Breakfast is on the following morning, we thought it best to combine the two, and invite both mums and dads to the Breakfast. Invitations will follow in Term 3.

Students of the Junior School will have an opportunity to meet with Mr Gordon over the two days he is visiting, as we will organise a series of class visits. In addition, I am confident there will also be many other impromptu opportunities for students to get to know Mr Gordon as he walks the Junior School campus.

 

Personal Feedback About the Value of Service Learning Program
There is no doubt that Radford College is well known in Canberra for the value it places on its Service Learning Program. This is a program that has developed over a number of years, and one in which the College has deeply invested.

The program formally begins in Years 9 and 10 with a compulsory minimum number of hours of service program but then continues in Years 11 and 12 with optional activities such as the ‘G Trips’ and the Timor-Leste visit. Both of these groups left on the weekend, and I am pleased to report that they have arrived safely to their destinations and are already doing wonderful work alongside the communities with which they work.

Although we regularly get positive feedback from the organisations with which we have partnerships, it was a sobering reminder of the importance of our students’ service work, when I received late last week a long and detailed email from one of the people who has benefitted from our students’ work with Yellow Van and Oz Harvest.

I want to share some of this email to highlight the importance of our students’ work and efforts:

I just wanted to give a big shout out to Radford teachers and students involved in the Oz Harvest component of the Radford Awareness and Service-Learning program (RAS) and deliver some positive feedback from the coal-face.

A bit about me. I recently found myself homeless after a series of difficulties in my personal life. Fortunately, I was able to secure a temporary roof over my head (and other helpful assistance) through Catholic Care’s supported accommodation program for men, and I thank the Good Lord that our paths crossed when they did. Prior to Catholic Care’s intervention, I was facing the very real prospect of rough sleeping and had never felt so scared, confused, helpless or invisible in my entire life!

I have been resident in the supported accommodation program for about three weeks now, and Thursday afternoons have quickly become my favourite time of the week. You see, that is when the guys from Oz Harvest drop in. Whilst the bread, fruit and vegetables are much appreciated, they are not exactly exciting. The individually packaged meals prepared by Radford students, however, really float my boat!! A couple of weeks back, the guys from Oz Harvest were accompanied by a selection of curried sausages, roast vegetables, apple and cinnamon crepes and cottage pie, all expertly whipped up by Radford students, and sufficient in number to fill our freezer!! Last week, the quantity of ‘Radford meals’ (as we have affectionately come to call them) declined, but the chicken and mushroom crepes were a standout: five stars!!

Not only are the ‘Radford meals’ delicious, Radford students are contributing to the “elimination of hunger and food waste” and providing “disadvantaged people with nutritious and fresh meals”.[1] Perhaps the greatest outcome, from the point of view of a beneficiary at the coal-face, is that the ‘Radford meals’ really help to reduce the burden of complex and difficult personal circumstances. Rather than worrying about where the next meal is coming from, people can work towards overcoming said circumstances, whatever they may be, secure in the knowledge that there is a tasty dinner or two waiting in the fridge. A worthwhile analogy is found in the idiom ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’. This idiom refers to something seemingly minor or trivial that, in a situation full of accumulating difficulties, causes an extreme or disproportionate burden, reaction or failure. The idea is one of a camel suffering under the burden of an enormous load, such that the additional weight of one, final piece of straw becomes the tipping point, causing the camel to collapse. My recent experience led me to feel burdened in a similar way to the poor hypothetical camel. The ‘Radford meals’ served to reduce my burden and, thus, represent the straw that was removed from, or wasn’t placed on, my back. In that sense, the ‘Radford meals’ are the polar opposite of minor or trivial; they probably save people’s lives, in all likelihood, prevent much trauma for many others, and reduce the burden faced by hundreds more. Deserving kudos to the Radford teachers and students involved in the RAS and to the Radford College community more broadly, for supporting such a meaningful program. Really, the depth of my gratitude cannot be overstated, and I’m sure many other beneficiaries feel the same.

Not only do Radford College and their students do a whole bunch of great things in the wider community, it is apparent that I have much to be thankful for on a very personal level. So, a huge THANK YOU, to all and sundry from Radford College, especially the students!! Keep up the great work!!

For me, this email says so much about the importance of our program, and the need for us to continue to educate our students about the importance of giving back to our community.

To Home