From the Head of Middle School

From little things big things grow – changing the world one conversation at a time
Carey provides wonderful opportunities and a terrific environment to help build ‘social entrepreneurs’. We have a long list of alumni who have made significant impacts at all levels of society. Although much of this culture comes from deep Christian values, a committed extended school community and a joy of outreach, it is also grown through the myriad of programs and experiences on offer.

Over the last 12 years or so, Carey students have been travelling up to the Robinson River Community in the Northern Territory to connect with a small remote school just south of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Carey takes a group of students from Year 6 and Year 9 to spend a week in the school. While there, our students make friends, support learning, kick the footy, read books, share stories and culture, help teachers, run an annual sports day, perform community service and, most of all, have fun! It is a very special week and, in Term 3, we will have the joy of hosting some Robinson River kids in Melbourne for a week. The program has evolved over the years, and each year it has its own joys, surprises and challenges – all the Carey students return to Melbourne with many stories, new perspectives, many unanswered questions, a passion for community, a sense of gratitude for what they have, and a lot of ‘red sand’ both in their shoes and ingrained in their clothes.

Another example of this opportunity for ‘real world’ contextual learning is the Year 9 Civics Week program. On my return from Robinson River I had the privilege to address the Year 9s around citizenship and Indigenous issues. As usual with Carey students, in post presentation discussion the students illustrated a high level of engagement and interest, their insights, thoughts, empathy and maturity was terrific. We reflected on things such as happiness, friendship, wealth, health, empathy, compassion, simplicity, possessions, making a difference, being grateful, family, smiling, spirituality, and many other things. The hope of all these experiences and programs is that we impact Carey students in a way that encourages them to give back to society and make a positive difference in the world as they become the next politicians, teachers, doctors, plumbers, lawyers, bankers, small business owners, and parents.

The world seems to be full of really ‘big problems’ that are way too difficult to solve; each day we are faced with questions and societal challenges for which solutions are continually elusive. Having time in Civics Week, participating in C-Change, spending time in the Robinson River community, being a House leader, attending a music camp, leading a sporting team, supporting the SRC, or listening to Tim Costello in an Assembly, allows our kids a chance to connect to other ways of thinking, or to other kids who live in different circumstances to them, and take home new insights or feelings that will hopefully shape the way they think. This will flow through their friendship groups, families, and the wider community.

Although trips like Robinson River can only take a few students, the Carey experience offers many opportunities for students to give back and connect with others, whether it be helping with the Red Shield Appeal, supporting other students with their fundraising for Nauru or World Challenge, visiting a nursing home, or simply looking out for other students in their Year level – each activity is relatively small in itself, but joined together can start to make a big difference. It is Carey’s culture of caring and giving both big and small that makes it such a special place to learn.

As we move into the holiday period, I hope families have a chance to breath, reflect, tidy up, enjoy a movie, read a book, go on a family bike ride, debate around the dinner table, play cards, shoot some hoops, look up to the stars, cook a meal together, help someone in need, rest, and perhaps even stay in their pyjamas all day.

I would like to thank all staff and students for their support this semester. It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful community. Particular thanks to the staff that have helped out this term in a temporary role, and I wish staff moving onto different adventures all the best.

Please note some key pastoral staffing changes for Term 3:

  • Greg Warmbrunn will return from long service leave as the Head of Moore House.
  • Brooke Kenwright will take up the permanent position as Head of Hickman House.
  • Matthew Barker will move into Moore House as a Mentor.
  • Eleanor Wood will move into Gadsden House as a Mentor.
  • James Grindrod will become a Mentor in Newnham House.

Michael Nelson
Head of Middle School