Boys' School Connect At Final Assembly

April 09, 2020 at 4:21 PM

In his opening statement at the Boys’ School ‘virtual’ assembly this week, Deputy Head, Mr Grayson Aspinall welcomed all the parents to join in online, saying, ‘At least you won’t have to find a park in the carpark or rush for a good seat in the Hall!’

Since the advent of Lockdown, our schools have been looking for creative ways to bring the students together to bring a sense of belonging – even if separated by the Level 4 enforced isolation at home. Reverend Hardie’s daily Chapel Chats for the schools, and Reverend Smith’s Lockdown Chapels for the College have been most successful over the last two weeks to give a common focus for our students and staff, at a time when they are ‘near but afar.’

Three boys, Head Boy, James Hiddleston representing the Senior School, Thomas Bottomley, representing the Junior School and Isaac O’Donnell representing the Middle School, all had a turn to speak, presenting their views on isolation. Smartly dressed in their Chapel uniforms, speaking by video link from home, they each gave their own perspective. 

James said, ‘I have gone from feeling initially a bit worried about this whole thing to now missing my friends and often feeling a bit bored.  I think it is very important to look out for your mum and dad in these situations and lend a hand, they are doing everything they can to make sure you are OK.’ 

He concluded with a pertinent quote. ‘The great Bob Marley once said, ‘You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.’ Make sure to be strong in these next few weeks, it will be tough at times, but look out for each other, keep in touch with friends and families and most importantly, be kind.’

Thomas said, ‘During this crazy time, when I first heard the phrase ‘distance learning,’ I thought great! I’m in for another Christmas-like holiday! Boy! was I wrong. For two weeks now, while there’s been no morning rush to get ready for school and every day’s a mufti day, by 9 am I’m tuned into Rev Hardie’s daily Chapel Chat and then ready for schoolwork.  My dad soon figured out that screen time could be traded for schoolwork so by 3pm most of my work is done and emailed to Mrs Worth!

Isaac voiced what, undoubtedly, many of his schoolmates are thinking, ‘Overall, Lockdown hasn’t been too bad but I’m really looking forward to it being over so I can see my friends again and play football in the winter!’

After hearing the boys speak, Principal, Mr Peter Cassie said, ‘It certainly has been an interesting time, holding meetings with students and staff via video conferencing, and trying to remain connected and productive when you can’t just pop into a classroom to speak to  share ideas or just to chat! Boys, you have responded remarkably well since we moved into Distance Learning mode. You have all picked up new skills and gained greater independence in your learning which is a good thing.’

Mr Cassie went on to say that he has missed the being around people on campus, saying hello to the Juniors at the expressway in the morning, visiting classrooms, hearing happy playground chatter, watching our teams play sport and all the other vital student connections.’

Just as if the Chapel was taking place at school, the ‘Student of the Term’ for each class and the ‘Big Tree Award’ for each syndicate was ‘handed out’ – the boys’ certificates and photos appearing on screen. We also enjoyed two musical interludes from accomplished pianists, Gavin Chen and Edison Zhou. Chapel Prefect, Tom Tipler, gave the reading from James 2:1-4.

Deputy Head Boy, Louis Spillane, delivered the ‘Last Word’ saying, ‘Instead of finishing the term with our favourite events and huge excitement at what lies ahead, we have been put into isolation, facing uncertainty.  It is frustrating, frightening, and just plain weird.  It’s time to think ahead of this experience and realise that when we come through this, we will be more resilient, braver and ready to conquer things we never thought were possible.’

Mr Cassie laid down a final challenge, ‘This holiday I encourage you to put away technology and be creative with the many different things you can do. Continue service in the home and always think of others and what you can do to play your part in family life. Read plenty of books - and practise your tables, that should be seen as good fun!

Mr Cassie also thanked the staff for their response to Distance Learning. ‘I know the many hours you have put in over the last few weeks in preparation then delivery, while also juggling your own lives and family needs.’ He finished by saying, ‘School reopens on Tuesday 27 April and whether we are back physically or continuing with Distance Learning - be ready!’ 

The Boys’ School would like to thank parent, Mr Matt Gillard for his assistance bringing the assembly video together. Hear Thomas Bottomley from Year 3 give his address. 

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