The Clontarf Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that brings secondary school age Aboriginal males together to improve their education, life skills, self esteem, and attitude about life. They use Australian football as a way to bring over 2500 boys together at various schools all over the country. What a fantastic program. Having been apart of this breakfast, it is quite obvious that this program is a great success and will continue to bring great reward in these students lives.
Today at school, there were no classes, rather, the students took part in a swimming sports day at the community pool a few blocks away. After putting my bag and gear down on my desk, I made my way out to one of the intersections on the way to the pool with a few teachers. I was assigned to stand in the middle of the road to look for traffic and to keep students from walking out into the street when cars were passing through the intersection. I was surprised that they trusted the American to look the right way when spotting traffic. No kids were hit, thankfully!
The students at BSC are organized into various houses, each named after one of the historical paddle steamers from the area: Bogong, Tanjil, Tarra, Darra, Curlip, and Tambo. Each house has it's own colors. This was quite evident today when students dressed up in their house's respective colors. There were quite a few students who looked like they had just bathed in a tub of paint for an hour prior to coming to school. I was really happy to see such excitement and spirit!
Once at the pool, students organized themselves into their respective area of the yard next to the pool. The races started soon after arrival. There were over 100 races throughout the day but I was only there until noon. All of the races were 50 meter sprints of various styles of swimming. They even managed to have a few fun races with rafts. My job, while I was there, was to record the names of the winners and the others that placed in each race. This was not the task to have been asked of me, that's for sure. Here is an example of what I mean:
"Hello, what's your name?" -Me
"[The student's name spoken with a thick Australian accent while out of breath}" -Student
"Can you spell that please?"
"Uh, J-A-M-E-S" -Student
"Thank you" -Me with my funny "yankee accent" acting like I had a hard time hearing them.
It was times like the one above that made me feel like somewhat of a dumb-ass for part of the day at the pool. It was the first time that I had to put my Australian accent comprehension skills to the test. I think if I had to give myself a grade, it would probably be a C. Although, a C might be a little generous. The students may have failed me. I didn't to mention that I had to write down their last names as well...and most of them were nothing like "James."
Once the first set of 75 or so races were over, it was my time to get back to school to start my planning. I was relieved to have been set free of my duties! Just about it was time to leave for the day, I realized that I had been planning the whole time for a class that I didn't even have tomorrow. Great! No big deal. I managed to do all the planning for this class later, after I arrived home.
After getting home, I Skyped with Mary Kate; it was great to see her! I'm thankful that Skype has worked out so well since I've been here! She was studying for an exam so I let her go to finish her work so she could get to bed at some point before day break, since it was 1AM back in Oxford! I miss her a lot!
It was then time to take a bike ride into town to run an errand. I needed to fill up the minutes on my phone at the store and wanted to take a look around town, before I had to come back to do some planning for tomorrow. I filled up my phone and decided to venture into the outdoor and fishing store around the corner. I could have spend the entire day in there! Unfortunately, I was hungry and wanted to get home. I'm sure I'll be back another time!
My day is pretty much done now, and I'm pooped. I need to get up early to get to school to set up my practical for the students in "Animal Inside." Should be a quick few final days of the week!