The winter solstice is the day of the year that has the least daylight hours of any in the year and usually occurs on 21 June. For those living in the southern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice is the day on which the earth, spinning on its axis, has its South Pole “tipped” as far as it will away from the sun. Because of this “tipping” away from the sun, the southern hemisphere receives the shortest hours of daylight on this day.
Creator of light,
at the rising of your sun
let the greatest of all lights
~ your love ~
rise, like the sun,
Within my heart.
Thank you to all our parents and staff who braved the freezing weather last Friday so that our students could enjoy their day of soccer in Young! Our children had a ball despite the weather so I thank you on their behalf!
Congratulations to Aileen Maher who organised our first Tribal Footsteps overnight stay at Camp Hudson near Tumut. The location was stunning and I can highly recommend if you have not been for a drive out that way to make some time and take the family one weekend. It was a delight to join our students on Friday morning and hear all the wonderful activities they had been enjoying. I was treated to making string from stringy bark, sharpening stones, using leaves to make soap, making fishing nets and throwing boomerangs during my time there. The students were thoroughly engaged and loved what they did. It was a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn more about their culture and to come together and build community. I was very impressed with the way they welcomed students from Temora who joined us, as well as how they included and cared for one another. Students wrote down some of their thoughts and I have included some of them here:
“I liked that we had the opportunity to do this. I would love to do it again.” (Jordan)
“I liked how we learnt about Aboriginal cultural stuff…..I wish we stayed longer so we could do more..” (Maddy)
“I got to learn new maps…..and I would love to do it again.” (Rhyley)
“I liked that we learnt about cultural things and then did them ourselves.” (Alice)
“I liked it but it would have been better if we stayed two nights….and it was dry.” (Hannah)
“I loved the connections that all us kids made, bonding and not making nasty comments about our culture. I think this trip really helped people with understanding and why we appreciate our culture and history so much…..LOVED how we didn’t have to sit inside all day because we were connecting with the land….(Lara)
Thanks to Kylie Murray, Peter Turner, Annette Black and Erryn Marsay for supervising over the two days.
Wellbeing has become a focus internationally and we at Sacred Heart continuously look for ways to help our students develop resilience, engage with positive behaviours and develop strategies to overcome challenges and adversity. The world has changed and the pressures faced by everyone continue to increase.
As Catholics, we rely on our faith and relationship with God to nurture our wellbeing. According to physician-medical scholar Dr. Walt Larimore, author of 10 Essentials of Highly Healthy People (Zondervan), several studies demonstrate that religious faith and spirituality can and do have a positive impact on our mental and physical well-being. As people have moved away from a religious element in their lives, so too have mental health concerns continued to rise.
Below is an excerpt with some advice for how we as parents can help our children enjoy their childhood. It is certainly a constant battle for us in schools as we are pushed by the government to implement testing, assess our students, obtain a range of academic evidence and still care for our students’ wellbeing!
On New Year's Eve, back in 2012, Savannah Eason retreated into her bedroom and picked up a pair of scissors.
"I was holding them up to my palm as if to cut myself," she says. "Clearly what was happening was I needed someone to do something."
Her dad managed to wrestle the scissors from her hands, but that night it had become clear she needed help.
"It was really scary," she recalls. "I was sobbing the whole time."
Savannah was in high school at the time. She says the pressure she felt to succeed — to aim high — had left her anxious and depressed.
"The thoughts that would go through my head were 'this would be so much easier if I wasn't alive, and I just didn't have to do anything anymore.' "
Looking back Savannah, now 23, says the pressure started early.
She told us her story as we sat at the kitchen table of her childhood home in Wilton, Conn., a wealthy community near New York. Her dad commutes to the city where he works in finance.
From the outside, Savannah's life may have appeared picture-perfect: two well-educated, loving parents; a beautiful home; siblings and lots of friends.
From an early age, Savannah says, she was considered one of the smart kids, and when she arrived at Wilton High School, she was surrounded by many other high achievers. Lots of kids take a heavy load of Advanced Placement and honors courses. They play varsity or club sports and are involved in lots of extracurricular activities.
But by sophomore year, the high expectations began to feel like a trap. Like many kids at her school – and at elite high schools across the country – she felt compelled to push herself to get good grades and get into a top college.
"Even though I was getting A's and B's, mostly A's, in all my classes — all my honors classes — I still felt it wasn't good enough," Savannah says.
No matter how well she did, someone else was doing better. "The pressure I put on myself was out of control," she says. She says she felt the pressure all around her — from peers, teachers and her parents.
Newfound awareness of these kinds of struggles, has started a conversation — and new initiatives — in her community. A group of parents is trying to shift the culture to balance the focus on achievement with an emphasis on well-being. Part of the equation is freeing up kids to find their own motivation and life path. There is a growing body of evidence pointing to elevated risks of anxiety, depression, and drug and alcohol use among kids raised in privileged communities.
A wake-up call
Savannah's mother, Genevieve Eason, feels she was partly to blame for the pressure Savannah felt.
"I know I was talking to her by eighth grade," Genevieve recalls, "about how she needed to find out what her passions were, so she could get involved in the right activities ... so that would look good on her college applications."
But after Savannah's problems began, Genevieve says, she backed off. She helped Savannah drop some of her tougher courses. And the family started to focus on well-being.
"Up to that point, I totally bought into the idea we're supposed to push our kids to achieve. When they encounter obstacles, we push [them] to overcome those," Genevieve says. But pushing too hard can backfire.
Given the pressure-cooker environment in her community, Genevieve wondered how many other teens may also be struggling.
Clearly, many kids excel. But the results of the mental health assessment showed that a lot of kids struggle, too.
"The survey results definitely suggested that Wilton High School's rates of anxiety and depression with students was higher than national averages — significantly higher," says school principal Robert O'Donnell. He says he was surprised and concerned.
About 1,200 students — almost the entire student body — took the survey, known as the Youth Self-Report. The survey found that compared with a national norm of 7 percent, about 30 percent of Wilton High School students had above average levels of internalizing symptoms. These include feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression. It also includes physical problems that can be linked to emotional distress such as headaches or stomachaches. Often, kids may hide these feelings.
The survey also found that rates of alcohol and drug use among Wilton students were higher than average, too. We asked the psychologist who did the assessment whether she was surprised by what she found.
"This is by no means unique to Wilton. It's a common phenomenon across high-achieving schools," says Suniya Luthar, professor emerita at Columbia University's Teachers College and founder of Authentic Connections, a nonprofit that aims to build resilience in communities and schools.
Luthar has been studying adolescents for more than 20 years. She has published several studies that document the elevated rates of drug and alcohol use by kids who grow up in privileged communities — where incomes and expectations are high. Surprisingly, she says, the rates rival what she has documented in low-income, urban schools.
"What we've found is that kids in high-achieving, relatively affluent communities are reporting higher levels of substance use than inner-city kids and levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms are also commensurate — if not greater," Luthar says.
Her most recent study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that rates of substance abuse remain high among upper-middle-class kids, as they enter early adulthood. The alcohol or drugs are a form of self-medication.
Savannah's mother, Genevieve Eason, says she is not surprised by Luthar's findings.
"People choose communities like this to give their children opportunities, but it comes at a cost," Eason says.
The survey findings have been a wake-up call for the community of Wilton. "A lot of people were in denial," says Vanessa Elias. The mother of three children is the president of the Wilton Youth Council, which aims to promote the emotional well-being of the community.
"People don't talk about these things," Elias says. Families often struggle silently, not realizing that their friends' or neighbors' kids are experiencing the same struggles. "So having an opportunity to create a conversation about this was really important," she says.
Dialing back the pressure
There's a body of evidence to show that resilience training can help reduce symptoms of depressive or negative thinking among children.
At home, Elias says, she has tried to create a low-stress environment for her children. For instance, she limits the number of after-school activities her kids participate in so they don't spend every afternoon being driven around, overscheduled. She also limits homework time in the evening for her youngest daughter — a third-grader. As a result, "there's a lot less friction in the household," she says.
And when she realized that the focus on standardized testing was making one of her daughters anxious in first grade — and giving her stomach aches — she opted her two youngest children out of standardized testing.
Elias says she has been influenced by the book How To Raise An Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims, which aims to help parents break free of what the author dubs the "over-parenting trap."
But to really change things — to dial back the focus on academic achievement at all costs — will require a culture shift, says Eason.
"We have to broaden our definitions of success and celebrate more kinds of success," she says.
For Eason's daughter, Savannah, this means forging a new path.
"I don't want to work on Wall Street; that sounds miserable to me," Savannah says.
She enrolled in culinary school, and she is training to be a pastry chef.
"I'm never going to live the same lifestyle I did growing up," Savannah says, "I'm not going to make that much money, but that's OK."
She has her own set of priorities. "It's not about how big your house is and what kind of car you drive. It's about happiness and peace."
This is a different kind of success, one that her parents are now celebrating with her.
"I spend hours making a cake, and my favorite part is when you cut it up and people eat it," Savannah says. "That's the part when you bring joy to people, and that's what's important to me now."
Mrs Janet Cartwright
Stage 1Mudyi Class Mass
On Wednesday Stage I M celebrated their class mass. It was wonderful to see so many family members join us in the celebration of Creation. It was fantastic to see so many family members joining us in our liturgical celebrations.
Choices and Decision: Catholic Life Talks
Our secondary students took part in Choices and Decision: Catholic Life talks during the week. The presenters were extremely impressed with the maturity, openness and empathy of our students during these presentations and small group discussions.
Stage 4 Weekend Mass
Saturday 30/6/18 Stage 4 students will be leading the ministries of the Mass. We would like to invite all community member to join us this Saturday night Mass at 5:00pm.
Year 4 Reflection Day
This coming Wednesday Yr. 4 will journey to Dickson Hall to enjoy their year’s Reflection Day. The theme of the day is “The Good Samaritan – Who is My Neighbour.” The focus of the day is that all humans are part of God’s Creation and we are here to care for all.
Year 7 Retreat
This coming Thursday Yr. 7 will journey to Tumut to enjoy their year’s retreat. The theme of the day is “Let Your Light Shine”. Students from St Anne’s Temora and McCauley Tumut will join with our students in liturgy, open discussion, games and team building activities based around this theme.
Yours in Faith
|Thomas Jones||Beau Northey|
|Tanen Singleton||Lily Cowin|
|George Smith||Scarlet Chambers|
|Leila Ismay||Ellie Lake|
|Tegan Hutchinson||Brock Holder|
|Dieter Dickinson||Willem Offermeier|
|Star of the Week|
Hennessy Catholic College invitation for parents and caregivers of Year 10 students.
Please keep Monday 25th June free to attend this very important session for students going into Year 11 2019.
P & F Ten Grand in the Hand Fundraiser
The P & F has committed to raising funds for the school to provide and maintain facilities at the school and are again organising the $10,000-in-the-hand raffle. Tickets sold or unsold (hopefully sold!) must be returned to the front office by Friday 28th September 2018.
Power of Engineering Day on Monday 25th June 2018 Years 9 & 10
Year 10 History Site Study
Some important upcoming evenrs and dates for your diary/Secondary student intentions for 2019
Young Soccer Carnival
A huge, wet day in Young last Friday with 100 primary students attending the Young Soccer carnival. A big thank you to our wonderful P&F for the purchase of the new tent. It kept us very dry. Thank you to the wonderful parents who managed teams and assisted with transport.
Well done to the below students travelled to Penrith last week to represent our diocese and school at the CCC touch championships.
It is a great opportunity for our students to experience such a high level of touch and develop some of their own skills.
Western Region Athletics
Next Friday we have 30 students attending the Western Region Athletics Carnival in Temora. We wish all the below students all the best.
Harvey Fitzgerald, Zane Lange, Jasper Howarth, Tanner Sheather, Jake Winsor, Joshua Harris, Ned Murray, Alexander English, Declan Brown, Oscar Roberts, Darcey O'Toole, Corey Gale, Willem Offermeier, Brock Holder, Charlie Deep, Sam Grewal, Blake Holder, Dieter Dickinson, Sacha McLeod, Halle Johnson, Angel Hall, Lucy Shields, Amarli Kelleher, Mackenzie Gale, Lily McLeod, Bridget Sharman, Lily Murphy, Lilly Deep, Eliza Tozer, Sarah Harris, Hannah Drum, April Dickinson, Georgia Harris, Evie Leahy, Matilda Blackney, Nellie Ward, Zoe Beath, Matilda Menzies and Caitlin Drum.
Western Region Athletics 29th June- Temora
Mortimer Shield Final 26th July - Wagga Wagga
TWC Red Ball Tennis gala Day (Stage 2) 26th July - Cootamundra
Trent Barrett Shield Gala day 7th August Harden
Archdiocesan Athletics Carnival Canberra 21st August - Canberra
Secondary Archdiocesan Netball Championships 1st Augus t- Canberra
Small Schools Rugby League (Semi Final) 1st August - Boorowa
Archdiocesan Athletics Carnival Canberra 21st August - Canberra
P & F Ten Grand in the Hand Fundraiser
Tickets were sent home to all families yesterday.
We thank our familes for their continued support of our P & F Association as it works to provide wonderful resources for our school. Please do not hesitate to contact the front office, or myself, if you wish to but more tickets.
0403 955 853