Welcome to Term 2!

Hard to believe we are already in Week 2 of Term 2! Term 1 was a very busy one for Round Square, with several wonderful Exchange students arriving from Germany and participating in life at Westminster for between six and nine weeks. Although Term 2 is somewhat ‘quieter’ with regard to Exchanges, mainly due to the northern hemisphere schools finishing up for the year, there are still many Round Square initiatives that students can be involved in during this term.

 

 

Towards the end of last term, the Round Square Board got a chance to be part of the Westminster Fair. We decided this year to take a different approach and set up in one of the Prep School classrooms just off the main oval, with our goal being to inform the public about Round Square.

Throughout the day Round Square Board members volunteered their time to take photos, do presentations, and generally take the opportunity to promote the IDEALS of Round Square, and what this means to the Westminster community.

One thing that always stands out to me is the amazing atmosphere of the whole Fair, and how it truly captures the Round Square IDEALS and spirit.


Not only did this wonderful school and community event allow many students a chance to show off their leadership skills, but it also significantly featured other Round Square IDEALS (such as Service) which underpin the ethos of our school. You can’t get much more ‘Round Square’ than the Fair, and it was really pleasing to see so many people come together from so many different areas and put in such effort to make this event a successful one. It is truly a great asset to our school, and really shows how much we make the most of ‘every opportunity’.

I heard several times throughout the day that some of the reasons that parents send their kids to Westminster is because we value qualities such as community mindedness, environmental care, and social justice. Many members of the public were interested to know more about Round Square, and are certain to pass that information on to other people in the community. We should all be proud to be part of such a wonderful place, and I for one am very grateful to be able to work here.

I would like to thank those students and staff who helped out in any way with the Round Square information room at the Westminster Fair, your assistance was much appreciated.

What exactly is the Round Square IDEAL of ‘Democracy’ all about?

The word ‘democracy’ has its origins in the Greek language. It combines two shorter words: ‘demos’ meaning whole citizen living within a particular city-state, and ‘kratos’ meaning power or rule.

It is generally agreed that liberal democracies are based on four main principles:

  • A belief in the individual: since the individual is believed to be both moral and rational;
  • A belief in reason and progress: based on the belief that growth and development is the natural condition of mankind and politics the art of compromise;
  • A belief in a society that is consensual: based on a desire for order and co-operation, not disorder and conflict;
  • A belief in shared power: based on a suspicion of concentrated power (whether by individuals, groups, or governments).
 

Our country is a democracy. That means it is run ‘by the people for the people’. Citizens in our democracy have rights. For example, we have the right to speak freely, to practice our religion, to vote, and so on.

Citizens in a democracy also have responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is to choose our leaders. Another is to keep informed about what is going on with our government. It is also the responsibility of citizens to help make their community a good place in which to live.

A democracy needs active citizens in order to work. There are many ways to take part in a democracy. It is absolutely essential in Round Square schools to teach students both the values of democracy and the importance of active participation in democracy. Freedom of thought and speech should be greatly encouraged, and appropriate forums and channels of communication set in place.

Appreciating the importance of self-discipline and sharing in the running of the school are all vital parts of democracy. Student government and a genuine sense of responsibility in the management of the school are goals in all Round Square schools.

At Westminster School, there are various forums that students can be involved in at House and Year levels, with Student Representative Councils in both the Preparatory and Senior Schools. There is participatory democracy through the election of School Leaders and House Captains, and this has been extended into most areas of the co-curricular program as well. Round Square at Westminster School is in the hands of a Student Board of Directors, with directors responsible for overseeing the six pillars.

A Spirit of Democracy

Taken from the Round Square website: www.roundsquare.org

‘A spirit of democracy embraces a sense of equality, fairness, justice and a desire to do what is right (for the greater good). Freedom of thought and speech are valued and appropriate forums and channels of communication are discovered and explored. 

An understanding of the importance of active democratic participation and the power of collective decision-making is supported by a strong sense of self-discipline and personal responsibility. Respect for diversity, cultural difference and heritage lead to an outspoken passion for equality, tolerance and inclusion.

Knowledge of civil rights and the ability to understand how society works, on a small scale (such as a school, family or a sports club) and on a larger scale -- in one's neighbourhood, city, nation and internationally, enables participation and action, and builds capacity to make a difference.

A person living out a spirit of democracy seeks to be well informed about her or his world and has an outward-looking disposition, engaging with the issues of the day, valuing the opportunity to be involved in making his or her society a better place, and expressing a sense of public duty. Understanding the needs of others and feeling empathy for them becomes a catalyst for action and prompts engagement in social service activity. A spirit of democracy also encompasses the development and application of appropriate social skills to interact respectfully with others in order to contribute as a positive and active member of the community.’

Foodbank Fundraising Luncheon - ‘Women in Influence’

Foodbank is a non-denominational, non-profit organisation which acts as a pantry to the charities and community groups who feed the hungry. It was first established in 1992 in NSW, and now has a presence in every state and the Northern Territory, with distribution centres in all state capitals as well as a number of regional centres. It acts as a conduit between the food industry’s surplus food and the welfare sector’s need.

Last week three of our students, Jasmyn Lloyd (Year 12 Heaslip), Makenzie Meaney (Year 11 Jeffries) and Luke Charlton (Year 11 Forder) along with staff member Rachel Abercrombie were invited to attend the Foodbank Fundraising ‘Women in Influence’ Luncheon. Makenzie has provided a report on this below.

‘On Friday 4 May, Foodbank hosted a “Women in Influence” Luncheon at The Highway Inn and because of the volunteer work students do each week through Round Square, Foodbank invited a group of students to attend the Luncheon, some of which were Foodbank volunteers or Round Square Board members.

We left for the Luncheon, excited for the day, not exactly knowing what to expect, but being excited nonetheless, thinking it was odd to find a food relief organisation organising a lunch, but we later found out that the money the Round Square Board donated for each of our tickets would provide 50 meals for those in need. Over the course of the afternoon, we were treated to a three course meal while we listened to a panel of women speak about their experiences. From Prue Adams, an award winning journalist, to Amelia Nolan, a business woman in an industry typically ruled by men, and Brianna Case, CEO of Foodbank Australia, there was plenty for us to take in while we ate.

 

The aim of the day was both to encourage women as well as to raise funds for Foodbank through a silent auction, guess the price games, and a lucky number raffle on each table for a gift basket filled with fruit and nuts. The basket for our table was won by one of the Westminster students who was quite proud of her achievement!

The Luncheon was great fun and all of us enjoyed ourselves immensely. We are grateful for the invitation that Foodbank extended to us and look forward to continuing to support this great organisation in the future.’ - Makenzie Meaney (Year 11 Jeffries)

For more information, please visit www.foodbanksa.org.au/

 

Exchanges at Westminster

Although this term is often a relatively quiet one for Exchanges, due to many of the schools in the Northern Hemisphere winding up for the year, we still have several of our Westminster students who have expanded their horizons and are participating in an exchange during Term 2. Thomas Reardon (Year 10 Forder) is already enjoying his time at Felsted in the UK, and will return to Australian shores during the July holidays, following the UK Cricket Tour. Claire Rose (Year 10 Dunstan) has recently departed for Italy, and will be looking forward to an exciting time I am sure, returning to us also in early July. Kurt Schenk (Year 10 Fereday) is thoroughly enjoying his experience in the USA, and will return to Adelaide in a couple of weeks.

Towards the end of May we will be welcoming two Exchange students from Collingwood School in Vancouver, Canada. Jessica McDougall and Layla Yang will be hosted in Girl’s Boarding by Hannah Schinckel (Year 11 Heaslip) and Tiarna Rigden (Year 10 Woollacott). We hope they have a great experience here at Westminster.

Once again, thanks must go to all of our host families and those staff in Boarding who take such good care of our Exchange students during their stays here in Adelaide. Without all of you we would not be able to provide our students with such a thriving Exchange program.

Students are notified regularly via email and daily notices throughout the term to tell them about Exchange opportunities, and I am always keen to hear from anybody interested. Hosting an exchange student means there is also a reciprocal agreement that our students are able to participate in an exchange, something that can greatly broaden their view of the world and enhance their understanding of the Round Square IDEAL of Internationalism.

Please contact me anytime if you are interested in participating in an exchange and/or hosting an exchange student.

New Service Opportunities

I recently advertised two new Service opportunities to our Senior students, both of which are outlined below. If anyone is interested in pursuing these, please get in touch with me as soon as possible for further details. We will need to finalise the Packing Day rosters very soon, probably by the end of Week 3.

Uniting Church Packing Days for Years 8 to 12 students – Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 June

We have been given the opportunity to have some of our students involved in the Uniting Church ‘Packing Days’ on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 June. This will be held at the Uniting Church in Marion, a short distance from the school.

We are looking to include a maximum of 24 students to assist the Uniting Church Volunteers group with packing donated items to be sent to Indigenous communities in need.

There will be six timeslots available over the two days with each timeslot being approximately 2 hours or just under.

9.00 to 10.45 am - leave during Tutor Group, return at end of Recess
11.00 am to 1.00 pm - leave during Recess, return at start of Lunch
1.30 to 3.20 pm - leave during Lunch, return before end of normal school day

Four students maximum will be placed in each timeslot and transport to and from the venue will be provided, (older students may be given permission to walk or use their own transport).

This great opportunity for us to help others and link with the Uniting Church, is open to all students in Years 8 to 12.

PsychMed Cat Therapy Room – Year 11 and 12 only

PsychMed has an exciting new project currently underway that may be of some interest to you if you are looking for volunteer experience. The South West clinic at 224 Seacombe Road, Seaview Downs opened a Cat Therapy room, called Cats & Caps on Tuesday 1 May 2018.

The pet industry is one of major growth in Australia’s business sector. The cat therapy room is being established to expand PsychMed’s services to include the use of trained therapy animals to positively enhance patients wellbeing.

Results suggest pet therapy has a multitude of applications, including assisting the treatment of children with autism, assisting the elderly (both those that suffer from dementia and those that do not), and moderate positive results for the general population suffering from a range of mental illnesses.

This project is being conducted to expand PsychMed’s services to include the use of trained therapy animals to enhance client’s experiences at PsychMed, by providing a safe environment for them to participate in guided mediation and animal therapy time.

The Cats & Caps therapy program volunteers will be responsible and involved in the safety and welfare of cats, along with the caring, grooming, cleaning, and upkeep of the cat room. 

Furthermore, they will be asked to assist with the walking of the animals and help facilitate with the scheduled vet visits as organised by the volunteer supervisor. The client related responsibilities are to greet clients in a friendly, courteous, and respectful manner, explain our hand washing procedure to clients, prepare and distribute welcome packs, and be responsible for the client comfort during the entirety of their paid experience time in Cat Room.

As well as taking drink/hot beverage orders and preparing this prior to clients entering the Cat Room, they will also be required to clean up cups at the completion of a session. The volunteers will assist in any administrative duties, such as photo-copying, ensuring clients complete satisfaction surveys, and any other duties as outlined by supervisor.

Anyone interested in finding out more information about conferences, or any other Round Square initiative should contact me via Email if in the Senior School, or contact Mr Chris Haines via Email if you are in the Preparatory School.

Julia Chukwuani
Round Square and Exchanges Coordinator