Dean of Identity | Mr Terry Thompson

Privilege and perspective

Over the last two weeks, I was fortunate to participate in the Year 10 Immersion program for the first time. I accompanied 150 students and 13 staff members to Cape York. The six groups of students lived at different homelands within the Cape York region. Each group:

  • immersed themselves in authentic and challenging experiences,
  • connected to the community and real-life experiences,
  • was taken outside their comfort zone,
  • had to cook and clean for each other,
  • slept in tents,
  • learnt a lot about themselves,
  • gained a new, possibly different perspective on life and,
  • contributed to the formation of the Gentlemen of Terrace.

Quite often, at Terrace, we talk about privilege. Pre-Immersion, as a College, we explored what was happening in Afghanistan and how we as a school can walk in solidarity with the people there. This is hard, hard because we are so lucky to live in a country like Australia, where we are quite sheltered from some of the realities other people face. But it is important to continually remind ourselves how fortunate we are. We can do this by keeping these people in our thoughts and prayers, finding ways to support our neighbours, and always appreciating everything we have.

Cape York was an opportunity to explore this privilege. The groups that I travelled with visited two homelands, the first being Maaramaka and the second, Binthi-Warra. Each place provided great perspective for students and staff to appreciate what we have. At times, the traditional owners shared stories of both happiness and hardships. One such story was of the stolen generations and how these people were taken away from their parents when they were five years old, never to see them again. The thought of losing their parents at such a young age and never seeing them again hit home for many of our students and staff, and we gained insight into the basis of significant trauma and suffering for many of our First Nations people.

To conclude each night, we reflected as a group about what we saw and heard and our overall thoughts of that day. Both the students and staff commented on how happy the people in these communities are. After everything they have been through, their unconditional welcome and inclusivity made us all feel a part of their community. Privilege and perspective are everything.

The Exaltation of the Cross

On Tuesday, the Catholic Church celebrated the Exaltation of the Cross feast day. It is a day of great hope and a time to remember the cross of Jesus and the story of Jesus. Christians believe that when Jesus died on the cross, it seemed as if the worst thing had happened, but God changed this and made it the best thing that would ever happen.

At Mass in our Chapel on Tuesday, Fr Anthony Mellor gave a great insight into the cross, which I want to share with you. He started with -

  • In the name of the Father (hand on forehead) – our hand goes to our mind, where we think about our lives and who we are, what we wish to become and how we act and interact with one another and the world around us.
  • And of the Son (hand on heart) – our hand goes to our heart where decisions are made – again how we wish to act and interact with friends, people and ourselves.
  • And of the Holy Spirit (hands across our shoulders) – our hands go across our shoulders, where we embrace and use our hands for good. Our hands are extended in friendship and work.

Live Jesus in Our Hearts…Forever.

St Joseph…Pray for us.