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A great opportunity to build character

On Wednesday the 1st of March it was my pleasure to take the Yarrawonga College 7-12 swimming team to Wodonga to compete in the Ovens and Mitta Swimming Championships.

Fourty-seven students had the opportunity to participate in this activity and 26 students acted it on it.  There would have been a raft of reasons (excuse the swimming pun) as to why students didn’t participate and these should be respected.

Our college has been working on Positive Psychology this year and a core part of that refers to character strengths I would like to draw on this as I talk of the 26 kids who competed on Wednesday.

It takes a lot of courage to compete. You have to be brave and be prepared to give your best and be prepared to win or lose. All these kids were prepared to do this and give their best. Interestingly they would have to reset knowing they were likely to be beaten again in a future race. Again to their credit they would front up to the next event and give their best.

The kids showed integrity in the way they understood that they had an obligation to commit to this event and follow through on an obligation to the college. Many of these students hold leadership positions in the college and they understood with opportunity and privilege comes responsibility.

Leadership was on display as they encourage others to give their best.

I was not required to discipline or talk to one kid for inappropriate behaviour. They had the ability to self-regulate their behaviour and be respectful of others.

I was so proud of our kids when they saw one of our swimmers struggling to complete their event standing up and supporting their team mate. (Social Intelligence)

I was surprised how several kids willingly helped pack up the shade marquees. (Kindness) When I commented on this to one student she said, “My mum and dad have always taught me to get in and help”. This also reminded me of how much a role family plays in developing a young person’s character.

And as we returned to the Yarrawonga so many of the team took to the time to express their thanks to me for coordinating the event. Gratitude.

Another great element of the day was the opportunity to for our kids to interact with other kids from eight other schools and see how they modelled the character strengths. This could be both a learning and a reinforcing reflective process.

Can you develop character? Yes you can. The Ovens and Mitta Swimming carnival was just another opportunity our College provides to build character. As we, as a college community, strive for constant improvement I can’t wait for the next opportunity that our students could take up to continue to build their character.

I hope this report encapsulates the great character these students not only displayed but developed during the carnival and the reader can capture some of the benefits from competing in a sports day like this.

Congratulations to Flynn Fletcher and Freya Fletcher in their outstanding efforts in the pool culminating in them both receiving the age group champion award. Freya also teamed with Brooke bigger, Mickayla Grigg and Chloe Walls to win the 13 yr 4x 50 metre relay. Good luck to those swimmers as they represent the college on Tuesday the 21st of February.

Thanks so much for the great job Debbie Hogg, Chloe Thomas, Vanessa Norman, Hannah keel and Amy Griffith did as officials on the day.

Jim Gillies

Sports Coordinator Year 7-12

Yarrawonga College P-12





Bravery. Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; acting on convictions even if unpopular

Integrity.  Presenting oneself in a genuine way; taking responsibility for ones feelings and actions.

Leadership. Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same time maintain good relationships within the group.

Self-regulation.  Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined.

Social Intelligence. Being aware of the motives and feelings of others people and oneself.

Kindness. Doing favours and good deeds for others

Gratitude. Being aware of and thankful of the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.