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From Paddy

“To stand at our window, wrapped in the half-dark and watch the day disappear… is a moment of hygge.”

Louisa Thomsen Brits.

A few years ago, I came across a copy of Louisa Thomsen Brits’ “The Book of Hygge: the Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort and Connection”.  This is a beautiful little book, filled with simple, life-affirming wisdom.  At its heart is the experience of winter – or rather, the experience of togetherness, of connectedness, and of focusing on the here and now, that the long cold nights of a Scandinavian winter forces on the Danes.

Winter is naturally a season for slowing down.  As the growth of plants slows, so the pace of nature slows.  As humans, especially post-industrial (and now post-internet) humans, we can miss that.  For us, technology means we can ignore the rhythms of the seasons – we can work when it is dark, we can “be productive” even when the weather is inclement.

And yet, what the Danes have realised, and embraced as a nation-defining philosophy – is that we are poorer, less healthy, if we do not embrace those rhythms.  This is why we mark the seasons with our festivals, and we are thrilled to be marking this season with our Winter Festival in Bangalow.  Students and staff have been busy preparing for this special night, making lanterns and learning winter songs, and we are all looking forward to this event.

Another Steiner School (Blue Mountains) also sees Winter Festivals as a time for reflection. They write:

 “At its core [Winter] festival is a celebration of light. Many people are familiar with physical light representing the light of consciousness or the light of love in the world. Here, we offer everyone the chance to enter into a reflective space, bathed in beautiful sounds and sights, to focus at this time of relative darkness in outer nature on our own inner light.”

You will have heard, and will see in this newsletter, that this year we are offering our whole community an opportunity to reflect.  Through our Strategic Survey we are asking you to reflect and let us know what you value about the school, and what you want to see grow in the future of the school – and I encourage all of our community to fill in the survey.

And, as we head towards our winter festival and the holidays, I also encourage all of us to slow down a little, and see winter as our time to pay “attention to the concerns of the human spirit,” and turn “towards a manner of living that prioritises simple pleasure, friendship and connection above consumption” (Brits).

I wish everyone in our community a wonderful, joy-filled season.

 Paddy

Reconciliation week

This may well be one of the most significant Reconciliation weeks in Australian History. With the new government change, Anthony Albonese and Penny Wong’s first comments after becoming Prime Minister / Foreign Minister was to acknowledge First Nations People and mention their intentions of endorsing the Uluru Statement From The Heart. This was a promising sign First Nations People will be recognised in the Constitution, have a voice in Parliament and a Makarrata will be created. This year we did a range of activities (listed below) to bring awareness to Reconciliation and the significance of the Uluru Statement From the Heart.

  • Welcome to Country / Mural

This wonderful Mural that you can see on the side of the Hall near the entrance to the school has been 2 years in the making. Claire Sleeman has worked tirelessly and had many obstacles in her way to secure Kaitlyn who is an Arakwal First Nations Person. Kaitlyn did a wonderful Welcome to country in language and some teachers described her talking to the students as the most meaningful stories we have heard. Kaitlyn talked of significant and sacred sites around the Byron Shire and talked of her family and connection to Cabbage Tree Island mission where a lot of her family lived. Painting the Mural was a busy but beautiful two days where Claire coordinated as many students as possible to participate in painting the mural. The design of the mural represents the merging of the land and the ocean. The large carpet python represents the totem of Kaitlyn’s great grandfather, the dolphin represents the ancestors of the Arakwal women. The central organic lines and dotes are the river systems that flow through this land. The sun is the energy force for all life and the horseshoe shapes are people sitting on the Earth.  A huge acknowledgement to Claire for all her hard work to get this project off the ground.

  • Uluru Statement from the Heart

Students read the Uluru Statement From the Heart in year levels and discussed how it was composed, what it means and what the significance is. Find out more about the Uluru Statement.

  • Welcome to Country

In Guardian this week, Students watched a TED talk on Jade Kennedy talking about Welcome to Country and the significant of it (watch it here). Students had fruitful discussions within their classes discussing what the video was about. It is a powerful video that gives some insights into what his people have experienced and you can’t help left feeling with Empathy for First Nations People.

  • Flag Raising Ceremony

Last year, some of you might have noticed 3 new flag poles erected in the carpark. Our Reconciliation Action Plan Committee recognised the old flag pole held the Australian Flag higher than the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Flags and we felt this didn’t sit well with the values we were trying to portray at CBRSS. The school invested in 3 flag poles of equal height and on Tuesday morning Paddy Innes-Hill led the high school in a Flag Raising Ceremony discussing different flag protocols and the symbolic meaning of flying the flags.

  • Culturally Safe Libraries Program

I would like to introduce to you how our school library at CBRSS responds to creating a culturally inclusive space and contributing to achieving reconciliation. Firstly our library responds to and is implementing the Culturally Safe Libraries Program, the process has started and will be implemented across the collection. AUSTLANG Protocol 5  is recognised and used in our library where possible. Protocol 5 is about how collection content by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is described and classified in our catalogues and library management systems.

So what is a culturally safe library?

“A library that provides an environment that is emotionally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; where people feel supported, can express themselves and their culture, history and identity with dignity and pride. An environment which fosters shared respect, meaning, knowledge and an opportunity to learn together without judgement.”

  1. In our school library this means being sensitive as to how books are catalogued and shelved.
  2. That indigenous peoples are widely represented across the collection and available for teachers and students to access from Kindergarten to Year 12, as picture books and teaching resources.

Resources and display for Reconciliation Week 2022 – some books from our collection on display this week.
Charlotte, from the CBRSS Library 

Creating our new Mural

A new Mural has been created and now installed at the entrance to the School. The Mural was created under the guidance of local indigenous Artist Kaitlyn Clark and completed over 2 days with the help of many CBRSS students and staff.

Acknowledging Student Absence

As you will know, all schools are legally required to record any student absences.  Schools are also required to formally confirm with a parent that the parent acknowledges the absence. This is so that we can ensure that all students are safe. We have now simplified this process through the Parent App.  We would like to request that all parents check if they have any unexplained student absences and acknowledge the record by asking you to Follow these steps

Elective Showcase 2022

For only the second time since 2019 we will host an Elective Showcase for our whole CBRSS community.

What a joy it is to welcome you back to the school to celebrate the beautiful work of our students.

SAVE THE DATE: FRIDAY 17 JUNE.

We recommend an audience of high school age and above.

Class Five Camp

Class Five went to Tyalgum Ridge for their camp and explored the local caldera, challenged themselves with activities and camped out under the stars after cooking their own meals. We had a fantastic time bonding with each other and the world around us.

Student Representative Council

The SRC have been busy this semester. First, we organised the IDAHOBIT day (International Day Against Homophobia, Biophobia and Transphobia) where the high school dressed up in rainbow colours to show our support and to stand out against discrimination of the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

We also actively wanted to support the people who have been affected by the recent floods. The SRC students in year 7 and 9 lovingly made over 50 beautiful cotton tote bags which were filled by the SRC students (year 7,9 and 10) with sanitary items donated by IGA Byron bay and reusable keep cups and lunch boxes donated from seed and sprout.

During our assembly, Nena from Bunjum Aboriginal corporation, graciously accepted our care packs which were then distributed amongst the People of Cabbage Tree Island who are still living in temporary housing in Ballina. Special thank you to Vatika and Joss for helping us out.

Writers on the Road

It’s been so great to have guest speakers back in the school and we always love an author visit. In May we were fortunate to have not one but four fantastic Australian authors run dynamic writing workshops for our Class 8-12 students. Writers on the Road runs as part of the Byron Writers Festival and was organised by English teacher and Class 11 parent, Zacharey Jane. Visiting authors included: Krissy Kneen, Dylin Hardcastle, Danny Teece-Johnson and Dub Leffner. Award-winning author and Brisbane bookseller Krissy Kneen led a workshop for senior Extension students on sensory writing, blending factual and imaginative writing and combining multiple narrative strands. Krystal in Class 12 said, “It’s so inspiring to meet and learn from people who are in the field and to see how the work you do in school can actually equate to something real outside of school.” Thank you for inspiring us all and come again soon!

Poets Out Loud

Could you conceptualise, write and perform a poem in under two hours? How about as a team? Murwillumbah-based spoken word poet Sarah Temporal spent a morning with Class 10 recently and shared her passion for Slam Poetry that had everyone brainstorming, writing, scripting and performing their work in teams of four, all before recess. The poetry and performances the students produced – be it about burning pizza, body image, iced tea, listening, whispering and screaming, on the burden of being the generation to have to fix it all – was brilliant, thought provoking and moving. Great work Class 10!

Student Leadership Day

Ayla and Lenny attend the Student Leadership Day at Government House, Sydney

Attending the leadership day in Sydney was a fantastic experience. It offered me an opportunity to meet fellow students who are also passionate about taking initiative in the world. We met the Governor of NSW, who we had to address as ‘Your Excellency’. Government House was beautiful, however, the formalities felt strange for someone who has never called a teacher Sir or Miss in her life! Afterwards, we visited the Parliament House. This was a great opportunity to meet the local representatives of our regions and I felt quite proud as many of the questions posed to them by students concerned future action for climate change, homelessness, and other socio-political issues. Overall the day was a great adventure-filled granting Lenny and I a deeper look into some of the workings of our government system. – Ayla Rinsky-Bryant, Class 12

Going to Government House and Parliament House in Sydney was an enlightening experience. Talking to other students and watching how the future leaders of the country and industry interacted with the Government apparatus was incredibly thought provoking. Many of the other students, given the opportunity to raise questions with the Governor (Margaret Beazley AC QC) or our local state members, had very incisive points to make that certainly put some of the adults in the room on the spot. To be amongst very politically literate young people, with mindsets indicative of critical thinking, made me proud to be a witness of and participant in the future of our society. I believe there are many great debates to be had and issues to be solved, and the thinkers of my generation certainly have the ability to do so. On a side note, it was pretty interesting to watch the Governor squirm when faced with, to be fair, quite vexing questions. Questions about how homelessness is being tackled in cities like Sydney (i.e. why all the anti-homeless architecture), how flood victims are being assisted, how prison reform is being instituted. – Lenny Dowling, Class 12

The Children’s Rose

Last year a very special and much loved member of staff Eleni Mann retired after 20 years of teaching art at CBRSS. She shared with the children over all these years her depth of knowledge in understanding and using colour and taught them many artistic techniques such as watercolor, pastels, charcoal and resist. She encouraged them to stop and wonder at nature, to observe the smallest details as well as the majesty of sunsets and sunrises and the seasonal changes around us.

She has gifted the most beautiful painting to the school called ‘The Children’s Rose’ which will be hanging in the library.

Her inscription on the back reads –

This artwork is dedicated to all the children and students of Cape Byron Steiner School.
The Children’s Rose is an actual rose. It produces highly fragrant blooms. The petals slowly unfurl from a single or cluster of flowers.
The bush is robust, with few thorns and grows tall and upright.
The ROSE represents the ‘heart’ and is a symbol of beauty. 
This gift is for my appreciation and gratitude to this school.
‘A timeless flower’.
Created with grace from Eleni Mann, Specialist Art teacher 2002-2021 

The last primary class she taught was our current Class 6 and here they are with the ‘Children’s rose’ painting.
Thank you Eleni from us all at CBRSS for your beautiful painting and all that you shared with the students and teachers in your time at Cape Byron xxx

 

Off to the Theatre

Today I, and the almost complete crew of the Class 11 Drama and English Extension elective classes, went to Brisbane and watched the wondrous Jane Eyre at QPAC. Since I haven’t read the book (Extension students have) I was gripping my chair with every twist and turn of the plot. The acting and stagecraft were superb to see. But I have to say the highlight of the excursion for me were our little school bus antics and trying to find a car park that would fit a minivan in rush hour Brisbane madness. With our combined manifestation powers, however, just when we were beginning to give up hope, we prevailed. I apologise to my Year 9 English teacher: the hero’s journey really does exist outside of fairy tales. – Raman Jahns, Class 11 Drama

HS Athletics Carnival

Discover Engineering

The Engineers Australia Newcastle Division would like to invite high school students interested in a career in Engineering to attend a free online event Discover Engineering on Thursday 23rd June from 4.30pm – 5:30pm.

Join in our Discover Engineering forum session to gain insight into the different pathways to a career in Engineering. You will be hearing from all different members of the engineering team (Professional, Associates and Technologists) about how they have reached where they are today. We have also invited a panel consisting of representatives from 3 different universities as well as TAFE NSW, so bring along any burning questions you may have about engineering courses and enrolment.

This FREE event is open to all students from years 7-12, parents and teachers are also welcome to attend. To register, please visit here https://cvent.me/XDEmkr

Set yourself up for your own unique pathway into an Engineering career!

Download Flyer

Byron Youth Theatre

Byron Youth Theatre’s new original production Loves Me Loves Me Not — a dynamic and thought provoking play — once again displays the skill and talent of the eleven BYT cast members who are aged between 14–30 years. Loves Me Loves Me Not explores issues of consent and responsible relationships.

The cast have students from Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School, Byron Bay High School, Lindisfarne and Trinity College.

It refers to and includes references to abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault. BYT is well known for their honest and open exploration of important issues and provides an excellent opportunity for parents, caregivers, teachers and youth-related organisations to engage young people in meaningful conversations on the topics raised.
Loves Me Loves Me Not follows several different relationships that intertwine and gives a powerful platform for both young people and adults to express their hopes, fears, confusion and deep longing about how we develop meaningful connection with one another. It includes live music, choreographed dance and dramatic scenes.
The cast attended the Wheel of Consent Training and Actor Boundaries and Professional Intimacy Consent workshops in the development of this original play. Funded by the Northern Rivers Community Foundation and Women’s Resource Service, the production also received a generous donation from Global Ripple, a strong advocate in the prevention of violence towards women and children. It is proudly supported by Byron Youth Service and Brunswick Picture House.

Amatori Orchestra

Upcoming concert by Amatori Orchestra on June 18th (Bangalow 3pm) and 19th (Ballina 3pm).

Two of our school’s string teachers will be performing. It’s a great repertoire, fast and exciting. Kids are free.

Creatures at the YAC

Be led into the bizarre, dark and captivating world of CREATURES that explores the realms of myth, stories and folklore as interpreted by young and emerging artists from The Byron Shire.

CREATURES is a multimedia arts production and public exhibition, as result of a workshop program led by artist Karma Barnes, with facilitation from Pavel Sola, Phil Relf and physical theatre facilitation from Lisa Apostilides of Byron Youth Theatre.

We invite you to join us on a journey through visual arts, movement, sculptural works, projection, light and electronic music soundscapes. The world of The Creatures. Find out more

Parenting a teen on Social Media: Where does the danger actually lie?

Ever wondered what your teen really wants you to know about social media and wants you to teach them? Well, here it is. A brilliant and insightful piece by one of our Youth Advisory members. – Gigi, 17yrs.

Schools, parents, and organisations predominantly focus on the preventative measures of educating teens on the dangers of social media. These systems use scare tactics to focus on why you shouldn’t sext, have your account set to public, or engage in online bullying and view pornography. And yes, while we must educate the youth on the safety and dangers of these ever-changing media platforms, it does not extensively address the undeniable contemporary issues teenagers face on social media. While we have taught the youth how to not engage in unsafe practices on social media, we have failed to actively teach them how to respond to these situations if they do.

A young girl has sent nudes to a boy on Snapchat, screenshot it, and has blackmailed her, “if you don’t send more, I will share these around” she feels she has no other option.

A boy is being bullied on social media and is embarrassed to tell his parents or the school for fear of ridicule by his parents and peers.

An older unknown man has commented with inappropriate messages on a girl’s Instagram post but does not want to tell her parents in fear of embarrassment and deleting her account.

Social media is not an issue because we are not educated judiciously enough on its dangers; instead, we have failed to teach our youth how to actively and appropriately respond to these dangerous situations. This is where the real danger lies. Read More

From Paddy

This week we welcomed, with great joy, our parents back on site to celebrate our Autumn Festival. What a wonderful morning of coming together and watching the students share together in a spirit of generosity after experiencing such devastating loss in the community during the recent floods.

A huge thank you to Loani, Ben and all our staff for creating such a wonderful celebration.

Thank you also to Kyle Lionhart, who shared his beautiful music with our students. I recently read an interview with Kyle. In it he shared some of his reflections on Covid and music:

“We’re social beings,” he said. “We need to be with each other. All the social distancing and the communication through screens and social media is where we begin to lose each other.

“But music, just like any form of art, helps people just get out those emotions, and rekindle that human connection.”
(https://fortemag.com.au/music-as-a-healing-hand-kyle-lionhart-takes-on-byron-bay-to-discuss-sustaining-wellbeing-with-music/)

The truth of these words was so evident at our Autumn Festival – and was in some ways perfectly illustrated through our new choir. This choir captured that “rekindl[ing of] that human connection” in both the beauty and the complexity of its harmonies. Choirs are made up of multiple voices, each the product of multiple, sometimes radically different experiences and stories. Yet, when all those voices join, thoughtfully, considerately, they produce such an amazing sound.

That thoughtful, considerate meeting of multiple, different voices in harmony is surely what all communities long for – and it was amazing to see that happening again last Thursday, not just in the choir, but amongst all of our community.

Thank you to everyone who made the festival such a wonderful rekindling.

Thank you also to all those who have made another form of social connection possible over these last two weeks – the connection of compassion.

This was particularly evident when our Senior School students visited Coraki to spend a day helping the local SES, Community Organisations and residents with the ongoing cleaning of the town and surrounding areas.

It has also been evident in so many smaller, but equally important, ways: in the donations of homes, cars, goods to those who have lost everything; in the financial support our Community Giving Fund has offered; in the letters of support to our wider communities volunteers; and so on. The road to recovery is long, and the School will continue to support people in any way that we can in the coming weeks and months. (And so I would like to remind all families impacted by the floods that you can reach out to the school for help, particularly for financial assistance.)

And we will also continue to find ways to rekindle that human connection, through harmony and compassion.

As Paul McCartney once said: “I love to hear a choir. I love to see the humanity…I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.”

Paddy

Autumn Festival 2022

Do you have a flood story to share, do you need some help or would you like to help?

In times like these we need community more than ever, everyone in our community has been affected in some way.

Please remember to make use of our Online Community Noticeboard to post what help you need or can offer, details of fundraising events, and any tributes you may have to the CBRSS online Community Noticeboard by completing our form via this link community noticeboard form

I have my own story of being rescued by some wonderful members of the CBRSS community, you can read more about this and see what else is on offer, here.

If you need help with using this service please email me directly news@capebyronsteiner.nsw.edu.au

Yvette

Class Five News

Class Five is beginning their journey into learning about history, beginning with a Main Lesson block on Ancient India. We discussed ideas such as karma, reincarnation and maya, looked at the trimurti of Gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and listened to and rewrote the Mahabharata. As a finale we ended with an Indian Festival Day – learning some Bollywood moves, eating with our fingers bandara style, designing and applying henna, meditating and doing yoga. It was a blast, thank you to all the parents that helped to make it happen and to the students who were so curious and present to this experience.

Naina

Marlon Denning’s film The Rock Pool Waltz

Screening at Bangalow Saturday 2nd April 4pm.

Year 9 student Marlon Denning created a short film for last year’s Tobias project “The Rock Pool Waltz”.

It was one of 100 films nominated for Australia’s premier international short film festival Flickerfest.

He was selected as one of 24 finalists to have their films judged on the Big Screen in Bondi Sydney in January this year, and his film won FlickerUp Best High School Short film!

His film is now a finalist in the 2022 Bangalow Flickerfest and Byron All Shorts Film Competition showcasing a the best of short films from the Byron Region, Australia and around the World over 3 cinematic-packed days.

The Byron All Shorts screens on Saturday 2nd April 4pm at the Bangalow A&I Hall

Don’t miss this one-off chance to support our student and the regions local stories & see the best of our local filmmakers, alongside the best in the world.

Flood Recovery Fundraiser: Flickerfest Bangalow & Byron All Shorts 2022 is a fund-raiser for local flood recovery for the Koori Mail’s rebuild and recovery of many indigenous families throughout the Bundjalung nation and the Mullumbimby Neighbourhood centres local rebuild and recovery initiatives. 100% of profits from ticket sales across the weekend will be shared between these organisations.

Flickerfest Bangalow Facebook event

Flickerfest Bangalow & Byron All Shorts 2022 programme details

Alumni News

Congratulations and thanks to our graduating Class 12 of 2021 who together donated $1,100.74 to the Givit Flood Fund.

Autumn and the Michaelmas Festival

March 21 is the midpoint between the Southern Hemisphere’s summer and winter solstices, it is also known as the autumn equinox and for us, it is when the festival of Michaelmas is celebrated. Michaelmas is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel. The Archangel Michael is one of the principal angelic warriors, seen as a protector against the dark of night, and the administrator of cosmic intelligence.

The season of Michaelmas asks us to be thankful for the plentiful harvest of the preceding year and to face the approaching darkness of winter with courage in order to meet the darker days and places in ourselves symbolised by the dragon. The fire and fury of the dragon are strong in the world presently and increasingly so with each passing day it seems. We are called to face these challenging times with Michaelic courage to tame the dragon.

Rudolf Steiner said that the outer conflict of Michael and the Dragon was transferred to the inner human being because only in human nature can the Dragon now find its sphere of action. Thus, we are called to face our own darkness with courage and light. It is even time to question: when we find the “enemy” in the outer world, are we just avoiding facing him in ourselves? And also: how can one be a “peaceful warrior,” taking a stand with courage for a higher truth?

At this time stories of good versus evil or light versus dark are often told to illuminate the balance of light and dark that we all must strive towards mastering.

Here are some ideas for observing the festival and the season:

• Learn Michaelmas songs and verses.
• Create a Seasonal Nature Table depicting St. Michael and the Dragon. You could display autumn leaves, small pumpkins and gourds to represent the harvest.
• Tell stories about St. Michael or St. George and the Dragon.
• Do fun outdoor activities that require strength, courage and bravery.

As adults, we can use this time to focus on our own inner work and spiritual growth. Take time for meditation and journal writing, and think about the areas in which we would like to grow.

Some verses for children

Brave and True (this is a nice verse to recite while marching out the rhythm.)

Brave and true I will be
Each good deed sets me free.
Each kind word makes me strong.
I will fight for the right,
I will conquer the wrong.

St. Michael

Earth grows dark and fear is lurking,
O St. Michael, Heaven’s knight,
Go before us now and lead us,
Out of darkness, into light.

The Story of St Michael and the Dragon

A Michaelmas Story

St Michael’s Harvest Song

A Michaelmas Song

We wish everyone strength and courage this Michaelmas season, may all your dragons be tamed!