Generosity in fire and drought

4 Feb 2020

Generosity in fire and drought

Bobin Public School on the Mid North Coast was destroyed in early November when fires tore through the state’s north. At the end of 2019, then Year 6 boys from Trinity Grammar School stepped up and urged the school community to take action. The response was phenomenal.

“The Master of our Prep School received a series of emails from the School Captain on behalf of the Year 6 boys asking to donate some of the money raised through the Prep School Walkathon; they also asked to initiate a donation appeal to collect practical items to support the people who had lost their homes,” said Head Master of Trinity Grammar School, Mr. Tim Bowden.

Within days the Prep School was inundated with donations from the school community.

“We were able to send several ute-fulls of donations to the Wingham Evacuation Centre and a gift of $2000 to the Bobin Public School to assist them in getting back on their feet.”

Bobin students also received books donated by Trinity Grammar and Presbyterian Ladies College.

It is not the only example of the Trinity Grammar School community leaning into offer support. Over 200 boxes were packed in support of the Ladies of the Land campaign, for women struggling with the drought in New South Wales’ central-west.

Offering support in challenging times

Mr. Bowden uses a military acronym – VUCA – to describe the changing world that today’s young people encounter. VUCA stands for: Volatile; Unpredictable; Complex; Ambiguous. It is a fair description of the last few months: drought, bushfires, the Mt White eruption and the coronavirus.

In each of the situations, there have been stories of people at their best, and at their worst:

  • The volcano eruption brought stories of people using their first aid and instinctive compassion to comfort the injured, but it also brought stories of passengers who projected a sense of entitled disgruntlement regarding the inconvenience in the wake of the disaster.
  • The selfless service of the RFS volunteers across the State, and the tales of ordinary people going above and beyond to care for those in danger and distress, contrasted with accounts of looters and price gougers.

“It raises the question: why do some people respond with kindness and compassion, and others do not? And as educators at Trinity, our most vital question must be: how are we supporting our boys to respond to VUCA situations with the former?”

It’s a complex question that runs deeper than Department of Education Curriculum Learning Outcomes. For Mr. Bowden and the School, it lies in shaping young men of decent character.

“What kind of experiences, opportunities, reflections and influences need to have taken place in a young man’s life to prepare him to step up in the service of others?” asks Mr. Bowden.

The answer lies in the school’s provision of a thoroughly Christian education; an education that influences a community to respond from a place of generosity, not lack. From a place of selflessness, not selfishness. From a place of service, not entitlement. A place that draws upon an ethos of developing a Christian character in mind, body and spirit; not simply developing an eye for achievement.

“Reflecting the meaning, purpose and identity we find in a Christian relationship with God, Trinity is a school that prioritises relationships and community. It is crucial that we learn to consider other people, to include other people, and to care for other people. I am proud to observe the actions of our boys and the wider Trinity community over the past few months: it re-iterates why the School is less concerned with producing results of which it can be proud, than it is of producing young men of whom it can be proud.”