Character is a set of personal traits that produce specific emotions, inform motivation and guide conduct. Character education is an umbrella term for the educational activities that help young people develop positive personal strengths, or virtues.

Why is Character Education important?

Character Education is integral to Aquinas College’s aim and purpose – to produce well-rounded men who seek to be the best they can be for themselves and for others. Specifically, Character Education supports our Faith Formation programs by:

  • Encouraging students to understand, value and demonstrate the positive behaviour traits that make well-rounded and grounded citizens;
  • Supporting the development of skills required to function in and contribute to society;
  • Supporting social and emotional development for students to better understand themselves and work on their weaknesses; and
  • Instilling students with a moral compass and skills in understanding and interacting with other people.'

How do we build character in boys?

Character Caught: Role models provide character education through everyday interactions, which is why staff/student relationships are an extremely important part of character development. It is everyone’s responsibility to model good character.

Character Taught: The Veritas program occurs in academic classes, assemblies, tutor time and other specific activities.

Character Sought: Students are given opportunities to strengthen their character through a wide variety of extra-curricular activities.

Character Education

Junior School
Middle School
Senior School

Junior School

Junior School boys are taught a range of skills to learn how to lead and develop character. A weekly character lesson is given explicitly by our lead character educator alongside the classroom teacher.

Focusing on moral development, civic obligation, manners, developing high expectations, gaining a greater understanding about health and nutrition, service learning and developing an optimistic and resilient approach to their daily lives.

As part of our pastoral approach in the Junior School, we teach the Aussie Optimism course. This is an evidence-based mental health promotion program for children in primary schools and all our Junior staff are accredited to teach it.

Aussie Optimism (Curtin University) is based on positive psychology, focusing on building competencies in children, rather than alleviating problems. Research indicates that Aussie Optimism reduces mental health difficulties; increases recovery from depressive disorders; reduces the incidence of suicidal ideation and behaviour; increases pro-social behaviour; is in line with Health/Physical Education National Curriculum; reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression; and develops optimism in our young students.

All Junior School students are aware of the need to serve others and are involved in various service activities.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus remains a shining light in demonstrating the type of leadership that is required in Catholic Schools. To truly be an authentic student leader in a Catholic School requires boys to model faith and service to others in the school and community.

In turn, we aim for them to provide a strong example to those who they influence directly on a daily basis in their school, family and community. All members of our Aquinas Junior School community are challenged to make every day a better day for others.

Middle School

Throughout our curriculum is a strong emphasis on building positive character traits. The Veritas and Odyssey Programs provide boys the opportunity to undertake unique experiences that serve to challenge their beliefs, capabilities and what it means to be a modern man. From performing choreographed dance routines, to sailing on the Leeuwin, walking a marathon and learning to cook, students are offered a diverse range of activities to complete.

At Aquinas College we believe boys need to be engaged in reflecting on and building their character to meet the needs of the 21st-century global workforce.

The mechanism to facilitate this is the Veritas Program of the College. All boys in Year 7 to 9 participate in two lessons of Veritas per week, taught by key staff from across the College. The Veritas Program focuses on:

  • Developing and growing positive character strengths
  • Using character strengths in the formation of justice in the world
  • Understanding how to practice moral virtues
  • Enhancing study skills
  • Building a skill set for being a gentleman
  • Nurturing the leadership qualities of all boys to be effective leaders and team members.

The Veritas Program aims to provide learning opportunities to teach skills such as collaboration and teamwork, resilience, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, flexibility and adaptability, social responsibility, gratitude, kindness and leadership.

As part of the Year 9, Veritas Program boys are provided with the opportunity to undertake the Duke of Edinburgh Award. This is an internationally recognised program for young people, building their repertoire of skills to equip them for life and work. The Award invites students to create opportunities to learn new skills, get physically active, give service and experience adventure. The Award can play a critical role in the development of a young person’s character because the responsibility to meet the requirements of the Award is placed totally on the student, meaning students need to learn how to use initiative, communicate and manage their time and have self-discipline.

Veritas is aligned with the College’s vision to educate boys “to be the best they can be, for others.”

Senior School

Every Aquinian is called to be a “man for others” by demonstrating authentic leadership and service.

The Senior Christian Service Learning Program at Aquinas College is unique as it safely places boys into contact with those who are at the margins of our society. It promotes the values of the College by mandating a service project but also to reflect on its personal impact, in relation to Gospel values and those of Blessed Edmund Rice.

Students are required to approach their service activity with compassion, understanding and a genuine desire to “do good”.

The program is titled Service Learning because we believe every student has a talent or skill that can be used for the good of others and their community. Aquinas College provides the opportunity and resources to allow all students to demonstrate this in some way.

Service Learning challenges all students to actively participate in services such as those for:

  • the aged
  • children and adults with disabilities,
  • refugees
  • peer support activities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds,
  • peer support activities for those struggling with learning and isolation.

In addition, Aquinas students are given the opportunity each year to immerse in regional and overseas communities through the Derby and Philippines Immersion programs.

Aquinas College believes Christian Service Learning must play an integral part in a boy’s education. Participation in Service Learning is required to successfully obtain an Aquinas College graduation.