1 December 2022

In Your Element

Middle School
In Your Element
In Your Element
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I didn’t really love the 6am Sunday morning start, but I definitely loved my son’s reaction to competing in his first triathlon. ‘That’s my thing, mum, I am doing another one.’ Alex had clearly spent the morning ‘in his element’. Spending time on his swim-bike-run passion, challenging himself against the clock and meeting some like-minded athletes; this was Alex to a tee!

Sir Ken Robinson in his book The Element: How finding your passion changes everything explains that, ‘When people are doing the thing that they love they feel like their most authentic selves … When people are in their Element, they connect with something fundamental to their sense of identity, purpose and well-being.’

The last few weeks have seen many opportunities for students to get in the zone, work in their element and find their passion. The STEM Sustainable Housing activity was, almost, a silent Year 7 activity. Each group was so intent on bringing their research and design features into a complete model that the room was one of intent focus, busyness and collaboration. A similar atmosphere has also been seen with the Year 7 Transformative Repair Art project, designed originally by Harvard University. It is wonderful to see the strong sense of purpose in these students as they believe that they can work together to protect our environment.

The Year 9 students have had many opportunities to find new passions through their three-week immersive program. Whether it be taking on the challenge of rafting, acquainting themselves with Melbourne’s city heart or having their first foray into democracy, these learnings give each student time and space to question their interests and beliefs and develop their sense of identity. Not only that, while participating in the voting process, they received a democracy sausage for a gold coin donation. Those coins have already been used to provide Christmas gifts to put under our Baptcare Giving Tree.

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The highlight of our efforts to have students engaged in the last few days of the school year will surely be Year 8 Elements Day. We are so fortunate that teachers have been prepared to offer 14 fresh and stimulating activities. Students have been advocates for how they would like to spend the day, either running with their passion or exploring new ways to grow. With everything from Enamelling, Coding and Let’s Make Lunch to Podcasting, Street Dance and Sustainability to working with bronze level surf life-savers and Teal politicians, this is a day that will bring the Carey Attributes alive!

Of course, passions and purpose change over time, as people set new goals and develop new priorities. Sometimes they decide to smell the roses, others decide to flow where the music takes them, others look for new career challenges and others can’t resist those beautiful grandchildren. As such, it is with gratitude for extraordinary commitment to Middle School that we farewell Pat Dove, Penny Westmore and Martin Arnold. They have bought such joy and such care to our students for a combined total of almost 100 years, that we will simply have to invite them to next year’s centenary celebrations!

Being ‘in your element’ is fundamental to wellbeing. The upcoming holidays provide the time and space to do just that. Whether you take my lead and go for a bit of retail therapy or take the Harry approach and run amok with lots of children or opt for the quieter Michael stroll along the beach, we hope that you and your family have a happy and healthy summer and a peaceful Christmas.

Meredith Plaisted
Deputy Head of Middle School – Student Learning

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