Is the College embodying its values?

Taylah C (Year 11), Chief Contributor

The College purpose statement is: ‘William Clarke College is a Christ-centred community that seeks to develop extraordinary learners with a passion to serve others.” However, many people within our community argue that the school could be doing much more to provide service opportunities for students.  

Service should be: “…authentic, relational, and transformative… to make meaningful, relational connections with the community and in turn, transform the lives of people both being served and doing the serving.” (Mr Arthur, PDHPE Faculty) 

A survey was recently sent out to select staff and Year 11 students, asking them if they believed that there were enough service opportunities for students from years 7-12. Over 80% said ‘no.’ In an interview with Mr Arthur, he stated that a total of 93 students from years 7-12 were willing to give up their Friday lunch and serve their peers as inter-house sport officiators. However, out of those students, less than 80 were actually able to referee and/or umpire, clearly indicating how unbalanced the supply and demand of service opportunities are at the college.  

There are simply not enough positions for ALL students to serve.  

98% of surveyed staff and students said that they would like to see more volunteering opportunities being offered at the college. Our Head of Secondary School, Mr Clarke, provided some examples of what future volunteering opportunities could look like including, “student led opportunities, connections with houses and certain charities with an ongoing relationship, students serving students, [and] learning about the value of service in class.”  

However, in the College’s current state, some Year 11 students believe that “there aren’t enough [service opportunities] for everyone;” that they “are mainly based on sports and there are already people chosen to do it,” and that “if there were more [volunteering activities] that students wanted, I feel there would be a lot more students participating in volunteer/service work.” Other students believed that there are enough service opportunities, yet they were not being advertised adequately. One student revealed, “I do not notice any possible service opportunities,” and that “they should be posted on Connect.” Are service opportunities posted to connect? No one really knows! Connect can be a maze to navigate sometimes – could it be easier to have a noticeboard for these opportunities in the Branwhite Centre? Another student said, “I believe that it is really difficult to volunteer at WCC because no one really tells us when it is. There are no news posts or announcements. If you want to volunteer, you have to really go looking and find something.”  

Most students want to see greater availability in the number and range of service opportunities at the College AND want these to be communicated clearer.  

Of the teachers surveyed, 95% concluded that, “we as a College could be doing much more in the area of service. Either through volunteering at college activities or in the wider community.” Whilst staff members, like Mr Clarke and Mr Arthur, believe that there should be more opportunities for the students to volunteer in all aspects of life inside and outside the college, other teachers believe that it would be “adding another responsibility to staff” and that there “isn’t anyone who is taking responsibility for it.” Could this be an opportunity for students to stand up and take initiative in giving back and serving our community? 

Within the college, our service activity could be substantially improved. Executive staff are working to increase service opportunities for surrounding communities and within the college. How else can we, as students, get involved? How can we take responsibility for our own service opportunities? For now, we don’t know the answers to these questions.  What we do know is that the students at William Clarke College have a passion to serve.