Dean of Students | Mr Damien Cuddihy
Many of you would be aware that it is RU OK Day today. The significance of this day has never had so much relevance as it has over the last 18 months. Our vulnerable students, who work so incredibly hard to keep in the green zone, have recently felt the pressure build in subtle ways. The need to have a genuine sense of connection with those around us continues to be challenging. This year’s theme, Are they really OK? focuses on encouraging everyone to take the risk and ask the question. On Thursday, a social hub was created at Duhig Place with a sausage sizzle, music, balloons, RU OK shirts, banners and handball games to raise awareness and encourage the boys to check in with each other from time to time.
The influence of others has always been a powerful force in the lives of our young men. In many cases, this unfolds as a positive influence, but we do become acutely aware of the potential pitfalls this influence can have on our sons as well. In schools, it is the unwritten rules that people fear being judged over. Whether it is being too loud or too quiet, too different, too interested in sport, not interested enough, or the way you look, that can lead to that feeling of being disconnected within a community. Often boys will choose to blindly conform rather than staying true to their values and individuality to avoid being in the spotlight. Building one’s capacity for moral courage is certainly a long game. Schools will never stop judgment, but at Terrace, we can teach boys to make judgements more mindfully. Furthermore, we can teach the students that it is possible to make a judgement and not feel the need to articulate it to others. I am sure we all remember our parents reminding us that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all! It is still sound advice today.
With the last round of Basketball, Rugby and Chess this weekend, I would like to thank you all for your support of these programs throughout the term. The mid-week training, the weekend drop-offs and pick-ups are always challenging to manage, but it is your presence that we thank you for. I know it means a great deal to the boys when they know someone is on the sideline watching them play.