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It is wonderful to be back at Beaconhills after a very interesting and challenging period of long service last term.
Firstly, I would like to thanks our College leadership team and, in particular, our Deputy Headmaster Stephen McGinley for ensuring the smooth operation of the school in my absence. Beaconhills is blessed with highly-talented staff and I am very proud of the work of our leadership teams.
As part of my leave, I spent eight days hiking across the High Atlas mountains of Morocco in North Africa. We summited the highest peak in North Africa, Mt Toubkal (4167m). This trek was very challenging due to the high altitude and the climbing required, across rocky terrain and of course sleeping under canvas in – at times – not terribly comfortable conditions,
So why do it? I have a deep love for the great outdoors and in particular climbing in the mountains. But aside from the spectacular scenery, this trek also gave me the opportunity to reflect on some of the important philosophies which underpin our Beacon Explorers global and outdoor education programs. These include spending time technology-free, the physical challenge of getting out of your ‘comfort zone’ and the chance to discover and appreciate a culture very different from our own. We are currently considering making this hiking opportunity a part of our extension program for experienced Beacon Explorers students.
My trek coincided with the Islamic religious festival of Ramadan. Each day, our guides would rise and prepare our breakfast before travelling with us from sunrise to sunset, without any food or water, stopping only to pray. The contrast between the lifestyles of the Australian hikers and these local guides and mule-handlers was stark – yet this was a resilient community supported by their strong faith.
In a similar way, our Beacon Explorers programs give students the opportunity to reflect on how much we have as a country and help strengthen our understanding of the world and how others live.
I hope you are ready for another great term of learning at Beaconhills College.
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