Senior School Thursday, 23 Jun 2022

Collective Shout Presentations

On Tuesday 21st June, the Aquinas P and F sponsored four presentations from Collective Shout. The first two were during the day for Year 9 and Year 10 students and given by Daniel Principe, a 2005 graduate from Trinity College, and now a health professional, with a background in PR, marketing and media. Melinda Tankard Reist ran the presentations for teachers and parents. She is an author of six books, media commentator and advocate for young people and is world renowned for her work addressing sexualisation, objectification, harms of pornography, sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence against women.

Both Daniel and Melinda spoke to the question “How does pop culture shape your attitudes towards gender, sex & sexuality, social media, body image, ideas of manhood, mental health, violence etc?” They dissected the impacts of harmful messaging from media, advertising, pop culture and the global porn industry and discussed how cultural forces fuel distorted ideas and attitudes about bodies, relationships and sex. Daniel’s message empowered boys to navigate these cultural challenges and step outside the ‘Man Box’ resisting the harmful masculine stereotypes. He encouraged boys to be courageous and resist these harmful messages as they aspire to become good men.

WHAT DID THE BOYS THINK?

“During the presentation I thought that the speaker (Daniel) was really good and he kept me entertained in the topic. After the presentation I realised how bad pornography is and how women really feel about us men, and it also made me think that I need to make a change as well by being more respectful towards women and to not be tempted to watch pornography. I learnt from the presentation how badly women are portrayed by the media almost as if they are objects. Daniel showed us advertisements from real world shopping malls and posters, and it was very bad how women were always half naked and men were always dressed. A positive action that we can take to step outside the “Man Box” was to stop thinking of women as objects and to stop thinking of women only in a sexual way.”
Lucas Ali

“Before the presentation I was feeling a bit awkward about the whole thing and didn’t know what to expect. The presentation made me feel sad and shocked about the things that people do as jokes about women and how some people only look at women like objects. What I learnt from the presentation was that pornography is bad for your body and your mental health, it can affect the way you approach women and the relationships that you have throughout your life. I also learnt that we shouldn’t look at women as objects but for who they are as a person. What Daniel said was to be yourself and not get pressured by anyone to do stuff that you don’t want to do and to try to do the right things and make the right choices.”
Mitchell Pentony

“I honestly was not sure what to expect from the presentation, but during the presentation I was shocked to see all this info about just how women are sexualised to sell goods. After it made me feel educated and aware of what people do to women and how they feel themselves about this. I learnt how women are exploited and what girls my age feel about boys doing things like making sexual moaning sounds, or just inappropriate things in general.”
Jack Lee Steere

“From the presentation I learnt many things including: women are expected to live up to expectations that surround them every day, women are advertised as sex objects. I also learnt that many women are pressured into doing things that they don’t want to do such as sending nudes. We also got stories and quotes from young girls about how boys want to sexualise everything and that they can’t have a normal conversation. A positive action I can take, is to respect women for who they are.”
Brady Gardiner

“Before the presentation, I did not know that the world compares men and women differently. I learnt that women are usually treated poorly by men and the world is targeting underaged children towards pornography which makes them go down to the wrong path. The main thing I learnt from the presentation is to treat women with respect, as nowadays men tend to treat women as an object. Daniel said a couple of positive actions that we could take to step outside the ‘Man Box’ was to understand better what the actual problem is and be more educated about this for us to snap out of the cycle. We could also educate others on the danger of pornography and how it could affect our mental health.”
Jason Sutisna

“Before the talk I felt this is going to be so boring spending over an hour listening to some guy talking about pornography and I didn’t want to go because I thought I wouldn’t relate to it or not have any idea about what he’s talking about. When he started talking and doing his presentation it was good and related to me and wasn’t what I was expecting, he sounded like he really knew what he was talking about and did lots of research and everything in the PowerPoint was related to my kind of age. While he was doing his presentation, I was taking it in and going woah with all the facts that were stated. I realized that watching porn online can cause things like erectile dysfunction and bad relationships between you and your partner. I learnt the pornography industry is messed up and they force young women into doing porn and they don’t care about what it does to your brain they only care about how much money is going into their bank account.”
Luca Capararo

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Senior School Wednesday, 22 Jun 2022

Bugsy Malone Production

This has been a production season like no other and when recognising the hard work of this amazing cast, the students who so willingly understudied throughout the rehearsal process should be congratulated and acknowledged. Without the assurance of playing those roles in performances, students enthusiastically volunteered to cover unavoidable absences to ensure we have a production to share with you today – my sincerest thanks to a cast that kept this show going. The ‘Bugsy Malone’ rehearsal season had been about a spirit of inclusiveness and a strong team culture towards a common goal. The cast members were generous, kind, thoughtful and hard-working during a season that fluctuated with uncertainty and an ever-changing rehearsal environment.

There are many parents, colleagues and theatre professionals who assisted in putting this show together – thank you to all who supported our 2022 Aquinas College Production. I am extremely appreciative to have worked with an incredibly talented staff and student Creative Team, who’s vision and ideas were the driving strength behind every scene, moment, song, and choreographed movement within the show. Their combined student-centred approach and attention to detail is what has made this experience dynamic and worthwhile. I’d like to especially thank our Musical Director, Mr Chris McMillan, who’s expertise and outstanding musicianship have raised the calibre of this production to a standard worthy of the Heath Ledger Theatre.

‘Bugsy Malone’ is a musical that has everything – fun songs, memorable characters, and a quirky script. It is a musical that somehow connects so well with young actors. We hope you enjoyed it!

Sonja Vaswani
Director

This production marked the beginning of another chapter in the College’s long-standing history of musical theatre productions, and we welcomed Mrs Sonja Vaswani to the Arts team at Aquinas in the role of Director.

Beginning the year in the grips of a pandemic made the rehearsal process for this show a challenge. Our students rehearsed outdoors in small groups in the early stages. They covered each other’s roles when some were in isolation and learnt their parts online where necessary, displaying admirable versatility and persistence. Whilst many schools made the decision to cancel their show for this year, we are proud to have persevered and to have finally arrive at the point of production at the incredible State Theatre.

Our admiration and thanks to all students in the cast and their families for being prepared to work with us in these unusual times. My thanks also to the incredibly talented staff who so willingly gave their time and expertise.

Musically, the preparation for our show was interesting. When Alan Parker decided to direct Bugsy Malone for film in 1976 using child actors, many of the young stars cast then were younger than most of our cast members are. Consequently, many of the resulting recordings of the show feature children’s voices. Our challenge was to produce a more mature sound than the original recordings – another task which was willingly accepted by our students! We hope you enjoyed their efforts in bringing ‘Bugsy Malone’ to life.

Chris McMillan
Music Director

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Middle School Thursday, 09 Jun 2022

Year 9 Dance Challenge

The Year 9 Odyssey program has the goal of providing an environment to allow boys to experience a safe transition from boyhood into adulthood as well as develop the character traits of good men. A major focus in the Odyssey Program is examining the concept of the ‘Man Box’, the set of beliefs within and across society, that stereotype masculinity and place pressure on men to act and behave a certain way. Research has found that if we can educate boys to recognise and understand the implications of the ‘Man Box’ we can go a long way in improving their physical and mental health, plus their ability to build healthy relationships with females.

To bring alive the theory lessons about the ‘Man Box’ we provided an authentic opportunity for boys to break out of it by undergoing an intensive six-week dance program. Each Year 9 Veritas class learnt a choreographed routine to perform in front of family and friends. By teaching boys dance it helps break down the stereotypical ‘Man Box’ ideology that only females’ dance. It also provides the added benefit of providing boys an opportunity to build the positive character strengths of good men.

  • A public dance performance provides a safe environment that allows boys to learn to feel comfortable being in uncomfortable situations.
  • Stepping on stage and dancing publicly needs boys to overcome their fear of embarrassment and feeling vulnerable, creating an authentic experience to demonstrate the character strength of courage and apply strategies to manage fear and anxiety.
  • Students need to engage the character strengths of resilience, determination, and perseverance as they won’t learn the dance steps straight away.
  • A choreographed routine involves teamwork, so boys learn how to work as a team and collaborate.

On Wednesday June 1st the Year 9 boys completed their Dance Challenge performing in front of 700 people, you can view their performance by clicking HERE.

What did the boys say about the Dance Challenge?

“I felt at the beginning once I was told by Mr Weston that I was going to dance in front of a big audience I was a bit nervous because there would be a lot of people and was worried, I would mess up. On the night after the dance, I felt that all my stress was lifted, and I thought we all did very good. A positive I took away from participating in the dance challenge was teamwork and learning a new skill in dancing.”

Tyler O’Neil

“I honestly felt scared because I sort of have stage fright and I remembered my brother’s dance and it was terrible, so I was feeling quite anxious. When it was the day we had to perform I felt pretty hyped because me and a bunch of my friends were hanging out all day and because of this I wasn’t feeling scared anymore. It was actually pretty fun doing the dance with my friends, it was a very good experience for me and the boys and I would do it again if I could.”

Sayf Bukhari

“At first when I was told we are going to be dancing in front of all the friends and family of the students in year 9 and the Penrhos and Santa Maria boarders, I was very nervous straight away. I knew that dancing was not one of my strong points and it would be hard to get up on stage and dance in front 600 people. Leading into the night I wasn’t really scared but as it got closer and closer to going up on stage and dancing I was getting really nervous. When we had finished the dance, it felt good to get it out of the way and be able to watch the last performances. A positive I took away from the dance was getting together with all the boys in class and learning the dance. It took us a while to get used to it but after a week or so I realised that it would be fun to learn a dance with some of my close mates and perform in front of all the people at the night. Some things I would like to say about the dance for the boys that will be doing it in the following years is that at the start when you get told you’re going to dance in front of a large crowd unless you dance you probably will be scared but as the dance and experience goes on I promise whoever you are, you will have fun.”

Koby LeCras

“When I was told about the dance challenge and having to dance in front of 700 people, I was not very enthusiastic about it at all as I’m not the best with large crowds and things like public speaking. In the lead up to the performance I was nervous that I would stuff up part of the dance. After the dance I felt a huge relief, I could just relax and watch the rest of the performances. Overall, the dance was a good opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, bond a bit with your mates and to help get out of the ‘Man Box’.”

Nash Barnett

“Once I got told about the dancing I didn’t really know what to think about doing it. I was a little bit nervous about messing up the dance and embarrassing myself. On the night of the dance, I was excited because I had practiced the previous weeks and knew I was going to do it right. A positive thing I have taken away from the dance challenge is to not care what other people think and escape the “Man Box”. The dance was a good experience because we did it with mates and it was fun.”

Myles Borgward


Mark Weston
Director of Character Education & Leadership

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Middle School Wednesday, 08 Jun 2022

Year 9 Leaders Altitude Day

"On Friday (27th of May), fifteen Year 9 Middle School leaders took up the opportunity to attend a leadership summit, ‘Altitude Day’ at the Perth Exhibition Centre. The event offered students the ability to expand their leadership potential to help them improve their leadership within the Middle School. Throughout the day, we were partnered with other students from different schools from across Perth, this required us to step out of our comfort zone and do some at first rather ‘awkward’ activities with completely random people. As the day went on, we grew to be more comfortable with who we were interacting with and had a great time. We also had the opportunity to listen to multiple guest speakers, who had made significant achievements under difficult circumstances, including Kendall Whyte, founder of the Blue Tree Project. These speakers enlightened hope and promoted the ability of working hard in us helping to develop our leadership potential. I would like to thank Mr Weston for giving us the opportunity to attend the day. We had a great time, and I am sure everyone who attended benefited from the day." Christian Pecotic

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Middle School Tuesday, 07 Jun 2022

Kids Helping Kids

The Give Write group provides school supplies to kids who cannot afford to buy their own. Give Write takes donations of new and pre-loved stationery and recycles, repackages and redistributes to kids in need so they have the tools to feel engaged and inspired to learn.

On Friday of the EXEAT weekend, Year 7 student Noah Sachse and his younger sister spent a few hours of their own personal time to put together stationary packs for children from all around WA. Noah wrote “it was really good and I enjoyed it knowing that every pack I made was helping another kid somewhere”.

It is these little acts of kindness that makes every day at Aquinas a better day for others!

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Middle School Friday, 13 May 2022

After School Mentor Program

After almost a year’s absence due to COVID-19 restrictions, the After School Mentor Program recommenced last week. On Mondays, 19 senior students volunteer their time at the Junior School Homework and Activity Clubs, while on Wednesdays, 8 students help at Curtin Primary School in Manning. The young kids were excited to see the boys even though most of them were new to the program and had never met the boys before!

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Middle School Monday, 09 May 2022

Foodbank Volunteer

During the April school holidays, Year 7 Noah Myers completed some service hours at Foodbank. This is his small reflection:

"Foodbank provides food at discounted prices for people who are struggling financially. They also send food boxes (they call them hampers) to people who do not have the best of home cooking skills or facilities to cook with. With other volunteers, we first made the boxes up. We then unpacked the food that was to be put in the box at each station from the pallets. Once we had our stock ready to go, we then worked in a production line scenario. One person would put 2 items in the box, before pushing it down to the next. At the end, someone else sealed it up and loaded onto a pallet for the trucks to take away.

We did hundreds of boxes in the 4 hours I was there. The ones I helped with were all going to centres that were north of Perth. It was really busy as we had to constantly restock so we didn’t stop the flow of the hampers being completed. I volunteered alongside other people who were very friendly. I was the only young person there, so they were happy to help me and show me how to do everything. I agreed to go back and help again as it was very rewarding to know my small contribution would make a big change to someone’s life."

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Senior School Tuesday, 03 May 2022

Photography Competition Results

Congratulations to all the students who entered this years photography competition. The theme this year was “A moment in time”, and everyone interpreted this in their own way to produce some amazing photographs. Official awards will be handed out at the formal awards ceremony at the end of the year.

The winners are:

First place: David Scott Year 11 for his photograph ‘Stadium at Capacity’

Second Place: Logan Nixon Year 8 for his photograph ‘Sunset 1’

Third Place: Marcus Taylor Year 12 for his photograph ‘Pinkys’

Highly Commended: Noah Myers Year 7 for his photograph ‘Restful Repose’

Peoples Choice Award: Akashan & Anoshan Ganapathipillai for their photograph ‘Untitled 1’

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