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When Opportunity knocks, “Is it ok to use the word Doofus at an assembly?”

Posted by Mr Rod McNeill (Principal) | Found in: Leadership Blog

On account of the growth of the Secondary College, we split last week’s assembly into two sessions.

We first met with our Year 10 to 12 students and then met with our Year 7 to 9 students. In the words of the film 'The Castle', "you could feel the maturity".

I spoke on the topic of “Opportunity”.

We have intentionally designed the College, in its entirety, to provide our students with an opportunity. Not just through a variety of learning options (mountain biking, horticulture, STEM clubs, aviation, camps, etc.), but our entire stance towards students, I know it’s kind of a soapbox of mine, is to refuse to classify or limit our expectations towards them. Our students have the opportunity and support to flourish at any time. It is indeed wonderful to see students rise to those opportunities.

I gave the analogy that an opportunity is like a door someone is knocking on from the other side. The person knocking doesn't barge in to haul you witless into the opportunity. They wait to be invited in. This illustration is biblical.

I first heard this the night I decided to become a Christian. The words of Jesus, “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone will hear my voice and open the door, I will come into them." (Revelations 3:20). The relationship starts with hearing the knock and opening the door. You do have the option of ignoring the opportunity and walking blithely past the door.

This is where I thought, do I use the word “Doofus”?

Definition: Slang. A foolish or inept person. (Dictionary.com)

The point is that in a school, where we work so hard (and believe me it is hard work) to provide so many opportunities…do not be the Doofus who walks past the door! Open it and step in!

I don’t want to start an internet war or discussion, and I understand that you shouldn’t call students names. I’m hoping to take the plea that I didn’t say they were one, I just asked them not to be one. Sometimes it helps to give a phrase that sticks.

The essence of the point I am trying to make about "opportunity" is, the heart of Mundaring Christian College, our teachers, and all our staff is to work well to provide our students with real opportunities.

Please join us in encouraging them to open those doors. If they feel lost in a subject, ask the teacher; try a new sport, get involved. Stepping through the door can be life-changing. It was for me.