The importance of cocurricular opportunities
Posted 3 June 2016
Wesley has always embraced the concept of educating the whole person. The timeless principles that underpin the school philosophy of a true
education are found in all aspects of the offerings available to students. The cocurricular program spans multiple sporting options, performing arts and outdoor education along with many other activities creating experiential learning. The cocurricular program creates personal challenges and helps build a variety of attributes and skills that hopefully provide lifelong benefit to students.
The cocurricular program promotes intellectual, emotional, social, moral and aesthetic development. Students gain valuable skills in team work, resilience and an understanding of the value of commitment to personal growth. The recent outdoor education report for College Executive, compiled by the Head of Outdoor Education, Hayne Meredith, had a wonderful quote from a student who attended a recent Year 10 camp at Mallana. He said, after camp I felt, that I was stronger, I was braver, and I was smarter and that I have the ability to achieve great things
. Hayne points out that this was written by a student reflecting on undertaking what is normally a two-day kayak journey in one day, due to weather conditions.
In the recently published and distributed document Framing the Future of Wesley
there is a section on the desired attributes of the Wesley graduate. These are identified as: A sense of personal confidence, Knowledge, A developing understanding and Balance
. When we observe students firstly auditioning for a musical or play, achieving a role on stage and then taking part in a number of performance, it is obvious these desirable attributes are being fostered. The same may occur in striving to make the “A” team or gain selection into a Firsts team or crew. Anyone watching a Wesley debating team will see both personal confidence and teamwork happening simultaneously for the students involved.
Apart from the intellectual and emotional benefits and educational value in the individual engaging in the cocurricular program, there is also the pure fun of friendships and shared experiences that can be the basis for future storytelling and tall stories for reunions in years to come. Experiences on camp or the sporting field connect people in such a powerful way. I am always impressed to see former students coming along to support current theatre productions and watch sporting teams. Indeed some have enjoyed their experiences so much they become resident assistants at one of Wesley’s remote sites or give back what their have enjoyed by coaching a Wesley sporting team.
The cocurricular program connects the generations of Wesley. The recent football match between Wesley and Melbourne Grammar on Founders’ Day provided not just a win for the purple and gold, but also allowed the OWs see our current students show that the Wesley spirit and pride in the school is very much alive and well.
There are considerable resources and energy provided by many staff to ensure that cocurricular activities are both seen as important to the individual, part of a true
education, and a reflection of the values of the school. As a parent of two children who both benefitted from the formal curriculum and the cocurricular program at Wesley, it is obvious to me that they have developed into better people because of the diversity of the Wesley offering and the values it instilled in their spirit, body and brain.
I hope Wesley students truly value the cocurricular opportunities presented to them at Wesley College, in all its configurations.
Richard Brenker, Head of Campus St Kilda Road
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