A MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
I begin by acknowledging the immense work undertaken by the staff, students and parents over the past five weeks to help us cope with the tremendous difficulties.
Teachers and staff have been absolutely inspirational. They have engaged students in some wonderful learning and have been most resourceful. Achieving substantial educational outcomes for our students – and delivering lessons remotely.
On behalf of all families I want to say thank you to teachers and staff for their professionalism and dedication.
To students we have seen some wonderful achievements.
We have also witnessed leadership qualities in the student body blossom. Student leaders encouraging and supporting students in their year levels to do their best.
It is amazing how many of you have missed being at school. Seeing your teachers, your friends and, of course, just being a part of this great community.
I hope you have had some time to be grateful for what we have here and I hope you will return with tremendous enthusiasm and care for each other and the school in general.
As I have said on many occasions an important part of the McKinnon magic are our parents. To you I say thank you for your support, encouragement, patience and laughter. When we could have just run away we persevered together!
It has been a tough job for many of you!
Thank you for your tireless efforts.
Earlier this week an announcement was made about the transition back to school before the end of Term 2.
I have posted on Compass key dates, but basically our Year 11 and 12 students return on Tuesday 26 May and Years 7 – 10 students return on 9 June.
It will be absolutely wonderful to have the “gang” back. Laughter and joy and smiling faces have been missed (not the litter though)!
Students are required to be in full school winter uniform. Details will be sent via Compass notices.
As I mentioned in the last newsletter – this “quieter” time has enabled many of us to reflect on what really matters. To be grateful for the blessings in our life. To be thankful that we live in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in a safe society, community and country.
We must always consider what we value and never take these values for granted! We are custodians of our country and its values and we must do all we can to embed our community values.
Over the COVID-19 lockdown time we have indeed seen the best and the worst in some people.
Like many of you, two weeks ago on the news, I saw an image of two international university students walking through an arcade in the city and being horrendously attacked – for what? – for being Asian? – I despair sometimes!
It was absolutely horrendous to watch. It appalls me to the core to see and hear racism, anti-semitic behavior and a general lack of respect and dignity.
We must always question what type of community do we want to live and thrive in!
I believe it must be one of compassion, kindness, respect and love. These are the qualities we want to develop and admire - these must be embedded in all our actions and must be role-modelled to young people.
No one deserves to be treated poorly. No one. Not for their race, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or gender. None of it is ever okay! I have no time for racism or bullying.
I read an impressive heartfelt essay from a Graduate of McKinnon, Maggie Zhou (Class of 2016), that I share with you!
“Australia, this is not good enough.
Where there is fear, there is blame. While a virus sweeps around the world, another invisible sickness is infecting our community.
We’ve seen Donald Trump insist on calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus”, endless verbal and physical abuse towards young Asian women in our streets and shopping centres, a student from Hong Kong punched in the face for wearing a mask in Hobart, multiple Asian family homes graffitied with abusive messages in Melbourne and Sydney, and many more instances of race-related abuse.
In its first two weeks in April, a reporting database for anti-Asian racism in Australia received over 170 responses. I could continue to light this article up like a Christmas tree with more links to even more examples. I could tell you about the macroaggressions that haunt me and my friends daily. How people cough directly towards us, how they look at us with genuine fear in their eyes, or how my little sister who works in a bakery is subjected to snarky and menacing comments while she politely bags sourdough loaves.
Or how my government-approved daily walk is not a breath of fresh air, but an anxiety-fuelled, heart-thumping experience – something I endure rather than enjoy. I keep my eyes angled 45 degrees downwards, a fixed lift of the outer corners of my mouth in place; a subdued acknowledgement of my deference. Ridiculously, I sometimes wear sunglasses to see if it disguises my Asianness.
This period is hard on all Australians, and that’s without the added heat of racism. But the daily abuse and resentment being hurled at us is undoing the work that so many Australian-born Chinese citizens have had to do to unlearn their internalized racism. When hatred is literally spat in your face, it’s hard to ignore.
But this sudden increase of discrimination points to something more sinister; Australia is still a racist country. The racism that’s been amplified during this pandemic just highlights how common race-related discrimination and violence is towards Muslims, Africans, and First Nations peoples – or anyone with dark skin or ‘exotic’ features. Basically, anyone who isn’t white, or white-passing.
This doesn’t end when this virus is over. What we need is a united stance condemning racism in all its forms – from mocking people’s accents to hurtful passing comments, to ‘funny’ banter. It’s not ‘just a joke’. Any laughs garnered from such comments just reinforce the disparity between the treatment of white Australians and, well, other Australians.
Start with your own social circles. Check your friends’ behaviour or a family member’s inappropriate vocabulary.
Stand up, call it out and be an ally. While it is potentially dangerous for racial minorities to defend themselves, it might not be for you. If you don’t feel safe to physically intervene, you can offer support to the person who’s been abused.
Arm yourself with resources and information. Do your Googles and don’t rely on members of minorities to do the hard work for you. Racism. It Stops with Me is a good starting point.
We’re better when we’re united. Racism is a toxic, festering thing and has proven its ability to destroy communities. What we need is empathy, kindness and a little love.
A friendly hello or a smile to someone on their daily walks goes a long way, too. You never know, you could be making someone feel just a little bit safer."
Words of wisdom indeed! Be kind, compassionate and let’s treat everyone with respect!
The exam timetable for Years 9, 10 & 11 students will be distributed soon. These exams are an important part of our Teaching and Learning program. I know everyone will work hard to achieve their best.
Due to restrictions of having people in the Hall together, we will ask students to undertake all their exams remotely at home.
Year 11 exams
Will be held from Tuesday 2 - Monday 15 June
Year 10 exams
Will be held from Thursday 11 - Monday 15 June
Year 9 exams
Will be held from Thursday 11 - Monday 15 June
Tuesday 16 June
Mr Long will publish the timetable next week. Integrity and trust are vital during these examinations as they have been when other Learning and Assessments have been undertaken.
Do not stress – just do your very best!
Another competition for McKinnon and one where many staff and students participate. Language Perfect is the biggest language learning competition in the world. Details later in the newsletter.
Good luck and thank you in advance for your combined efforts and for flying the McKinnon flag.
Thank you to Mr Chamontin and Ms Fowler for organising this exciting opportunity for our community and for everyone embracing the fun!
The McK50 challenge is coming to the end of Week four meaning that the 435 participants and their families are 20 days down in the 50 day challenge.
The daily release of the training sessions designed and recorded by the PE staff is met with such anticipation from all participants, and the sense of community that is evident through the Google Classroom posts, the communal physical activity logbook entries, and the sharing of workout photos to the @mckinnonscpe instagram account has helped connect us all as we live remotely.
I would like to acknowledge and thank Mr Hudd and Mr Foot for organising this wonderful initiative and they assure me that there are some more exciting developments and surprises around the corner and are still calling on members of the McKinnon community who would like to get involved in the challenge for the remaining six weeks to do so.
Anyone wishing to get involved in the McK50 family simply needs to complete the original Google form that was sent to all staff and students.
RUN CROSS COUNTRY
This week we have launched our annual Cross Country Carnival in a way never seen before. Using the online platform Strava, students have been encouraged to sign up and join their houses to create a carnival atmosphere. Distances have been set and students are encouraged to take part in either running or walking the event over the five days until Sunday 17 May.
We would like to see as many of you as possible getting involved with the Carnival over the next few days, head down to your local park or oval and get those running or walking shoes on for your house. Let's see which house will be McKinnon's first virtual Cross Country.
I would like to acknowledge and thank Liam Adlington for organising this very worthwhile event.
WORLDS GREATEST SHAVE
Congratulations to Caitlin Tampion (Year 10) and Ethan Stubbs (Year 10) who are raising funds for the Leukaemia Foundation. They will be taking part on Friday 15 May in the World’s Greatest Shave. If you would like to make a donation to this worthy cause the link is below:
Well done to both students who are raising awareness about this worthy cause.
I would like to acknowledge and thank Sam Neal for organising the Minecraft Building competition which was a great success. Thirty students participated and every single build was incredible. Below is the link to the builds and the winners: