A Note from the Principal
ANZAC Day fell over the school holidays last month and it was commemorated at St Mark’s in separate ceremonies by the Primary School and the Secondary School. In the Secondary School ANZAC Service, a group of our students, who belong to cadet units in the community, formed the catafalque party that stood watch around the Australian flag, and also contributed to readings throughout the ceremony. Students, at both services, who were in the audience treated the occasions with the respect that we associate with such commemorations.
It is often a time when we reflect on the values that characterise Australia and Australians. I remarked that as the generations of people who fought in armed service of Australia grew older, there were some murmurings in society that such traditions would die out. Having attended both ceremonies, I am very confident to say that the ANZAC Day traditions are in safe hands with our young people.
Over the past couple of months, I have watched leaders, and would be leaders, behave in ways that reinforce strong values and in other ways that lead us to question their values. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, reminded the people of New Zealand of their humanity and the values they hold dear in the face of the tragedy that occurred in Christchurch on 15 March.
As the election campaign in Australia played out over several weeks before the weekend, in our political candidates, those who would be our leaders, we saw examples of behaviour that set high standards for us, that encouraged us to be the best we can be as a Nation. In the same campaign, we saw examples of people behaving in ways counter to the values they claim to represent publicly and heard candidates being far from kind and inclusive. I hope our voters, in every electorate around the country, have chosen good leaders for their communities and our country.
It must be confusing to our children and young people to hear and see these mixed messages from those who would be our leaders. The last few weeks have reminded me just how important our roles are, as parents and teachers, in helping our children and young people to be clear about the values that keep us strong, and keep our communities strong and positive places in which to grow and live. We are strong influences on them, and it is our responsibility to continue to help our young people to understand what is right and wrong, and how we should and should not treat others, so that when the time comes that they need to make choices about their own behaviour, they have a strong values base from which to draw. It is also vital that we model these values ourselves, always.
Thinking back to those ANZAC Day Services held at St Mark’s, I think we have made a good start.