2022 Year 12 Retreat

The Year 12s began their final year with a retreat on campus. Day 1 started with a visit from Akram Azimi who spoke about his experiences as a refugee moving to Australia. He shared with the Year 12s the cultural barriers that he and his family faced in settling in Australia. He bravely shared how he always felt “inferior” in school and how particular students continued to make his life difficult with verbal and physical abuse. He also shared how the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 led to him being “polluted” as people in Australia searched for someone to blame and unleash their anger upon. His ability to persevere despite the numerous challenges he faced, and to always see hope in every situation no matter how dire, inspired the students and left them reflecting on how they can be better as individuals and as a cohort.

The next session had the Year 12s separated into small groups to participate in sessions with a staff member who will be one of the support people for the cohort in 2022. The students were taken to the beach to engage in team building activities. Whilst there, a discussion was had about the ability to acknowledge things that we cannot change or thoughts that may be standing in the way of us moving forward. The students were given the space to acknowledge these things and throw a rock or stick into the ocean to symbolise the act of letting go.

Next there was a treasure hunt around the School, to collect various items that will help them on their journey as Year 12 students. These included colouring-in pages, baking recipes and bubbles to practice the art of mindfulness, tissues for those difficult times, and water to remind them to stay hydrated and healthy. In these smaller groups, students spent time connecting with one another and building each other up with kind words. They were also given the opportunity to set their goals for 2022.

On the second day the students engaged in a session with Catherine Kolomyjec from Soul Gestures, who spoke about the importance of showing kindness to others and how this can translate into services. The Year 12s have committed to a number of service initiatives for 2022 including spreading joy amongst the Middle School students, the coordination of Spirit Week in Term 3, spreading joy to the elderly people in the local community and raising awareness and resources for homeless people in Western Australia.

The final session provided students with an opportunity to focus on the value of family, and to acknowledge that this relationship is often taken for granted. Each student received a letter from a parent, guardian or a special person in their lives. Afer reading these letters, everyone had the opportunity to respond to the author and put into words the thoughts and feelings that are often too hard to say in person.

Some students were asked to share their thoughts about their experiences on the retreat:

“It was good team bonding. We got to work together with people we hadn’t worked with before. It made us realise that we are all in the same boat even though we are on different pathways.” – Molly Bean

“It was a fun way to catch up with my peers.” – Matthew Willison

“I thought it was really good. For us to see what Year 12 is going to be like and express what it feels like at the moment in front of others. Akram Azimi was amazing. He shared with us how he singled out someone and when it happened to him, he felt the pain that little Ali felt. A clear message was: If there’s one person left out, don’t leave them left out.” – Jessica Whitby

Thank you to the Year 12 Pastoral Care Tutors and staff who provided support to our Year 12s and gave them the opportunity to reflect and connect with one another.