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14 August 2020

The amazing Race to High School

The Amazing Race is known for its drama, awe-inspiring feats and nail-biting finishes. Blackfriars’…

The Amazing Race is known for its drama, awe-inspiring feats and nail-biting finishes. Blackfriars’ own version, Race to High School, is a slightly more subdued affair but still requires exceptional teamwork, problem-solving skills and persistence to take out the title. Race to High School is a scavenger hunt-style event run for students who are enrolled to begin at Blackfriars in Year 7 or 8 in the subsequent year. While COVID-19 did threaten to cancel our 2020 event, we were thankfully able to proceed with plenty of precautions in place.

Before this year’s race event, Blackfriars was visited by James Meston from Arch D Radio, who spoke to a number of staff members to find out how they support students’ transitions to secondary schooling, and also what they think sets Blackfriars apart as a school and a community. In the episode below, Principal Simon Cobiac shares a particularly heartfelt story about his most memorable moment at Blackfriars.

Another episode is due out soon, which covers the student perspective on Blackfriars, speaking not only to our current school leaders about their transition through school (and now into adulthood), but also to current students who took part in the race last year. James was also on-hand during this year’s race to follow around one of our enthusiastic teams and record their experiences for a third episode in the series. Stay tuned to the School Life Podcast Sound Cloud page for these episodes which will be released very soon and will give great insights into what Blackfriars life is really like.

Now, back to this year’s race! It began in the Hallinan Library, with Ms Gavranic and Ms Lambis ready to sign students in and allocate them to their teams for the day. Mr Kelly and Mr Ruggiero welcomed students and their families to the school, setting out the day’s proceedings and thanking everyone for taking part.

Teams of new students were each allocated a Year 9 student ambassador to guide them around the school as they followed clues, answered questions and got to know staff and students all around the school. Along the way students collected a range of items that will help them feel like true-blue Blackfriars boys come the first day of school in 2021. This included co-curricular information, a custom-made hound keyring from our Creative Arts & Design Technology team, a Blackfriars notebook and the all-important black and blue striped school tie.

The race culminated with lunch on the front lawns (sandwiches, fruit and muffins supplied by Blackfriars Canteen) with their new pals, and then the all-important results announcement back in the Hallinan Library. The Gold team was victorious, taking out the race with a perfect score (including bonus points), but the Black team wasn’t far behind, only losing half a mark off the grand total of 66 available points. All students contributed positively to their teams, and we look forward to welcoming them on campus again throughout the semester for more transition events.

Year 9 guide Harry Boyd-Turner said he enjoyed getting to know the new boys, and hoped the event would help them get to know some of the friendly faces around school.

“I hope today has helped the new boys feel less worried about coming to Blacks,” he said.

“It seems pretty big and it could seem a bit scary at first, but once you’re in here you realise it’s actually pretty easy to find your way around and everyone is very welcoming.”

What’s more, thanks to Blackfriars’ vertical home group system, these new boys could potentially be in the same home group as some of their race teammates as well as some of the senior students they met on the day. This vertical system creates a sense of brotherhood and mentorship across year levels, helping new students to settle in and find their way as they progress through the secondary school. Middle school students also get the opportunity to build strong relationships with their peers and teachers through our ‘key teacher’ set-up, whereby one specialist teacher is allocated to each class of Year 7, 8 and 9s, and takes them for all of their language-rich classes (English, HaSS and Religion).

If you are considering Blackfriars as a midddle or secondary schooling option for your son, you might like to read more about our approach to the following aspects of school life: