Welcome to week 3 of remote learning. I have been reflecting on the wonderful adaptation most have made to remote learning. It seems like we are in a bit of a groove now and making as good a progression each lesson as we could expect given the challenges we have all faced. I have found myself feeling extremely proud of the culture at the College and have spent considerable time trying to best sum this up.
It made me think of the work Student Parliament did around a College mascot. In 2017 The figure of the wolf was chosen, by the Forest Hill College Student parliament as our College Mascot. They then developed a story to give it context into our community. This is not something we have fully embedded into our community yet. It appears on a number of newer uniform items, and some posters and murals in the College, but perhaps it is time to revisit what this story meant. It seems incredibly relevant, and illustrates so many strengths our students, parents/ carers and staff have drawn on to thrive in these uncertain and challenging times.
The story of the Forest Hill College Wolf is wrapped around the three College values, as written by our students and is below .
Connect- wolves seek to connect as they are highly sociable animals. They have strong bonds with each member of the pack, similar to the strong relationships we have with fellow classmates.
Explore- wolves represent a pathfinder in many cultures. A pathfinder is one that goes ahead and shows the path for others to follow.
Aspire- Wolves are highly intelligent animals and this is evident in the way they hunt. They can plan and problem solve. They can analyse their situation and adjust to achieve an advantage. This is important in school as well as in life in general, as we need to adapt to overcome challenges.
At the bottom of the poster, the story of our culture, our mascot, is summed up in the quote by Rudyard Kipling, “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”
In these uncertain and challenging times, we are forced to make decisions that we have never had to before, with no precedence to guide these decisions. The story of the wolf just seems so apt and appropriate. It has guided a number of decisions FHC has made through the covid-19 pandemic. We have decided that we will support our most vulnerable, despite unanticipated financial cost to the College at a time when we have also lost revenue from hire in particular. The College is committed to supporting those whose circumstances have made remote learning hard. Our sub school and wellbeing teams have been making contact with students who have found these circumstances tougher than others. We are still providing devices for these without an adequate device. A I have said each week in communications, if you are aware of a family who is struggling and needs some support, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Our students and staff have shown a strong sense of connection, as highlighted in the wolf story. They have certainly drawn heavily upon strong bonds with each member of the pack to flourish. Our staff have been pathfinders, as they have explored options for the delivery of remote learning. I am sure it has been far from perfect at times, but they have been video conferencing, making captioned videos with instruction and communicating across multiple online platforms from their homes. This has resulted in our students and staff planning and problem solving, analysing their situation and adjusting to achieve an advantage. I am truly proud of how we have all done this.
I have included the poster the students developed, and you can see for yourself the story and mascot in its entirety. These posters will be displayed prominently in all classrooms upon our return, as I feel it is time to weave this story into a more over part of our culture, as we all understand what it actually means, and what is expected to be, a part of the Forest Hill College learning culture.
I noted an email that was sent to all Year 12 students with some positive comments about their engagement with remote learning. The creation of this Wordle was led by Year 12 level leader Mel Fraser. All year 12 teachers were asked to contribute two words each that summed up how students have adapted to Year 12 remote learning. The purpose was to show support and encouragement for our Year 12 students who will no doubt be finding the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on their final year, very daunting and disruptive.
Thank-you to all staff, led by Mel for your understanding, kindness and support of the Year 12’s through this difficult time.
This week it was announced that Year 11 student, Chi Kiet Vong was the winner of the Victorian Leo of the Year Award. For thoise of you who are unaware, Forest Hill College has what we call a Leo Club. This is an offshoot of a Lions Club, and are for young people who want to make a difference. They need to be aged between 12 and 18, and are the youngest members of Lions International. Our Leo Club is overseen by Alex Bellizia and Chrissie Chen, with support from the Forest Hill Lions Club. Together, they work to support charities and volunteer their time to make a difference in both our and the global community. Perhaps some more students may get inspired to join this club on return, as they develop a perspective on the benefits of volunteering time to help a community.
Chi Kiet has been an extraordinarily committed member of the FHC Leo Club, and we are very proud of his journey. Three years ago he met Assistant Principal Chris Grant in Vietnam, as he considered making Forest Hill College his school. From the moment he arrived, Chi Kiet has embraced every possible opportunity and made the most of them. Congratulations Chi Kiet. Please click here to view his speech.