FROM THE SENIOR SCHOOL

DATE

29 September, 2023

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Walk for Peace – An initiative linked to the Tamar Valley Peace Festival

On Tuesday 19 September, a group of Year 11 and Year 12 students volunteered to represent the College and the annual Walk for Peace held at Royal Park.  Students, and community members, from around Launceston were in attendance and first participated in a pre-walk event listening to music and drummers, chalking the levy banks and engaging in a range of conversations. Six students from Launceston Colleges or High Schools spoke about topics ranging from the Right to Education, Human Rights, Climate Grief and Justice, Contemporary Aboriginal Issues and Food Security. Scotch Oakburn’s Charlotte Oates Pryor spoke about the Refugee Crisis from a Tasmanian perspective. Her speech follows.

Leigh Cordell
Director of Round Square

Refugee Crisis Speech

“It is the obligation of every person born in a safer room to open the door when someone in danger knocks.” This was said by Dina Nayeri (Deena Nay-yeah-ree), an Iranian-American novelist who fled Iran at the age of eight and has dedicated her life to raising awareness of the refugee experience through her stories. I know that I am not alone in being one of those who was ‘born in a safer room’ as Dina described. As such, it is our responsibility to ‘open the door’ for those who are less privileged.

I am specifically referring to our responsibility in aiding with the refugee crisis we face across the world today, and more personally, in Tasmania. We cannot continue to treat the refugee crisis as a distant concern, it is a reality that requires us to rise above our differences and extend a helping hand to those in need.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there were more than 35 million refugees in the world at the end of 2022. In the same year, Australia received 19,148 asylum applications but only 20% of these applications were answered positively.

Furthermore, Australia has continuously breached the human rights of many asylum seekers and refugees by subjecting them to prolonged and indefinite arbitrary detention under Australia’s mandatory detention laws. A Federal Human Rights Act could make a difference in protecting and promoting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers by requiring our government to carefully consider how decisions impact on their human rights.

There is already a significant migrant population present in Tasmania, my family being part of this, and I believe that this provides an additional stepping stone to the understanding of those who seek refuge here. While my family were not refugees fleeing conflict, they were financial migrants, who came to Australia for a better life for their children in the 1850s and 1900s. This helps me to identify with the refugees I have met even though I have not lived through the same hardships as them.

In 2015 Australia welcomed 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees in a one-off intake, however only 5% of these individuals were referred to Tasmania with even fewer remaining and making Tasmania their home.

So why are we not doing more? While Tasmania can’t help every refugee in the world, we can and should be doing more to address this crisis. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t expect any of you to today either, but I am raising this issue so that we can begin an intentional conversation.

It’s important to acknowledge that addressing the refugee crisis is not solely the responsibility of one group or organisation. We should instead celebrate and join in on the work of those in our community already aiding the refugee crisis. Behind every statistic is a story of pain, resilience, and hope. By engaging in open dialogue and actively listening to the experiences of refugees, we can foster a sense of belonging and include them as valued members of our community.

While we focus on the individuals, we must not lose sight of the global context. Our response to the crisis in Tasmania can serve as an example of a fair and humane global refugee policy.

I urge each and every one of you to recognise the urgency of the refugee crisis in Tasmania and to stand in solidarity with those in need. Let us remember that the measure of our humanity lies in our ability to show empathy and thus ‘open the door’ to our safer state. By doing so, we not only uphold the values that I know we all share, but we also contribute to a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

Charlotte Oates-Pryor
Year 11 

Plan your own Enterprise Competition – State Finalist

How businesses work is a key question in our TCE Business Studies class.

Students were tasked with devising a profitable business concept that addresses a social need, and they then documented their ideas in a business feasibility plan. These plans were submitted to a competition overseen by Business Educators Australia (Tasmania).

Jade Cleary was recently named a state finalist for her project, MenstruMate, which seeks to cater to the unmet needs of transmasculine individuals by offering customized sanitary pads.

MenstruMate distinguishes itself through unique packaging that includes discreet design, inclusive language, and a masculine brand identity. Additionally, it departs from the traditional white cotton appearance by adopting a black colour scheme. The company’s primary objective is to alleviate dysphoria. While MenstruMate operates as a for-profit enterprise, its underlying mission is firmly rooted in creating social impact and establishing a reputation as an inclusive and progressive brand, committed to enhancing the well-being of its customers.

I commend Jade on her selection as a state finalist.

Joy Russell
Teacher

Under 14 Junior State Chess Champion

On the 23 and 24 September, Himash Keerthiratne (Year 9) attended the Tasmanian Junior Chess Championships 2023 held in Hobart, participating in the Under 14 category. He placed 1st, winning the title for the second time in a row, as he was the defending champion from 2022.

Further success from our future Chess Grandmaster!

Kate Gard
Penquite Chess Coordinator

Round Square Baraza

Baraza – Old African word in the Swahili language meaning “The coming together of different people”. Barazas allow students and adults to hold debates and free discussions where everyone’s opinion is valued equally.

Within the Round Square philosophy, a Baraza is a student-led activity where older students, called facilitators, lead a discussion about a contemporary idea or issue.

In Term 2, a number of Year 12 students represented the College and attended the Launceston National Reconciliation Breakfast. They were inspired to continue the discussion around the Voice to Parliament back at the College and decided that a Round Square Baraza was the best format for this to occur in. The Baraza occurred during a specially arranged Vertical Mentor Group (students in Year 6 to Year 12) in the second last week of Term.

A Baraza is not about persuading people one way or the other, it is about the discussion of ideas which is an excellent example of Democracy in action, linking into the Round Square IDEALS. Well done to the Year 12s, especially the Round Square Committee members, the Student Executive and other Year 12s who volunteered arranged, and facilitated, the entire session. It was thought-provoking to hear students from Year 6 to TCE discuss such an important.

Leigh Cordell
Director of Round Square

9Alive – Environmentalism in Action

The 9Alive Program, ‘Out Land, Our Sustainable Future’, led by the Education Outdoors team, began on Monday with an information session exploring the Round Square IDEALS. The IDEALS of Environmentalism, Leadership and Service are intertwined through the experiential learning program.  The highlight was when Year 12 students shared with their Year 9 peers their thoughts on the questions ‘What does servant leadership mean to me’ and ‘What do I do for the environment in my daily life?’

Dr Megan Grant then spoke to the Year 9 students about her research on sea birds and plastic pollution. Dr Megan Grant was a past Scotch Oakburn College student who has recently completed her doctorate in Marine science specialising in seabirds and plastic pollution. Dr Grant shared some disturbing facts including that 14 million tons of rubbish enter the ocean every year and 80% of this is plastic. Dr Grant concluded by highlighting that this plastic waste has a devastating impact on the environment, especially on sea birds who consume it mistaking it for food.

The 2023 Round Square Chairs finished the morning session by sharing the College’s Landcare Mission Statement which guided the students throughout the 9Alive week.
“We will do our part to protect the environment that we learn, explore, and live in by committing to actions that forge a more sustainable future.  Our goal is to create a community of environmental leaders who will eliminate waste and pollution in local green spaces and plant the seed for further initiatives to protect our local environment. The leading motivation for our sustainability action is the mission to preserve our environment to ultimately protect and restore our planet to its thriving natural state.”

The remainder of the day saw students split into House groups and either head to the College’s Wetlands or Punchbowl Reserve. Students were most engaged with waste collection, and it was astounding just how much littered pollution/waste was in our local waterways along the Kings Meadows Rivulet and in and around Punchbowl Reserve.  Students at the Wetlands planted over 200 trees helping the biodiversity and stabilisation of embankments at the wetlands. The message certainly rang home that we all need to be environmental leaders who take responsibility for our environment and make a concerted effort to sustain our natural environment for the future.

Many thanks to all College staff, Dr Megan Grant, Bruce Dolbey (volunteer from Friends of Punchbowl Reserve) and Carolyne Elsner & Russell Williams (City of Launceston) who helped students at Punchbowl Reserve throughout the day. We are very grateful for all your assistance and support.  We’d also like to thank our Grounds Staff – Robert Briere, Kylie Hughes and Steven Bird who also donated their time and energy to support the students’ success.

Nuccia Rantieri and Leigh Cordell
Education Outdoors Teacher and Director of Round Square