Byron Bay Writers Festival success

We once again demonstrated the strength of writing at Cape Byron taking out first and second place in the Susie Warrick Young Writers’ Prize at this year’s Byron Writers’ Festival.

Ella Hill-Smith from Year 11 won the first prize of $1000 for her wonderful story called The Girl Who Collected Broken Seashells. She accepted the prize at a presentation at the festival on Sunday.

Mackenzie-Jane Stephan from Year 12 came a close second with her story called Almost Home. Both stories will be published in The Northerly, which is produced by the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre.

Alix and Katie are thrilled that their students have once again shown their writing expertise in this competition.

Winter Festival Classes 3-12

Year 9 & 10 Elective Showcase

Parliament of NSW 2018 Secondary Schools Student Leadership Program.

On Wednesday 6 June, Robyn Grapentin and Zoli Wiseman represented our school with their Guardian Gael Lewis at the 2018 Secondary Schools Student Leadership Program in Sydney. The civics and citizenship program offers Year 12 student leaders the opportunity to develop their knowledge of our system of government proceedings, and the role of the Governor.

The visit included an introductory address at Parliament House, the opportunity to sit in the public galleries of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council chambers. At lunch we met with our local Nationals Member, Ben Franklin. Zoli and Robin asked some probing questions about the West Byron development and the potential environmental impact and what he was doing about it and shared with him the issues we have with our short school day due to the buses. Ben Franklin answered both questions enthusiastically and promised to look into the bus situation.

High School Athletics Carnival Day

On Friday 15th June, the High School students spent a sunny winters day at Ewingsdale sports ground participating in the Inter-House Athletics Carnival. A total of nine Track and Field events were on offer for students to test their physical skills in running, jumping and throwing. The carnival is not yet complete as the students are currently competing in the high jump event during lunch times and their PE lessons this and next week, so the final results will not be known for a couple of weeks.

As usual, there were some outstanding individual performers but what was more impressive was the extent of participation with students enjoying the thrill and challenge of doing their best or pushing themselves to achieve a few extra points for their house. Team spirit was strong and defined by the excellent performances and leadership of all the house captains. Crete rose to the challenge thrown at them by the other houses and is currently in front by a small margin followed by Athens, Sparta and then Olympia. There are only a few points that separate the houses and the results of the high jump could alter the current positions of the houses.

Students who performed well in their events by coming first or second have been invited to represent the school at the North Coast Sports Association Regional Carnival to be held in Coffs Harbour, next term. These students may be challenged by other Cape Byron students who feel they deserve a place in the team. Challenges may be made up until the week before the Interschool Carnival. So I hope all athletes spend some of their holiday time in training for their special event. There will be training next term leading up to the Inter-school Carnival for those students able and willing to attend.

Rudolf Steiner knew how important it was to have students participate in physical activities. It has been proven time and time again how physical movement is directly related to assisting the development of pathways in the brain and therefore assists learning in many academic pursuits. It is also well known that exercise relieves stress and improves self-esteem. It allows social development and encourages students to express themselves in an acceptable and healthy way. Carnivals such as this provide opportunities for students to hone social skills of co-operation, teamwork and to develop a sense of empathy and trust. Skills that are not easily taught in the classroom but are regarded by Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School, its staff, and its community as important life skills required for any human being to achieve their potential. So a big thank you to all parents who support these events and encourage not only their own children to participate, but also for your encouragement of all students in being involved. You have made a difference to allow these students to realise their potential and be the best they can be.

Year 8 Camp

In early June, Year 8 undertook their week-long camp in the Nightcap Ranges, From the Mountain to the Sea, in which students made their own way – hiking, biking, paddling – through the beautiful forests and waterways of our local area.

There were many standout moments during the week: the students spontaneously playing touch football at any given chance, ringed by the forest at Rummery Park; setting off on our two-day hike watching the colourful trail of backpacks and rain jackets bob along the path ahead; coming out of the mists of the forest and seeing glimpses of the far horizon through Bangalow Palm studded valleys; reaching the lookout over Uki one way and back to Byron the other and basking in warm afternoon sunshine – a welcome relief after the rain! – only to share the rocky outcrop with a mighty python (Ric reckons two adult hands would not have encompassed its belly); watching the students work in teams to cook each night and getting to sample their delicious meals; listening to them laugh and laugh, in particular while playing King of the Mountain; waking up to distant drumming in the valley on our last morning; quietly paddling down the Brunswick River in the afternoon light on Friday.

Of all the standout moments, none eclipsed the times when the students stepped up to meet the challenges of the camp and never more so than when they stepped up to support each other. This is a class who know how to offer support, sympathy and motivation, as much as they know how to monkey around and have fun! Our key words for the week were Resilience and Perseverance: finding the deeper capacities within ourselves to go further or do more than we thought ourselves capable of, and seeing each activity embarked upon through to its completion. Peter shared a story of a marathon runner whose mantra was “Can I give more?” and this summed up the spirit of the camp. We were especially lucky to have Ric take this camp, stepping in at the last minute to direct operations when Stuart’s wife gave birth to their third son two days before our departure date! Thank you Ric – this was a memorable camp we will all treasure, and an honour to complete with you as your last Year 8 camp.
Alix and Peter

 

Year 9 Modern Art Main Lesson

Students had fun creating a Picasso-type cubist portrait which means having more than one view within a portrait (full face and profile). They explored this using cardboard and collage, oil pastels and acrylic. Dennis 

LINDY LEE Artists’ Talk and Group Critique with Year 12 Visual Art Class

“Lindy Lee’s imparting words of wisdom left me with a feeling of ultimate peace and taught me that there is so much more to the processes that embody an artist’s practice that extend beyond the concept. Lee said that we have to have “the courage and the heart to pursue something” which resonated deeply with me in terms of my own artist’s practice.”

Mirani Astawa (Year 12 student)

Lindy Lee
By Lucy Stranger, September 26, 2017
“For Lindy Lee the recording and questioning of self has been a constant point of examination in her practice. As a Chinese-Australian artist, her work has been critical to visualising the experience of Chinese diaspora in a country that has historically whitewashed its multiculturalism. Anchoring her practice and dual identity is her Zen Buddhism, which has propelled her current engagement with the elemental through heat, metal and fire. Now mid-career, Lindy is taking this to epic proportions. In her latest work she is pushing concept and scale with the creation of some of her largest pieces yet. For an artist who has long been in dialogue with her dual transient identities, Lindy Lee is pushing past boundaries and forging her own mark as an international artist.”
For further reading about Lindy Lee visit: http://www.artistprofile.com.au/lindy-lee/

Extension English Sydney Trip

In late May a group of seven Extension English students travelled to Sydney for an HSC Study Day run by the English Teachers Association. Not wanting to let our trip to Sydney go by without covering all a city offers, we packed into our two brief days a trip to the NSW Art Gallery to see the Archibald and Wynne exhibitions, a play by Academy award winner director Martin McDonagh at New Theatre, Newtown, some browsing of eclectic shops on King Street, a night walk to the Opera House to take in the Vivid Festival, and then a full day of intense revision and note-taking at the English Extension 1 course at Newington school, Stanmore. It was a very fun, very intense and very successful trip. We even found poet Judith Wright’s memorial plaque at Circular Quay while devouring Messino gelato! Everyone was happy! Good luck to these wonderful students as they prepare these holidays for their Trial exams and to submit their various major works.
Alix

 

World Environment Day

On Tuesday 5th June the high school celebrated World Environment day. Students were encouraged to dress up in environment themed outfits. There were many creative costumes including Tobsha who dressed up as the sea and Naomi and Brianna who dressed up as flowers. Donated prizes went to the best dressed students in the high school. These included earth bottles and cups, and a Mayde Tea bottle.

At lunchtime the SRC organised a house trivia competition. The questions were recycling themed and students competed in teams from their houses. A team from Crete made up of Della, Asher, Easton, Sachin and Rachel won the competition followed by a three way tie from two Spartan teams made up of Fergus, Luka, Lucia and Ayden and Isaac, Bimini, … and a team from Olympia made up of Thibault, Joe and Kaia.

Overall the day was a success and plenty of money was raised for the highschool charity of choice Share the dignity through a gold coin donation.

Avryl Hart

 

Subject Forum for Year 10

Year 11 and 12 students talking to Year 10 about their subjects.

Donated Pollinator

A big thank you to Roe and Trace and the Team at Flow for donating this little pollinator house.

Created from Flow Hive offcuts, this house is designed to help build pollinator corridors through our urban landscapes. With 100% of profits being donated for habitat regeneration and protection, the Flow Pollinator House is our first hive designed to house native solitary nesting bees.

Bees are tiny environmental champions!
They are responsible for the pollination of 30 percent of the world’s crops and up to 90 percent of our wild plants.

There are over 19,000 different species of bees worldwide, the majority of which are solitary nesters and, like honeybees, their numbers are on the decline.

We decided to take a leaf out of their book and created this cosy home to raise awareness for the protection of these incredible creatures.

100% of profits are donated to conservation
Our gardens are important for pollinator habitat, however, pollinators also need large areas of habitat to flourish—this is why 100% of profits from this product are donated to habitat protection.

You can purchase or read more about it here https://www.honeyflow.com/shop/flow-hive/flow-pollinator-house/p/350

Every human being should show the greatest interest in beekeeping because our lives depend upon it. – Rudolf Steiner

Building Resilience in our HS students

In the High School, we have been working on how to counter the growing anxiety and mental health concerns that are prevalent in adolescents today. Our Main Lessons, anthroposophical approach and wellbeing programs have a positive impact on the challenges faced by teenagers today, but there is always more we can incorporate into our work.

Resilience is defined as the ability to “bounce back” from stressful or challenging experiences. It involves being able to adapt to changes and approach negative events, sources of stress and traumatic events as constructively as possible.

The High School staff are committed to working with students to build this important life skill. It is very important for students to experience ‘failure’ to learn how to bounce back. Experiencing ‘failure’ helps to build mental capacity and learn that life is a series of challenges and joys. Expecting ‘happiness’ in every life experience is not realistic nor healthy. Being ‘saved’ every time something goes wrong does not assist in building strong capacity to cope with future obstacles. There is a growing picture of anxiety and mental health challenges in young people and we need to be responsive to this and address this in our daily work.

I attended a Mental Health in Schools conference a year or so ago and I shared some of the important points from a lecture I attended in a presentation to the HS students at a recent assembly. The speech was written by Peter Ellingson and some of the points below were thought provoking.

“All success is due to failure, and all advances in knowledge come about as a result of failed attempts. This is the reality of achievement. It is a truth that, once grasped, frees us to experiment and innovate –to discover, rather than vegetate or imitate.

Success, after all, is nothing if not the ability to tolerate failure.

Although we can learn to fail without learning from it, when we do pay attention to it, we enter new thinking and risk-taking. Failure is how we learn – the natural consequence of the risk and complexity – which not only characterises life – but, when embraced, makes it exhilarating. It is when things fail that minds get to work to devise better solutions.

US celebrity talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, who ran one of the highest-ranking TV shows ever and is the richest self-made woman and the only black female billionaire, was fired from her first job. Her boss told her that she was too emotional and not right for television.

Similarly, Walt Disney, whose Disney studios pioneered animation and inventive film-making, was fired by a newspaper editor because he lacked imagination. Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, did not become the world’s richest man, overnight – he was a university drop out, whose first business failed. The man whose name implies genius, Albert Einstein, was a “failed” child. He did not speak until he was four, did not read until he was seven, was expelled from school and refused admittance to his local university. He went on to win the Nobel Prize and change, not just physics, but how we understand who we are. The same is true of Sir Isaac Newton, the man who discovered gravity, and Charles Darwin, who before he stumbled on to Natural Selection, gave up on his medical career. The man who literally had a light bulb moment, when he invented the light bulb, Thomas Edison, was another who did poorly in early life, along with US President Abraham Lincoln, TV’s most successful comic, Jerry Seinfeld, French artist, Vincent Van Gogh – who only sold one painting in his lifetime – and Elvis Presley, who was fired after one performance. According to the promoter, the future king of rock n’ roll was a failure who needed to go back to driving a truck.

Failure then, is productive, not because good guys come last, but because good outcomes arise from bad ones. Although we can learn to fail without learning from it, when we do pay attention to it, we enter new thinking and risk-taking. Failure is how we learn – the natural consequence of the risk and complexity – which not only characterises life – but, when embraced, makes it exhilarating.”

Some of the examples of where we see a lack of resilience in the HS are:

  • Students calling parents to pick them up when they don’t feel comfortable or ‘happy’ at school or at a school event or camp
  • Students using “I can’t….” statements when they feel something is too hard
  • Students feeling too stressed to do timed exam responses or timed assessments as they are worried they will do badly or ‘fail’
  • Some students feeling that receiving a 19/20 on a task is somehow a ‘failure’

Some things we do to support students in the HS that assist in building resilience (these are a few examples) :

  • SRC – Student Representative Council – students having a voice in the school and listening to other students’ concerns and discussing how to deal with them
  • Year 9 community work – working towards causes that are bigger than themselves
  • PDHPE curriculum which actively targets personal development ideas
  • Sport classes – physical activity is a proven antidote to anxiety and feelings of sadness
  • enriching Main Lessons that work on the three-fold picture of human development and use history and art to show the progression of ideas and the continuation of human consciousness
  • Whole HS singing each Wednesday – brings a sense of belonging and a chance for non-singers to build resilience in sitting in the ‘uncomfortable zone’ and knowing that their presence alone is important
  • No Smartphones in the playground – to enable students to sort things out in a face to face way rather than online in more anonymous modes and allow for natural human connection amongst students
  • Sports Carnivals – students feel connected to a whole group or may feel uncomfortable in the physical realm, but learn to work through uncomfortable feelings
  • Work Experience – risk taking, being in an unfamiliar situation and experiencing the world outside the ‘safe’ school environment
  • Tobias Project at Year 8- sticking at a project for a whole year and dealing with the obstacles and pitfalls that inevitably occur
  • Camps Program – despite some students feeling nervous and worried about being away from home, we see amazing changes in reluctant camp goers
  • Teachers showing and modelling their ‘mistakes’ – we all try to show that we are not flawless and that mistakes are human and normal.
  • Shared cross year level projects – to enable younger and older students to share ideas and solutions
  • Leadership in senior school – House Captain responsibilities and Year 12 students as MCs in High School Assemblies, which encourages students to take risks and face challenges

We are always working on ways to encourage students to take risks in a safe environment and to learn from things that feel hard. We ask for your support in cementing what we bring at home and are always happy to receive feedback about what we do. Conversations around the dinner table that perhaps talk about how you as adults have learnt from mistakes is a great start!

Katie Biggin 

Year 7 Camp

All going well here. Regards, Class 7

 

Tony Barry visits HS

In 2017 the year 9/10 art elective students participated in an environmental art exhibition hosted by actor and environmental activist Tony Barry. On Wednesday, Tony presented the school with a framed poster of the Indian Ten Commandments to show his appreciation for participating in and promoting environmental awareness.