Over the last two weeks, we have encountered sad and distressing news and seen no improvement in the deeply worrying COVID-19 situation in the eastern states. Some of us are old enough to remember the scenes of terror and chaos at the US Embassy when Saigon, South Vietnam fell to the North Vietnamese on 30 April 1975. Others will remember the horrific scenes from New York on 11 September 2001, now well-known as 9/11...
Last week I saw a YouTube video of Pope Francis talking with an audience about his name. He shared his recollection of being in the Sistine Chapel and as the votes were coming in, his close friends spoke softly in his ear and said: “Don’t forget the poor, don’t forget the poor.” It dawned on the Pope that he was going to be elected and that he needed to choose a name for his papacy. In his head, he was thinking of Francis Xavier, Frances de Sales and Francis of Assisi. Our Pope was born with the name Jorge Mario Bergoglio and selected Francis after St Francis of Assisi. Our Pope continues to champion the plight of the poor in our world. Our Catholic church mission is always the preferential option for the poor and to support the sharing of our greater wealth for the greater good.
This week we recognise National Refugee Week with the theme “Unity – The way forward”. Over the years as principal I have come to know the Governor of South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC and his wife Lan. Our Governor has, on many occasions, told the story of how he and his wife were raised in Vietnam and fled the communist regime. They arrived on a boat in Darwin in the 1970s together with 40 other people. After arriving in Australia he attended the University of Adelaide and began a career as an accountant and businessperson. He served in the role of Lieutenant Governor before being appointed to the highest office of Governor of SA in 2014. Our Governor also talks proudly of his sons who were born and educated in Adelaide and have forged great careers. For our Governor and his wife Lan, they sought a better life in Australia and the community welcomed them as refugees.
Over the last week or so, the events of our times have finally gotten the better of me. I think I have always been a person with reasonable emotional intelligence and awareness. However, I have grown up in a lifetime where showing your emotions is seen as a form of weakness. In my 40+ years of service in the Army, I have always been aware that as an officer and leader you must always show strength, be calm and decisive, your soldiers depend on you and you need to demonstrate hope and strength. Do not ever let your guard down. It is true that as a male this is still very much part of our psyche, you must not show your emotion or cry as some believe this shows vulnerability and is not setting a good example...
This past week has been a very interesting time with much of the media and world attention focussed on the US presidential election. I remember as a young boy in primary school learning all about the 50 states of America and their capital cities – I had to recite them from memory. Last week as I was watching the map of America on Fox News, with a sea of red and blue representing either Republican or Democrat states, it brought back memories of my childhood and questions about why was I learning this at school – American geography, really? Nonetheless, I was glued to the television watching the count and wondering what was going to happen. The US President is known as the leader of the free world and everyone across the globe is interested in this outcome. It will determine how the next four years will unfold. 2020 will be remembered in history as the year of the COVID-19 global pandemic but will also be known for the US presidential election. What I have witnessed is most disturbing as we see democracy challenged and people fundamentally divided. What we see is the divide of Team Trump and the Democrats, which has resulted in hate, violence, and a deep division in the psyche of the American people. We have also witnessed very poor leadership on the part of Team Trump. There is every right to bring matters to court regarding questions of the integrity of the voting process, but another to incite a narrative of fraud, a stolen election and being rigged. It is about every vote being counted.
This week a new TV show named “Plate of Origin” was aired. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I have a passion for cooking and if I were not a teacher, I would have become a chef. Plate of Origin sees teams of two contestants representing their country of origin compete against each other cooking a classic main dish and dessert. Last night, the Australian team cooked meat and three veg and a classic vanilla custard slice. Their competition, the Chinese team, cooked a duck with Biang Biang noodles and a black sesame mousse with tofu ice cream. If I were on the show representing either the Dutch or the Indonesian teams, what would my choices be to impress the judges?
This week I continue with the topic of our school motto. I am going share with you the truth of method. This method Joseph Cardijn named “See, Judge, Act” has been adopted as a universal way of decision-making and problem-solving, both in the Catholic church and in the secular world.
Earlier this year the SACE board answered a range of questions from SACE students about the impact of COVID-19 in their You Can Ask That! video.
As we begin Term 3, we are keen to come back together (at a safe social distance!) to share some new information with students.
In their second You Can Ask That! video, SACE Board Chief Executive Professor Martin Westwell and SATAC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Mossman revisit the same questions and provide updates on the ATAR, end-of-year exams, special provisions and VET.
We know the COVID-19 coronavirus is causing a great deal of uncertainty for SACE students.
Will students complete their SACE in 2020? Will the ATAR still go ahead? What about exams? Do Special Provisions apply with COVID-19? What about university entry?
We put these questions and others collected from students in South Australia and the Northern Territory to SACE Board Chief Executive Professor Martin Westwell, and SATAC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Mossman.
Using the same format as the ABC's You Can't Ask That, watch the You Can Ask That video below to hear Martin and Stuart answer students' concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on SACE and SATAC processes. Please circulate this video with your school communities.
Visit the SACE website to stay up-to-date on how the SACE Board is supporting students, schools and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week I spoke about the unprecedented times we are facing and today I reflect over the last 48 hours which saw a rapid change in the Coronavirus situation. Our government has responded quickly to ensure that all Australians are ready to respond to this pandemic.