The term that was…
By Andy Fleming, Associate Chaplain
I imagine most of us are starting to pick up close-to-normal routines, as this most unusual of terms comes to a close. Thinking back nine weeks ago, when I started my time at Radford, there was every likelihood that students would all still be at home engaging in online learning. Indeed, during the first two weeks, I spent my time in a very quiet Morison Centre, introducing myself to staff and students over Microsoft Teams. Fortunately, the ACT has not experienced community infections of COVID-19 and we’ve been able to slowly work towards normalcy as the term progressed. From Week 3, as students resumed, I was impressed by the planning, and the flexibility within the school to adjust and modify programs and larger gatherings. Weekly events such as Chapels and assemblies have used creative approaches to engage students in new ways, and solutions were found to ensure that important yearly events such as the Year 11 2021 Information evening were delivered. As restrictions were further lifted, co-curricular activities were able to recommence. As a new staff member, it has been fantastic to see the halls, ovals and courts full of students developing their skills and abilities outside of the classroom. I have enjoyed being able to meet students throughout the school – and whether visiting K-2 Godly Play classes, hosting Chapels with 3-10s or running around at Rugby training with the Senior boys, students have made me feel most welcomed and blessed.
Furthermore, the response of staff and students to find meaningful ways to continue to contribute positively to the wider community, in spite of the restrictions, has been nothing short of outstanding. Earlier in the term, the Year 11s created remarkable musical clips, produced by the irrepressible Mr Huitker, for L’Arche disco. Students’ profound and respectful responses to National Reconciliation Week took on greater significance as the ongoing events following the death of George Floyd in the US unfolded. This culminated in the Community Day, when students across the school displayed unity in their diversity.
I was privileged to witness firsthand a most generous and thoughtful act, that ‘flew under the radar’. With very little assistance from teachers, students in Radford Awareness Service Learning (RAS), Olivia, Hannah and Chelsea, organised ‘Solidarity Packs’ for the Secondary students at St Peter’s Anglican College in Broulee. Initially an idea that arose from the summer bushfires, the packs included handwritten notes of encouragement and support by Radford Year 11 students. Olivia was able to deliver the packs during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. The St Peter’s representatives were thrilled to receive the packs, with St Peter’s Chaplain calling it “a thoughtful act of love”. St Peter’s students have emailed Radford students and some friendships have developed.
Micah 6:8, a popular verse in the Bible, asks us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly. For me, this verse sums up what I have witnessed of students and staff in my first term at the Radford. Below is prayer written by Steven in Year 6 for Chapel last week, which I feel is an appropriate reflection for the term we just experienced.
Thanks for my education, my opportunity to play sport, to have fantastic people around me every day. Thanks for every great thing that happened this week. I pray for all the people who are sick and hope for them to recover. I also pray for the people that don’t have a job and hope for them to get it back soon. I pray for all the people that are getting treated unfairly and all the indigenous people that have a disadvantage in this world. I hope for this world to have an improvement in this time. Amen.