Nurturing Resilience: Lessons from the Past for Today's Students 20231108-1h1a6997.jpg

As the academic year comes to a close, it's a time for both reflection and celebration, acknowledging the triumphs and successes of our students. The recent Remembrance Day service at our school prompted a deep dive into the values we instil in our students, particularly focusing on the CBC Gentleman attribute of being "accountable, resilient and prepared to face and overcome challenges."

In contemplating these attributes, the stark comparison between the challenges our students face today and those confronted by soldiers like Peter Casserly, an alumnus of CBC Fremantle (1915) and the last survivor of the Western Front in World War I, becomes evident. Casserly, who left school at 13, worked as a blacksmith's apprentice and later served as a sapper in the Royal Australian Engineers in the gruesome battlefields of Ypres, Armentieres and Amiens. His experiences, at the tender age of 19, put into perspective the current challenges faced in the exam rooms and workforce for our current Year 12 students.

The sacrifices made by Peter and his fellow soldiers, however, extended beyond the physical hardships of war. Unlike the students of today, they lacked the modern comforts that often shield or distract our youth from the harsh realities of life. Their world demanded unyielding courage and resilience in the face of adversity, shaping them into the brave individuals who secured the freedom we enjoy today.

In contemplating these historical narratives, it raises the question of whether our modern approach to parenting and education, marked by overprotection and the removal of discomfort and failure, is inadvertently hindering the development of resilience in the next generation. The contrast between the unsupervised childhood experiences of my past, like riding motorbikes on a friend's farm from dawn to dusk without a mobile phone in sight to the anxiety-laden response to a simple request by my son's to walk to the shops today is striking.

While it is only natural for parents and educators to want to shield their children from harm, it is essential to strike a balance between protection and allowing space for personal growth. Overcoming challenges and failures are crucial in developing resilience and preparing young minds for the complexities of the world.

As we honour the legacy of individuals like Peter Casserly, let us take inspiration from their resilience and instil in our students the capacity to face challenges head-on. By nurturing resilience, we empower the future generation to navigate the uncertainties of life, ensuring they are not only academically successful but also emotionally equipped to contribute meaningfully to society. In doing so, we pay homage to the sacrifices of the past while building a foundation for a robust and resilient future.

Mr Brent Butcher
Vice Principal