Monday 8 March 2021

Choosing to challenge

To our wonderful CBC community,

I begin my message today by paying tribute to our First Nations women, both past and present, who enrich our lives with deeper connection and understanding of our land, our humanity and our faith.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Choose to Challenge

Those three words encapsulate what is needed for us to achieve a more fair, equal and just society for all, regardless of gender. And as an educator, it is a call to action to help form students who, when presented with the opportunity, will choose to challenge.

At CBC, we take our responsibility as a school for boys very seriously. In a rites of passage context, the CBC journey supports our young men on their development from a child psychology to an adult psychology, and fully formed as positive male role models for our broader communities who are well-prepared to walk with and in support of women.

In Years 7 and 8, our gentlemen begin to understand the importance of standing up for what they believe in, through their first steps in our Service Learning programme, and throughout the curriculum, whether in Religion and Life or English or HASS, they are presented with countless examples of people who have chosen to challenge the status quo and made a difference in the world.

In Year 9, through our defining programme, The Rite Journey, our young gentlemen are encouraged to develop the confidence to stand up to injustice. Together with their teachers, they spend an entire term focussing on their relationships with women, and how they can support those around them in their fight for equality, in big and small ways.

That work continues in Year 10, when in addition to exploring the power of individuals to change the world in their curriculum, our gentlemen participate in the Tomorrow Man programme, which helps them better understand their relationships with women and how they can contribute to a more equal world through their actions.

Then in Years 11 and 12, our boys continue their development into CBC gentlemen, as they are called to step up to the plate and serve their community. Whether through Service Learning, leadership or otherwise, they are able to experience first-hand the power of an individual to make a difference, and are encouraged and supported to go beyond the College and its programmes to find ways to begin changing the world.

But no matter what work we are able to do in partnership with our parents, as a College community, the societal pressures working against us are significant. Biases and sensationalism in mainstream and social media, the harmful proliferation of pornography, the problematic examples that are too often set by those in positions of influence, and the tragic domestic violence plaguing Australia are just a few. As Mr Burgio wrote last week, it is disheartening at times to see these elements come to light, and it is easy to feel as though progress is moving at a glacial pace, if at all.

Through all of this, I continue to find hope in our College community. No matter what is happening in society, I feel a sense of optimism whenever I meet with parents, chat with boys in the Cloisters, or catch up with my colleagues. Because against all of these challenges, we are a community that dares to be different, and which wants nothing more than to see today’s boys develop into tomorrow’s gentlemen who will be the change that we so desperately need. We are a community that chooses to challenge.

I hope that today we can all find some time to reflect on the progress that has been made, while resolving to continually work for more.

God bless,

Jenny Knox
Vice Principal