Service, Leadership and Learning to Care

April 20, 2017

Written for Autumn News 2015.

The College continues to present opportunities for boys to learn how to care.

Four of our eight core aims and values at Newington deliberately overlap. They are learning through service, building our character, caring for others and imagining a better future.

Too often our society preaches the benefits of greed and excessive competition, promoting a culture of “what’s in it for me?” A civilised society should use as one of its benchmarks the quality of its care for all its members. The College continues to present opportunities for boys to learn how to care. We call it our Service Learning Program. It is always interesting to observe which boys respond to the challenges of care. Sporting or cultural leaders quickly note those who help others or help with the set up and/or clean up at the end; Outdoor Education groups quickly note those who go out of their way to help with chores; and pastoral or academic leaders quickly note those boys who lend a hand and help others in need. What we often remember about boys is not their sporting, academic or cultural successes, but whether they were wonderful people. Depth of character needs nurturing and encouragement, just as much as the pursuit of an individual achieving his academic or co-curricular potential. Our extensive pastoral care program encourages boys to care for others within our immediate and wider community.

All boys at Newington have leadership opportunities, all have peer support opportunities, and all are encouraged to become involved in care programs for those in need. The growth in voluntary practical service endeavours across all Year groups strengthens the learning of how to care.

Each year our College experiences wonderful joys and great sadness as we are such a close community of people who care about each other. Adverse human experiences test the quality of our sense of community.

From the international scene we are inspired by people who have served humanity such as Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. From our national scene we have examples such as Fred Hollows, Rosie Batty, Fiona Wood, Tim Costello and Weary Dunlop. Yet the best source of inspiration will always come from within our own local communities. Voluntary parent contribution to the College in so many formats continues to inspire boys and staff. Staff contribution in so many formats way beyond their official duties continues to inspire boys. Teachers, parents, group leaders, boy leaders and friends all play a part in creating a culture of caring.

Early in Term 1, Mr Neil Perry (ON 1975) of restaurant fame, officially opened our upgraded kitchen in Founders for the purpose of adding Hospitality and Cooking to our curriculum. At the opening Mr Perry shared his philosophy of care. He explained that ‘care’ is a commitment to quality in leadership in addition to developing meaningful relationships between chefs and waitstaff, suppliers and growers and diners and restaurateurs to ensure the highest degree of social and environmental sustainability.

At Newington we have our own philosophy of care which aims to empower boys to become men of substance and resilience who ultimately make an active and positive contribution to society. What we all do to lead by example is so crucial. By our actions we need to provide an inspiration for others to care.

Dr David Mulford

May, 2015