From the Senior School Captains: Embracing Participation

Tara S and Nicholas C | 2022 Senior School Captains | Grammar News | 25 March 2022


Participation is a loaded word. Not simply in its penta-syllabic construction, but in the associations that it carries across time and generations. Perhaps participation, to you, is just some buzzword dished out by parents and life-coaches and event organisers in need of some extra awards. Perhaps it represents all that is wrong with our society, in its apparent aversion to the competitive spirit, in its desire to celebrate and involve all. But in writing it off as either the desire of an out-of-touch authority, or the by-product of a softening future, we ignore the transformative power of embracing participation.

And that doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind and joining every club, band and slam-poetry night that you can find, but rather considering that maybe getting involved isn't as uncool as it might sound. That maybe it could actually result in an enrichment of person, friendship and passion. On this matter we spoke to the Senior School Assembly last Tuesday.


“Debating is a great opportunity to get chatting to students in other Year groups, and to consider topical issues in ways that you may not have before such as, 'Should women pay less tax?' or 'Should dictators be granted historical immunity for their crimes?' That was an interesting one. Anyway, in our rapidly changing world, it is actually crucial that we remain educated and alert to the issues of our day, and debating is just about the best way to achieve that. You might even find yourself privy to a bit of a Maccas run on the way back from the Debate. What more could you want? It’s crazy. It’s a movie. The point of the matter is to just come along, see what’s up, and try something new that you may not have before.

Even if debating is really not your thing, the same theory applies to all aspects of School life. Getting involved is as easy as showing up once a week, whether it's in basketball, or productions, or debating or mock trial, or surfing or any of the other 1,000 things we’ve got going on here. Not only is the School as a whole better for it, a closer and more lively community for it, but so are you. I guarantee that if you get out of your comfort zone, put the effort in to try something new and talk to people that you never have, you will be better for it.

And on the note of getting involved, just last weekend myself and some Years 11 and 12 students embarked on a Duke of Edinburgh expedition travelling along the Great North Walk before finishing off in Clontarf. Now, it might seem a bit strange for me to be talking about this in Assembly, but it would be fair to say that all of us learnt a good few lessons along the way, which I thought I would share with you considering this week's topic is all about participation and pride in who we are as a School.

First of all, one of the biggest challenges which we as a group faced were the copious amounts of leeches which we faced along the course of the Trek. Now for those who aren’t sure of what leeches are, they are small ravenous slug-like animals that latch on to you and take some of your blood. So to put it plainly, they were not appreciated. The lesson which we learnt, however (and I do hope you excuse me of the metaphor here) is that, regardless of the difficulties you face, whether it be leeches, or mozzies or fear or whatever it is that may stop you from getting involved in things at School, you should always persist and take advantage of the situation that presents itself.

Because, as much as many in our group on the hike may have wanted to stop, to take off our hiking boots and give our feet a much-needed rest, or have a nice hot shower rather than continue walking with a hefty pack on in the middle of who knows where, we all knew, that we would only be able to make the most of our time on the hike if we pushed on and made it to the end. And while that’s not to say that it was easy or a breeze once we had decided to continue on, it was our attitude towards the situation that made it possible for us to get on with the job at hand, and make some lasting memories that would otherwise not have been possible, had we settled for the easy route.

So to link this all back, it really was this desire and willingness to get involved that enabled all of us to reach our potential, which I do think is so representative of our time at St Luke’s. Because, as I am sure you are all aware, our time at School is never going to be a walk in the park but rather a hike, full of leeches, and mosquitoes and sore feet but nonetheless, it will be worth it in the end and truly essential if we want to make the most of the time we have at St Luke's. So get involved, take the opportunities that come your way, and wherever you are currently with your journey at school, make sure that you squeeze all there is out of it, because it’s only then that we can really make our time at school so worthwhile.”