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1 October 2021

The importance of community

A sense of community and feeling connected to others are vital – now more…

A sense of community and feeling connected to others are vital – now more than ever.

That was the message from Blackfriars Principal Simon Cobiac during the final whole-school assembly of Term 3.

Mr Cobiac said a strong sense of community – one of the school’s four pillars – had been brought into sharp focus by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of those social connections, he said, were formed through involvement in co-curricular activities.

“Not only is involvement in sport, drama, debating, music, robotics and so many other activities, not only is that good for your mental health and wellbeing, but it’s really building up our community here at Blackfriars,” Mr Cobiac said.

“Through your involvement in those activities, you build a network of strong friends – friends and mates that you can gradually grow to rely on, not just here at school, but when you go and leave school.

“When you grow up, you’ll have a strong network of people, of mates that you can rely on that have similar values, a similar outlook, and will be there when you need them, and you will be there when they need you.

“So not only are these extra activities really good for you personally, they also build up this whole-school community and our school spirit and our strong school culture.”

Mr Cobiac said during recent interviews to select the school’s 2022 student leaders, the promotion of community was a recurring theme.

“What struck me through the written applications and also the interviews was that of the four pillars that we talk about at Blackfriars, the pillar that absolutely dominated this year was the pillar of community,” he said.

“This year, most of the applicants really wanted to focus on community. And they had so many good ideas to build that community. Building on the strong legacy this year … they want to introduce a number of activities, but all the activities are designed to build community across the school – from the ELC, primary school, through to Year 12. It was really wonderful listening to that.

“There is a deep yearning in all of us for that community – for being together, for building those lasting friendships in this school community.”

Mary Potter Foundation executive director Lorna Riddle is presented the cheque by Lewis Saint.

The school’s sense of being part of the wider community was further highlighted during the assembly, with a cheque for $6500 presented to Mary Potter Foundation executive director Lorna Riddle.

The foundation supports the palliative care work at the Mary Potter Hospice.

The money was raised through “Blackfriars Greatest Shave”, held earlier this year.

“To have $6500 raised for us is unbelievable,” Mrs Riddle said.

“I can assure you we will find what a patient needs to bring them joy, and that’s all because of you guys.”