Forward December 2017 Forward_2017Dec WEB - Page 11

From the coalface : a Catalyst experience told by those who know it best
SENIOR SCHOOL

From the coalface : a Catalyst experience told by those who know it best

Recently I was asked for my ‘ elevator pitch ’ on Catalyst , that is , how I would describe our program in about the same time it takes to get to the top floor of a building using the lift . Unfortunately , under these conditions I failed dismally . Whilst in my role as Head of Catalyst I ’ m quite happy to articulate how our junior secondary program adds value to the learning experience of each of our students , those who know me well will attest to the fact that I rarely provide brief responses , executive summary-style , on anything I believe in and feel passionate about .
Our junior secondary students on the other hand , are often succinct and with great clarity can share their views and opinions on a range of topics related to their learning and experience of school . This comes as no surprise to me given they are at the coal face of our teaching and learning efforts and our pastoral and sporting programs each and every day . As a result , our students really are a leading authority on the Guildford Grammar School experience and can often ‘ tell it better ’ than any staff member could , including myself .
Recently , parents and students new to the Senior School in 2018 were invited to attend our Catalyst Information Evening . The event provides new Year 7 to 9 students and their families with important information relating to our Catalyst curriculum , co-curricular and sporting opportunities and our Senior School pastoral structure . It also presents an opportunity for those who know our school best , our students , to address new peers and their families . Accepting the opportunity to speak in front of such a large audience is , in itself , a bold and courageous move and one which is always appreciated by attendees , but it is the advice and personal reflections they offer on transitioning into the Senior School that receives a wealth of positive feedback .
As I sat ( with some pride ) and listened to their addresses it did strike me that our broader community might also benefit from what they had to say . In particular , Fergus McNamara ’ s ( 7Wb ) Five Helpful Tips to Make the Most of Your First Year in the Senior School offers a number of important
Fergus McNamara
messages I suspect we can all benefit from as new or existing members of the Guildford community . And so it is with pleasure ( and with an “ OK ” from Fergus !) that I share with you his speech .
Mr Graham Lawson Head of Catalyst
My name is Fergus McNamara and I am here tonight to give all the future Senior School students 5 helpful tips to make the most of your first year in the Senior School . Hopefully , these aren ’ t the same old tips that you will get from your mentor or teachers in your first week or two at Guildford .
These are special tips from a student who , not so long ago , sat where you are currently sitting . If you follow my five tips , like me , you will have a fantastic time in the Guildford Grammar Senior School .
First Tip Talk to new people . It may seem like lots of people know each other .
But really , even if they are talking to the people that they have been to school with before , even if they came from the
When you start in the Senior School , you will quickly learn that there is a club or group to do any activity you could dream of doing .
Preparatory School , that still isn ’ t a majority of the Year 7 cohort . You will benefit greatly from just speaking to a new boy or girl . Just this little act could not just make your day but the other boy or girl ’ s as well . So it is a win-win situation .
On my first day in Woodbridge House , there were many new boys to the School . I was lucky enough to know a couple of boys who had been in the Preparatory School with me . But by taking the time to talk to the new boys , we have all made new friends , and respect each other .
Tip Two Be organised .
I know that you will be told this a lot , but take it from me , it really helps . For Term 1 and 2 I was using a very messy folder . But it didn ’ t really work . I got sick of this during the Term 3 mid-term break and changed to my my new well-organised folder .
After going back to school , all organised , I enjoyed class so much more than before when I was disorganised – and a bonus , I am now learning so much better .
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