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Principal's Newsletter, Week 6, Term 2, 2014 and a speech by Helena Qian of Year 12 on Volunteering

posted Jun 6, 2014, 2:50 PM by Unknown user

Congratulations to Outburst! The Western Sydney Youth Action Group who have won the $10000 grant to make their Friend2Friend Mental Health Project a reality. Thank you to everyone who voted to support this project in which Eklavya Wangoo (11), Ning Zhang (12) and Michael Sun (12) are involved. The project aims to improve attitudes of young people towards mental health; resource young people with the tools to responsibly support their peers with mental health concerns and to resource young people with the skills and knowledge to raise awareness of youth mental health issues.


On Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th, James Ruse’s Interact Club once again took part in the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal. In conjunction with Ryde Rotary we raised a total of $8244.05. Congratulations to the many students who took part in this valuable volunteer service. Earlier this week Helena Qian, President of Interact, spoke to Year 9 about the importance of volunteer work. I will attach her speech as part of this newsletter.


After writing last week’s newsletter, we all enjoyed two more nights of the fabulous musical. Mr Gerard Yeo has captured some wonderful memories in his photographs; some are attached to this newsletter.


Year 7 began their critical and creative thinking program this week. Thank you to Mrs Jenny Bowen, our HT Gifted and Talented, for implementing this program.


The Social Justice Committee have been working hard to put together the second Social Justice Conference which will be held at JRAHS on June 16th. Ms Adrienne Steele and the Committee have organised a fabulous program of guest speakers, including:

Dr Bill Crews – The Exodus Foundation

Ms Althea Sheldon –Vinnies

Mr Tim Matthews – U.N. Youth Ambassador

Ms Casey O’Brien – The Salvation Army

Ms Jean Marie Voon – B.Inspired

Ms Emma Campbell – Medecins Sans Frontieres


Atrium began operating our canteen this week. We have been very pleased with the quality and variety of food. The SRC will work with the operators to ensure the menu suits our students. In keeping with the Healthy Foods Policy we will not be selling packaged noodles anymore and we will not sell diet drinks. The SRC also provides three microwaves for students to use to heat their meals from home. Please see the menu attached for the canteen, however it does not include all food items.


Invoices – It is with great relief that we were able to post the invoices to families late this week. Our new software has proven very problematic and we thank you for your support and patience in our adoption of the new processes. We are still uncertain as to the reliability of the invoices. If you have not received an invoice by Friday 13th June could you please contact the school by email or phone to let us know. We are concerned that our new system may not have merged the most recent addresses of some families. If you have been charged for an activity that your child does not do, please let us know and we can delete. As the invoices were printed on Friday 30th May, if you have paid for an excursion or activity after this date, please delete.

The invoices include the tax deductable donations to both the CoJR ($120) and the JRAHS Building Fund ($500). These donations are crucial to our building program. Next Friday the 13th June we will meet again with the DEC to discuss plans to build both the Multi-Purpose Centre (gymnasium) and new science laboratories. As we have set aside our MPC (Gym) monies, your donation will lead to the refurbishment of our three oldest labs. Every dollar will help provide the fabulous facilities our children deserve.


Mothers’ Club hosted their second meeting of the term this year on Thursday. Thank you to Karen Lim and the Committee for putting together a wonderful program to raise awareness in the community. Mrs Liza Mayers was our guest speaker, discussing her faculty, English and Drama, and also giving vital tips to improve literacy and English results. Upeka Nanayakkara assisted me in my presentation on the importance of an all-round education.


Year 12 and our HSC students in Year 10 and 11 have begun their HSC assessments. We wish them well in this challenging week.


Coming Events

Tuesday 10th June        HSC Assessments; Zone Athletics, COJR Meeting

Wednesday 11th June    HSC Assessments; Regional Cross Country; UNSW Maths Competition

Thursday 12th June      HSC Assessments

Friday 13th June           HSC Assessments

Sunday 15th June          Senior Concert Band Tour (15-17th)

Monday 16th June         Social Justice Conference at JRAHS

Tuesday 17th June        Year 8 Information Night – Subject Selection 6.45pm; Canteen Helpers Thank you Morning Tea

Wednesday 18th June   SRC Dance

Friday 20th June          ASPIRE DAY


Wishing everyone a restful long weekend

Megan Connors



Thank you Morning Tea for our Canteen Volunteers

As our new canteen operator has started, we will be hosting a thank you morning tea on Tuesday 17th June at 9.30am for all our parents who have helped in the canteen this year. We will also show our appreciation to Mrs Shirley Kwan, Mrs Vivian La and Mrs Beverley Ferguson. Mrs Kwan will continue to be involved with us in different SASS roles across the school. Please come along to the morning tea. Thank you Megan Connors


Why should you volunteer?

Helena Qian, Year 12


“Being a volunteer proves that - In every straining, there is a training; in every training, there is a learning; and in every learning, there is an earning. “  You may not know what that quote means, but at the end of this speech, hopefully you will.


Believe it or not, Year 9 is the PERFECT time to start volunteering. For some reason, many people are under the misconception that volunteers have to do dramatic events such as preventing AIDS in Africa, but volunteering actually encompasses a range of activities. 


So what are the benefits of volunteering? 

First and foremost, the personal fulfilment you can gain from volunteering and being selfless is inexpressible.  I remember the first time I went on a St John duty as a medical cadet, there was a homeless man who tentatively came in with a scratch on his arm.  But after we patched him up, he couldn’t stop crying.  And he told us, that this was the first time in a long time someone has looked after him.  And honestly, “them feels”, no words can express how good it makes you feel to help someone and know you’ve made a positive impact.  This sort of life experience is unique and exclusive only to those who volunteer and are selfless.  And trust me; you don’t want to miss out.

“People don’t always remember what you say or do, but they will always remember how you make them feel”.


This leads on to my second point: people skills. When you get older, you’ll find that some of the biggest challenges in life involve dealing with people.  Becoming a volunteer not only betters yourself, it also teaches you how to deal with and tolerate difficult people.


As a volunteer, you will work with the two extremities of people in society.  You will be inspired and learn from the most amazing, incredible, selfless people on the planet, but at the same time, you will also come face to face with the most annoying and difficult people on the planet.


As a medical cadet on duty, there’s always that one guy who keeps coming back to ask for free food.  But we reserve the food normally for people who are legit starving or diabetic so we always have to think of ways of essentially get rid of him without actually hurting him.  And then there’s always that over-reacting mum, who’s kid got a tiny scratch but she thinks he/she is going to contract all the most dangerous diseases in the world.  And then of course, if you go to music festivals, there’s always going to be fans fainting and hyperventilating.  Most of you in these circumstances would stay quiet because you’ve never had the experience of confronting or calming down a hysterical woman.  But as a volunteer, you learn to be empathetic and control the situation without seeming controlling.


How does this work? Becoming a volunteer changes you for the better.  I’ll explain this to you with an example.


A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; an optimist sees the same glass as half full. But what does a volunteer see?  What does a giving person see?  When they see a glass of water, they don’t care how much water there is, but they will start looking for someone who might be thirsty. That is the mindset of a volunteer.


Where and how do I volunteer?

I know a lot you want to do medicine.  So the perfect opportunity for you would be to become a St John volunteer cadet.  Essentially, you join a division; I joined the North Rocks Division where meetings were held Friday evenings at Muirfield High School.  The age limit is 12+ so you all qualify.  And what happens is they train you to become a medical officer.  So you receive first aid training and are basically required to go on duties where you act as the First Aid Officer.  Honestly, BEST experience EVER.


You probably don’t remember, but last year at the Royal Easter Show, there was a news headline where a thief tried to steal from a pregnant woman, and it resulted in her going into premature labour.  I was there.  I wasn’t allowed to treat her because you have to be 18+ and receive special training to work with pregnancies but I was carrying the first aid kit and I got to form part of the human shield to block her from the sun and spectators, which was still pretty cool. 


What people don’t realise is that being a volunteer means you work with real people in real life situations and you make real impacts.  If medical cadets weren’t there, the baby would most likely have died. 


So how do you register?  Call them.  I was referred by a friend, but I’m pretty sure you can just call them, fill out a few forms and if there’s no waiting list you’re in! There are divisions everywhere, so you should be able to find one near you.


Otherwise, in terms of other volunteer opportunities:

Take the initiative and call up a charity you’re interested in volunteering at. Because there aren’t going to be signs all the time advertising for volunteers, you have to actually make the first move. Some examples are St John, St Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, Starlight Foundation, Cancer Council, etc.  With your first few phone calls, you may find out that since you’re relatively young, there may not be many opportunities for you.  Now, a normal student will probably give up after 2 or 3 phone calls. But, you are NOT a normal student.  You are a RUSE student, and so, rather than giving up, you will ask them if they know of any other volunteer opportunities for 14-15 year olds.  By doing so, I guarantee that you will find a volunteer opportunity.  And I highly recommend you do.

Because when you’re old and frail and reflecting on all the things you’ve done, trust me, you don’t want to regret having not volunteered at least once.


So I just wanted to end with a really nice quote from Margaret Mead:

“A VOLUNTEER is a person who is a light to others, giving witness in a mixed-up age, doing well and willingly the tasks at hand - namely, being aware of another's needs and doing something about it.

A VOLUNTEER is a person who remembers to do the thing to make other people happy, who takes the loneliness out of the alone by talking to them, who is concerned when others are unconcerned, who has the courage to be a prophet and to say the things that have to be said for the good of all.

A VOLUNTEER is a person whose charity is fidelity, who is faithful in an unfaithful world, grateful in an ungrateful world, giving when all about are grasping, listening when others need to tell about their fears and problems.”