A Message from Gary Velleman, Vice Principal and Head of Senior School – June 2019

Reprised (and updated) from some years ago, this article is for the benefit of the next generation of VCE parents.

As we approach the July holiday break and the fast-approaching pointy end of the school calendar, and with Parent Orientation sessions for the next year early next term, I am often met with a look of trepidation on the faces of parents who, as first-timers, are hearing about the VCE – its myriad of rules, regulations and almost inexhaustible flexibility. Coupled with an entirely new language and associated host of acronyms, it is little wonder that some parents’ experience of their child’s VCE can be a little nerve-wracking.

With this in mind, and as a “graduate” of two VCE children, below please find my ABC Guide for Parent Survival of VCE. In fact, irrespective of your child’s age, this guide may be of some use as, together, you navigate the schooling journey.

A is for ATAR, a score that defines neither your child nor you.
B is for balance – if your child doesn’t have it; encourage it: exercise, sleep, friendship, PT work and study.
C is for caring, cuddling and chicken soup – give plenty and have on tap.
D is for desire – it is your child’s aspiration that matters, not yours.
E is for effort – acknowledge it, don’t focus exclusively on the results.
F is for fun – make sure you build it in to you and your child’s life.
G is for Greenwich – remind yourself it is but a moment in time.
H is for helicoptering – it serves no-one any good for you to hover over your child’s every move.
I is for interest – show some but not so much that their life/study consumes you.
J is for judgement – use it wisely: know when to prod and when to give space.
K is for keel – remember you are the framework on which the whole vessel is built.
L is for love – unconditional, in spades and visible.
M is for moderate – be there to cushion your child’s highs and lows.
N is for “noodging” – a waste of time and energy.
O is for optimism – a wondrous and healthy state of being.
P is for pride – of your daughter/son and the young adult she/he has become.
Q is for quick fix – there is none.
R is for response – don’t over-react to every event/encounter/result your child experiences.
S is for stress – an unfortunate reality: theirs and yours.
T is for timing – know when to hold them, know when to walk away….know when to run!
U is for understanding – show plenty but not at the expense of your own values/life/expectations.
V is for vacation – encourage (and take) a break during the year.
W is for wonder – see P.
X is for (e)xcellence – be your best.
Y is for you – you’ve had your turn, it is now over to your child.
Z is for sleep – a marvellous tonic for all in the house.

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