Whereas in our newsletter you would normally read of academic, sporting and cultural success, as well as various other adventures at school or beyond our gates, this has been a week of challenge and sadness for all of us in the Cathedral family. We will update you on those other matters next week, but this week is a time to reflect on the week’s happenings and the value of “belonging”.
Any school community attempting to deal with the loss of a student goes through a number of strains. Those strains this week have served to reveal the character of our people. Harrison Kilmister has been remembered fondly here by classmates, staff and others. At school we have been inundated with good wishes, sympathy and support. The broader community has expressed its sorrow and its keenness to assist, and for that we are grateful. There will be time and tangible ways for us to assist in various ways, but at the moment we are focused on offering our care and support. The Parents and Friends have support for the family in hand, so further opportunities to help will be communicated in due course. I am most grateful for the intent to help and in turn intend to accept aspects of help in the weeks to come.
This afternoon the lovely tribute of paper cranes pinned to Harrison’s locker has been moved and preserved by his classmates. Their messages to him, and the ones placed in the jar of memories, will be offered to his family. That is not the end of our care for the students, nor the last opportunity for their expressions of sadness and support. They have access to a suite of Chaplaincy and counselling services, as well as scope to continue to communicate their feelings via a message jar or other means as we arrange it with them.
This is a complex situation for the Kilmister family, and indeed for us all who know them. There is uncertainty regarding the health of two family members and they continue to receive the best possible critical care in Melbourne. There will, of course, be plans to remember Harrison and Amanda formally in gatherings, but these are yet to be established.
At Cathedral, the flags which have been flying at half-mast will rise again to the top of the poles on Monday morning. We are not “moving on” from the news and forgetting, instead we move onwards in the knowledge that this awful tragedy has cemented in us a strong sense of our common purpose. We make up a community that has long been united in aspirational education and student wellbeing and success. Today, we wear the bruise of this deep tragedy and a renewed conviction of the value of belonging to a community like ours.
Mr Adrian Farrer