Term 2 is fully firing at the library - with a fantastic display of Year 11 photography kicking off an anticipated succession of art displays, and three beautiful Indigenous creator spirits now gracing our walls. Manga is ever popular and there’s a rising interest in graphic novels. One of the best parts of last week was having three students separately ask for help finding something they would enjoy reading, as they’d struggled with or stopped reading for lack of interest, and successfully matching them with the perfect book.
Watching that particular light when someone has been captivated by a story and immersed in a unique capacity to imagine into empathising with other characters, other experiences, other worlds - is a source of joy. Storytelling is what makes us human. For that reason, it’s important not only to encourage students to read but also to engage and create. This year we’ll be having various authors, poets and creatives (hailing from various state-funded programmes) come to the College to offer inspiration and encouragement and motivate our students into understanding that their own voices are important and can be shared with the world.
In that vein, we were fortunate to be awarded a Creative Arts Partnership Grant from the Catholic Schools Office and engage the filmmaker, Benjamin Gilmour, to mentor some of our students across two terms into making short films for social change. Benjamin began by addressing a whole school assembly and shared fascinating stories of working with Mother Theresa, as well as of his covert time in Afghanistan making award-winning feature films. He has also written two best-selling memoirs as a paramedic around the world, and really emphasised to our students his passion for social justice, compassion for others, and dedication to representing the complexity and goodness of individual humans who can be rendered a faceless enemy by war. Some of our students are being given the opportunity to identify what social justice issues they feel passionately about and then learn how to make a creative response to influence change.
I personally love that our school motto is ‘Peace through Justice’. It’s a framing question for every new initiative in the library - is this inclusive? Does it reflect back a diversity of stories that might be being experienced by students and staff in our school community? Does the physical space delight and engage the senses? Will this new resource or experience stretch the reader/participant into deeper empathy, awareness and kindness? Can it empower our young people (our future) into feeling equipped to speak up for justice?
Ms Melaina Faranda