Joe starts school at Melbourne High 2016
Joe started school at Melbourne High on the 28th of January along with 300 other young men. Being the uncool parents, we followed our son to school… catching the 903 bus to Oakleigh and then the train into South Yarra. Like our airplane flights we arrived way too early which gave us a chance to enjoy a great Melbourne coffee before heading down to the gates of Melbourne High.
Before we headed out the door, both Helen and Tina presented Joe with a “Hong Bao” – a red packet with money in it to wish him good luck on his first day of school. After that the three of us headed on our public transport adventure – Myki cards clutched firmly in our hands.
Prior to that he had the final rowing try outs on the 21st and 22nd of January which was meant to be a two day camp, but the second day was a series of dangerous electrical storms which put paid to the final training trials and barbeque.
Joe and some of his new friends have been selected and there are 3 groups of 8 plus 3 coxswains. The training commitment is about 9 hours a week, which is considerable, but I think Joe is up for it. I am writing this on the first real day of training for Joe and he informed me that rowing with his team on the Yarra River is great although when we reach the depths of winter I’ll see if the enthusiasm levels are the same.
There is a great online portal system called Compass which provides us with up to date information on events and announcements, homework and other information relevant for parents and students.
Joe will attend a camp at the Millgrove Outdoor Education Centre located in the picturesque Upper Yarra Valley near Mt Donna Buang which is one of the first snow covered hills I visited when I lived in Melbourne. This camp in week three is designed to challenge the boys with caving, mountain biking and a range of other activities, but it is also designed to bring the boys together as a cohort who will be spending the next four years studying, living and developing together into young men.
The flurry of forms, competing options and professional approach to integrating the boys into this interesting environment has kept us on our toes as we prepare to move into our house after enjoying the hospitality of Helen’s sister and her three wonderful daughters who are achieving great things in their own right making us all very proud.
I arrived back down from Darwin on the 22nd and with the help of Lync/Skype technology was at work on the following Monday as if I had never left the office. Even as I write this at 9:45pm my presence awareness has me as available if folks need to contact me for work related matters.
In today’s world, blending our availability and work habits to achieve a balance that appeals to not only our family, but our employer is achievable with the use of a little technology. Another odd advantage for us is that when Joe sees me “telecommuting” or working remotely via video conferencing he sees this as the norm… which it will be for knowledge workers when he graduates high school and definitely university.
Joe’s growth in the last year can be contrasted against his Mum who still fusses over him as most Mums do. The only problem is that the height difference now means that it is more challenging when Helen wants to adjust her son’s hair.
We expected that Joe would reach 1.92 metres and he is currently at 1.87. We’ll see if that extra two inches will validate the rule of doubling a child’s height when they are two in order to determine their final height.
Back to the first day of school… We were going to take a furtive picture of him entering the school grounds and then depart but as we noticed other parents heading into the grounds to enjoy the moment, we threw caution to the wind and joined them.
You can see from the photographs the gathering in front of the “Castle” is part of the tradition. Some of the parents’ enthusiastic photographic endeavours yielded the expected eye-rolling by embarrassed sons, not realising that their parents were capturing history that they will only appreciate possibly when they have children.
One of the joys of living in Melbourne is the fact that I can meet with vendors and national partners like ESA and NSIP without having to justify travel. I may have said this before, but to repeat, I pay for all my airfares and transfers – not the taxpayer. Of course I try to secure a $99 redeye special and always use the airport bus which costs $15 dollars a trip if you buy a 10 trip ticket.
So on this trip I have already met up with our colleagues from NSIP and ESA attending a steering committee meeting in person and also caught up with Adobe with plans to meet Microsoft and Autodesk to discuss our education programs in the Northern Territory. This is what I mean by a win-win situation for employee and employer. Dare I say that the vendor community also benefits from an unplanned face to face meeting.
I share a road warrior photo of me on Collins St in the heart of the Melbourne CBD as I reviewed notes for the meeting with my federal colleagues. No one even looked as I wrangled the phone and a laptop on Melbourne streets. When I worked on these streets in the early 90s and the Internet was busily being born, it would have been a different story.
So at the end of the day Joe returned with stories to tell of encounters during his first day, excitement not subdued as we all confirmed that the right choice had been made.
Of course while the academic adventure unfolds we as parents deal with the reality of transporting items down south, renovations in three locations and our integration into this familiar but different environment. An example tonight was our return to Oakleigh was marred by a stalled Vline train on the South Yarra train tracks which essentially blocked our train from proceeding. We caught the train from a different platform and after some intimate moments with strangers squashed together on the train we opted for an exit at Caulfield where we enjoyed a Korean meal at a small restaurant that probably caters for students at the nearby Monash campus. Great meal and great price. We then caught a train back to Oakleigh, then the bus home. Adventure finished for another day.