Middle Years Update
Middle School has been very busy with Year 8 into 9 elective subject selections and Year 9 into 10 interviews and subject selections that this fortnight's reflection comes, not from me, but from a surprising source: Richard Branson (the founder of the Virgin Group).
His ideas about 'being' as opposed to 'doing things' in our pursuit of happiness are well worth discussing with your teenager.
You don’t know me but I hear you are going through a tough time, and I would like to help you. I want to be open and honest with you, and let you know that happiness isn’t something just afforded to a special few. It can be yours, if you take the time to let it grow.
It’s OK to be stressed, scared and sad, I certainly have been throughout my 66 years. I’ve confronted my biggest fears time and time again. I’ve cheated death on many adventures, seen loved ones pass away, failed in business, minced my words in front of tough audiences, and had my heart broken.
I know I’m fortunate to live an extraordinary life, and that most people would assume my business success, and the wealth that comes with it, have brought me happiness. But they haven’t; in fact it’s the reverse. I am successful, wealthy and connected because I am happy.
So many people get caught up in doing what they think will make them happy but, in my opinion, this is where they fail. Happiness is not about doing, it’s about being. In order to be happy, you need to think consciously about it. Don’t forget the to-do list, but remember to write a to-be list too.
Kids are often asked: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The world expects grandiose aspirations: ‘I want to be a writer, a doctor, the prime minister.’ They’re told: go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, and then you’ll be happy. But that’s all about doing, not being – and while doing will bring you moments of joy, it won’t necessarily reward you with lasting happiness.
Stop and breathe. Be healthy. Be around your friends and family. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you. Be bold. Just be for a minute.
If you allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment, happiness will follow. I speak from experience. We’ve built a business empire, joined conversations about the future of our planet, attended many memorable parties and met many unforgettable people. And while these things have brought me great joy, it’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness. Why? Because allowing yourself just to be, puts things into perspective. Try it. Be still. Be present.
For me, it’s watching the flamingos fly across Necker Island at dusk. It’s holding my new grandchild's tiny hands. It’s looking up at the stars and dreaming of seeing them up close one day. It’s listening to my family’s dinner-time debates. It’s the smile on a stranger’s face, the smell of rain, the ripple of a wave, the wind across the sand. It’s the first snow fall of winter, and the last storm of summer. It’s sunrise and sunset.
There’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings. As human beings we have the ability to think, move and communicate in a heightened way. We can cooperate, understand, reconcile and love, that’s what sets us apart from most other species.
Don’t waste your human talents by stressing about nominal things, or that which you cannot change. If you take the time simply to be and appreciate the fruits of life, your stresses will begin to dissolve, and you will be happier.
But don’t just seek happiness when you’re down. Happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit. Take the focus off doing, and start being every day. Be loving, be grateful, be helpful, and be a spectator to your own thoughts.
Allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment. Take the focus off everything you think you need to do, and start being – I promise you, happiness will follow.
Middle School Interact Club
After the success of the Senior Interact Club at Koonung the Middle School has started their own Middle School Interact Club with the support of the Mont Albert and Surrey Hills Rotary Club (MASH). In the first meeting of our new club, with many Year 9 students attending, we learnt about the 'Books in Homes Australia' foundation.
Books in Homes Australia is a charitable foundation that provides books-of-choice to children living in remote, disadvantaged and low socio-economic circumstances, ensuring crucial early literacy engagement and the development of reading skills needed for lifelong achievement.
Our students learnt that there are children living in Melbourne that don’t have their own books. Discussing and understanding the importance of literacy, the club wanted to help. After many ideas were debated it was agreed that this was going to be our first event as it tied in with our main school focus of trying to improve literacy across the different domains here at Koonung.
The Middle School Interact Club sold pizza at lunchtime on Thursday 22 August and all proceeds will be donated to the Books In Homes Australia foundation.
The Year 9 students also went to all of the Year level assemblies to advertise our new club and invite new members from Years 7 and 8.
The Interact Club also raised awareness of the worthy cause by teaming up with Mont Albert Primary School in conjunction with Book Week. The Koonung Students read to the Prep students and vice versa. The Koonung students took their favourite books to read while the prep students had written a narrative story that they were very proud to read to their Koonung buddy. It is always wonderful to work with our feeder primary schools.
On the 22 August, the Middle Year Interact Club went to Mont Albert Primary School to read to the preps. Each of us took one of our favourite picture books from home to read to the kids. Once we were there we visited 4 different classes. In each of these rooms we read to one or two children and then some of them would read a narrative they wrote to us. It was a really great experience to interact with the kids and to be able to read to them and to have them read to us.
On the same day at lunch time we held a pizza lunch for the school. We sold a slice for $2 and we were surprised at how many people lined up to get them. All the money we made was raised for the ‘Books in Home’ campaign.
Overall the day was a success. We felt excited to raise money for such a good cause and we all felt encouraged after we visited the preps. I’m we all can’t wait to see what the Interact Club will do next!
Amelie Sorrenson 9D, Live Life Leader
Friday mornings from 8am in the MYC
A homework club is now available to students. It is held every Monday in the library from 3:30pm to 4:15pm.
- Blazers are to be worn to and from school
- Scarves must be plain black or navy
- Spray jackets are for PE and Sport Education classes
- Everyone must be wearing a tie
Koonung Secondary College Raise Excursion to Now Finance
On Tuesday the 20 August Year 7 and 8 students, who have been participating in the Raise mentoring program for Terms 2 and 3, were given the opportunity to participate in an excursion at Now Finance, a finance company in the city who has partnered with Raise to show their support for youth mentoring in schools. The aim of the day was to expose students to a workplace, which was a new experience for many, and to hear from the staff at Now Finance about their roles in the organisation, but more importantly their pathways through school and life and the mentors who helped them along the way. The students were also accompanied by their mentors who generously volunteered their day to share the experience and participate in a range of team building activities with their mentees. The day proved successful and beneficial for all those involved and was a positive addition to an already great mentoring program at Koonung.
Director of Learning: Middle Years