Debutante Ball, More than just one night & Homework.
Friday 08th September, 2017.
The tradition of Presentation Night lives on at Fountain Gate Secondary College.
A debutante ball might seem like an old fashioned event to hold in this day and age, but the tradition is actually growing in popularity in Victoria.
Once upon a time young ladies, wearing white dresses, attended a deb ball as their formal introduction to society. Today it's a chance to get dressed up, have a great night of dancing with their friends and family and celebrate their youth. Fountain Gate Secondary College had 25 debutantes this year.
It was a wonderful opportunity to see so many of our Year 11 students step up and participate in a wonderful event. Once again a big thank you to Mr Heard and Ms Tchantcho who were instrumental in organising this annual event. Thank you to Ms Waters and Mr Threadgold who both did a sterling job being the MC’s for the night.
More than just one night
The debutantes line up their partners months in advance, and together they spent up to 12 weeks preparing for the ball.
They learn presentation dances and other old-time dances, as well as the procedure of being presented and how to curtsey.
"[They learn] little things like that which they would normally never understand or appreciate."
The night of the ball begins with the debs being presented to myself as the College Principal and my wife Moya as well as a student leader Hayley Hickey and everyone at the ball.
The young women and their partners have to perform the presentation dances throughout the night, more dancing and fun with their friends and family follows.
Some of the comments made to me on the night include:
"It gives me great satisfaction to see the young people come out and enjoy themselves,"
"I think it's a great thing for them to still have this tradition - a lot of the secondary colleges have discontinued [the balls] but in our community it's kept going."
“Not much has changed since my niece made her debut over 10 years ago”.
"The same things happen: being presented, feeling like a princess for the night, dancing with your best friend, your partner, getting photos," she said.
"Clothing's changed a lot but it was always a good night; my mother did it, my sisters have done it, I've done it... it's a big tradition."
All the parents/care givers of the debs are involved in the preparations for the ball such as: driving kids home from practice; and buying certain items of clothing.
On the day of the ball the young women, and often their mothers and grandmothers, spend hours getting their hair and make-up done.
Some parents bought their dresses online or at the shops locally or in the city, while others might be lucky enough to have family members who can sew.
Lately I have had many conversations with parents/caregivers on how they can support their child with homework?
The primary purpose of homework is to reinforce the information and skills your child learns at school. It is helpful for your child when parents can help them develop strategies to complete homework and assignments in stress-free and learning-friendly ways. It is important that parents and students find a plan that works for their family and stick with it.
Here are some tips that my wife and I have used (not always with success) when trying to develop homework strategies with our own children:
- Use checklists - Help your child get into the habit of using checklists for keeping track of their homework or assessment tasks. This can be done in the FGSC student diary. Once tasks have been completed, crossing off items will help students feel a sense of accomplishment. Some students prefer using a calendar or a mobile device to keep track of due dates and help prioritise assignments.
- Prioritise homework and assessment tasks - Before beginning a homework session, encourage your child to number the tasks in order in which they are to be completed. Some students prefer to start with one that’s not too long or difficult. Others prefer saving the easy ones for last and starting on the longest or hardest tasks. Be sure to set realistic goals and stop along the way to check progress.
- Set a designated study space - Students often find it helpful to study in the same place every night where supplies and materials are close at hand. This space does not have to be a bedroom, but it should be a quiet, well-lit place with few distractions. Make sure that the TV is turned off and that if music is requested, it does not create a distraction. In saying that sometimes we often get our kids to sit at the island bench to do homework while I’m peeling potatoes and getting tea ready. It is also a good opportunity to find out from your kids how they think they are going at school.
- Set a designated study time - Students should know that a certain time every day is reserved for studying and doing homework. The best time is usually not right after school as most students benefit from time to unwind first. Parents should include their child in making this decision. Even if your child does not have homework, the reserved time should be used to review the day’s lessons, read for pleasure or work on an upcoming school project.
- Show interest in your student’s assignments - Ask about the subject and work to be accomplished. Try to relate homework to your child’s everyday life. For instance, fractions and measurements can be reviewed as your child helps cook dinner ask your child to spell a word in a game of Hangman!
- Be a role model - take the opportunity to read a book or newspaper while your child studies. Reading together helps encourage a life-long love of learning for your child.
- Check over homework assignments - take time to review your child’s homework with them, but make sure you are not doing it for them. Being familiar with your child’s work will help you identify strengths and weaknesses and create a supportive relationship with your child. Though in saying this you need to be careful that you don’t start an argument because I know with my own kids once they have finished a piece of homework they don’t want to do anymore. It is about getting that balance between giving them enough feedback that will motivate them to revisit their work.
- Meet with your student’s teachers - Be sure you understand the goals that the teachers have set for your child. You should consider yourself and your child’s teachers as partners. Together, you and the teacher can have the strongest positive influence on your child and their study habits. We have parent teacher interviews next week so please book online or contact the school if you are having trouble with this.
- Take your child’s struggles seriously - if you notice that your child is struggling with assignments in particular subjects be sure that you encourage your child to seek assistance and feedback from their teacher. You can also discuss this with the teacher. Early help is much better than falling behind or becoming very stressed about studying.
- Use Homework Club - if your child falls behind or is absent from school, encourage and allow them to attend Homework Club to receive support to catch up. Teachers are there to supervise this club from Thursday after school and can give that extra support your child may need.
I have just received the inspection report from Cushman & Wakefield from their qualified Hygienist based on their attendance and inspection at our College.
After reviewing the report, I am pleased to announce the result of the Hygienists findings was there was no Asbestos containing materials (ACM) that have been identified.