The Life Newsletter

Senior School – T2 W6 2024

Culture Clash? More Like Cultural Celebration at OPAC

The last two weeks in the Senior School have provided an opportunity to shine a light on the rich culture of our OPAC families and our Australian heritage.

Our Australian Heritage

It profoundly saddens me to hear of the racial abuse that still stains our society. On assembly we shared the video of Hawthorn AFL coach Sam Mitchell, speaking of the despicable treatment of indigenous footballer Eddie Betts and his family. The racial slurs directed at his family, including the ‘n’ word, shows the ignorance and low character of some members of our society. Just as Sam stated, that such players and supporters are not welcome at the club, at OPAC we hold a very similar view. While students can sometimes speak with a lack of understanding of the weight and impact of certain comments, like Hawthorn, we do not accept such behaviour within our College culture.

College Leaders Iyas Bhuiyan and Jayden Ranson addressed the college on the need for greater understanding and empathy regarding the adversity and historical poor treatment of many of our First Nations’ people, including those displaced through the Stolen Generation. It is an esteemed day in our College calendar, where we pause to recognise the trauma inflicted and pay respects to our aboriginal Australians.

Our diary this year includes our personalised OPAC Acknowledgement of Country. It states:

We acknowledge and are grateful to live, work and play on the majestic lands of the Dharawal people. We pay our respects to them, to their culture, and to their elders, past and present. We are honoured to share it and call it our home. We believe that with the privilege of calling this land home, under God, we have an obligation to help uphold the culture and heritage of the Dharawal people. Such a commitment is foundational in embracing the diversity and inclusion within our culture at the College. We respect the wisdom and perspective of Aboriginal people and are grateful for the opportunity to be educated about their ways of seeing and being.

Our Multicultural Heritage – OPAC Multicultural Day

It was wonderful to see many students arrive last Thursday dressed in traditional and sporting clothing representing their heritage and culture for our Multicultural Day. I wore a Liverpool supporters polo shirt, given my father is from Liverpool England, with a Germany shirt underneath given my mother is essentially a ‘hamburger’, born in Hamburg Germany. It triggered a diverse conversations, with students and staff sharing their heritage. We value and celebrate the multicultural nature of our OPAC community, where students work and play harmoniously and are blessed by the richness of such cultural vibrancy.

The afternoon involved Senior School students from Years 7-10, enjoying butter chicken and pizza at lunchtime, followed by an African tribal drum and Bollywood dance experience. To complete the afternoon, Pastoral Care classes organised and facilitated games that originated in other countries, including Bocce (Italy), Cornhole (USA), Luta De Galo (Brazil) and a Bread Tray Game (Lebanon). It was a vibrant, warm and festive way to celebrate our amazing variety of cultures at the College.

Subject Selection

We are grateful for the OPAC families who were able to join us for the Subject Selection Evening on Tuesday. This was an opportunity to gain greater clarity around the elective choices moving into Year 9 and 11. Such face-to face opportunities, particular given recent memory of the COVID-19 restrictions and overabundance of Zoom meetings, are helpful in building a greater sense of community and partnership. We hope students make wise choices, selecting subjects they will enjoy and that set them up with future possible career areas in mind.

God bless, 

Mr Steve Owen
Deputy Principal – Head of Senior School

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34