From Year 7

You have become
In this shiny Circle – K.

with its row upon row
Of Japanese snacks,
And signs that scream
in a language you can’t understand.

The promise of air – con
And convenient convenience
are not working out
like you planned.

Is working out
Like you planned.

You arrived….how long?
Seven hours ago.
Seven hours ago
you got off the plane.

And that
was the end
of all that you’d known
until now.

Tim Sinclair - False Start (from Things a Map Won't Show You)

The poem above is just one of the many that we analysed as part of our short story unit “A look at poetry.” Students were quick to make parallels between this poem and their new journey into secondary school. As part of the short story unit students were asked to think about the rituals that they left behind and the new rituals that await them.

Beginning any new journey is fraught with ‘false starts’, new rituals and deeper understandings of yourself and where you fit in within the cosmos. As our Year 7 students explored the text Things a Map Won’t Show You, they were encouraged to consider this concept as they embarked on their secondary school journey. What are the things that exist in our school that are not obvious on any map anywhere? As the weeks progressed students noted exactly what those things are: the culture that exists within the community, the rich Mercy traditions that are so much a part of our everyday existence and the new demands of learning in a space that calls them to be responsible for their own learning journey.

As the Year 7s became more confident with SETQA developed friendships, used their locks with ease and could now navigate their way around the space the false starts became fewer and fewer.

While we are always learning and life will always give us false starts, as students of St Aloysius we are well on our way to having the tool kit to deal with the bumps that come our way.

Rituals are important for a variety of reasons: sometimes they help us to mark time, or indeed to create time, by signifying beginnings and endings. At St Aloysius, we experienced this on a number of occasions, when we came together to celebrate the start of Term 2 in a Whole School Liturgy – a ritual that many of us have come to appreciate even more in the last 12 months when these gatherings have been few and far between.

As the year 7 cohort continues to move through the school year, students will have the opportunity to participate in many of the rituals and traditions that make our school unique, for some it will be the ritual of yelling out the last verse of the school song with gusto or the ritual of processing into the school hall for their first assembly while being cheered on by their peers.

Much like the poet in False Start we may have found ourselves feeling excited to begin in a new place, yet feeling a little overwhelmed. We can take heart that we learn from our false starts and continue to grow. This cohort will surely contribute to the many important rituals and traditions that are so much a part of our school community.

Tamara Lourdes – Year 7 Leader and Transition Leader