14 August 2017

Buckets of Compassion

Which qualities would you want in your child? As parents we hope that we will teach them well and they will become good people. At Scotch College we use the learner profile and the IB attitudes to guide the type of students we hope to develop.

Late last term Declan Riordan and his parents came to see me with a proposal. Declan's grandfather suffers from Motor Neuron Disease. The effects of the disease have made it so that he can no longer be the vibrant, active grandfather Declan has always known. Declan played for me a short iMovie he had made about his love for his grandfather and about what he wanted us to do.

Declan's presentation was very moving and he passionately asked me to allow a special fund raising event, an Ice Bucket Challenge. He wanted to invite all of the boys in the Junior School to take part and donate the money to the Motor Neuron Disease Association of WA Inc (MNDAWA). So this is what I agreed to do.

The MNDAWA supports people living with MND, their carers and families through their Care Advisory Service, providing relevant equipment and respite along with other vital assistance such as information and education sessions. As a small not for profit organisation, they rely heavily on the support of the community and fundraising events to keep their work going.

Declan and his friend James presented their idea to the school community and also challenged Dr O'Connell and me to take part. The school community responded wonderfully showing their caring and empathetic side. Each boy had to pay $2.00 to take part or they could seek sponsorship for their involvement.

Last Friday 150 boys as well as staff and parents from the Junior School gathered on the steps of Keys House for the challenge. The event began with Dr O'Connell being soaked by Declan using a huge bucket of ice water. Groups of boys we doused with buckets of ice water and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Parents were roped with some taking part in the regular clothes. Staff also got into the spirit of the day and their students enjoyed pouring the ice water over their teacher's heads. The day culminated with my soaking by Declan, his father Dean and Dr O'Connell. The bucket of ice was huge and the experience definitely took my breath away.

Traits such as being caring, compassionate and empathetic stand out at an event such as the Ice Bucket Challenge. As a community we joined together to do a very special thing. As well as learning about the impact of MND on sufferers and their families, the boys showed they care and were willing to take action to make a difference. The boys have made us all proud, especially Declan.

The boys have once again achieved beyond our wildest dreams. As of Friday morning the Junior School community had raised a whopping $3500.00. This money will go some way towards supporting the work of the MNDAWA.

On Friday 7 November, Mr David Whiteman, the Vice-President of MNDAWA Board, will attend our assembly to give a brief presentation to the boys and accept the funds raised from our Ice Bucket Challenge.

The day was made possible through the hard work of the Riordan family and support from Perth Ice Works who donated all of the ice, Bunnings for assisting with the purchase of the buckets, the Scotch Catering department for supplying equipment and our grounds staff who set up the area. I need to also thank Mrs Katie Kent, my PA, for her tireless work in liaising with all involved to bring about this special event.

So what qualities would you want in your child? I would hope the qualities demonstrated by our boys last week would be some of them.

Mr John Stewart

Head of Junior School