Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them - Albert Einstein
In this quote, Einstein neatly encapsulates the stage in the life journey that Year 9 students find themselves. No longer boys, not quite young men, both craving the certainties of childhood and the comfort of trusted mentors, yet looking to what the future might hold.
The College's Waterford Campus is a dedicated space across the road from the College's main campus, welcoming Year 9 Students into an intensive year. Here, they are supported by highly specialised staff to develop the independence craved but not easily attained by young adults. For this crucial transition year, the boys are physically removed from the main school body and the comfort of the College's vertical House system to work with a small, dedicated team of Year 9 staff. In this way, boys are encouraged to develop socially, intellectually, academically and spiritually through programs that build on existing skills, knowledge and competencies whilst being stretched to improve and develop, creating a new sense of their capabilities and allowing them to develop greater self-confidence and awareness.
Throughout the year, the boys undertake The Waterford Journey, a progressive Rites of Passage model based on the Rite Journey program, a program with over 20 years of research-based experience supporting the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Tailored to support the vision and mission of the College, The Waterford Journey explicitly deals with the key stages in the often challenging adolescent transition from childhood to young adulthood. As the boys navigate this program, guided and supported by key adult mentors and the Waterford Place staff, they are encouraged to develop a greater sense of self, what they value, where they have come from and who they want to be. The program culminates with the Abyss camp, a solo 24-hour camp experience where the boys are challenged to look deeply into themselves, sit comfortably alone, face past mistakes and the uncertainties of the future, and become better, stronger people.
At Waterford Place, individuals develop new strengths through new experiences, particularly the College's Immersion program in the final two weeks of Term 3. The Immersion Program sees the Year 9 Gentlemen of Terrace scattered all over Australia and Timor-Leste, participating in various programs. Students may be immersed in remote Indigenous communities in Cape York, the Top End and Central Australia. Local groups can gain insight into the challenges of navigating each day with disability and using creative industries to support community groups. Other students engage in their local Brisbane community and seek to empathise with those living at the margins to understand what it’s like to be homeless, to live with mental illness, or to be a refugee in Australia. Groups in the Daintree Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, Southeast Queensland, and Northern NSW learn more about our beautiful environment and how we urgently need to take better care of it. Our Immersions have embedded a ‘service’ element to broaden our students’ perspective and understanding of their world. We challenge the students to be ‘curious’ and not ‘judgemental’ as they experience the realities faced by some of our most vulnerable people and places.
The aim of Waterford Place is simple: to leave the campus headed for Year 10 and the Senior phase of learning as better and undoubtedly bigger young men than when they commenced the Waterford Journey. Apart from the implicit aim of assisting the Year 9 students through this year of transition, the curriculum and philosophy of Waterford Place are rooted in the Edmund Rice Touchstones: Liberating Education, Gospel Spirituality, Inclusive Community and Justice and Solidarity. Despite being isolated from the Main Campus, the boys are still part of the wider Terrace community and bound to be men of Knowledge, Wisdom and Humility. In this way, their year at Waterford Place is distinctly unique but also part of a framework and ethos that the boys are comfortable and familiar with.