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Principal’s Message

Neil Alweyn (Principal)

One of the things that brings me the greatest joy as Principal of our amazing College, is watching our students celebrate the successes of their peers. Over the last few weeks I have witnessed our students cheer and acknowledge the achievements of their friends in our College Swimming Carnival, Principal Academic Awards, rehearsals for our College Musical, and many other events that are currently taking place. The reason I believe this is so special, is that at times celebrating others achievements can be counter-cultural to what occurs in society. With this in mind, I want to introduce you to the term ‘crab mentality’.

Spending many hours at Woodmans Point as a teenager hunting for crabs, I became intrigued by the behaviour of these creatures once caught and placed in a bucket. For those who love crabbing, you will know that crabs can be kept in a very shallow bucket, without the danger of them escaping. This is because, as soon as one crab gets towards the top of the bucket to make their Alcatraz-like escape, another crab will pull them back down into the bucket. This phenomenon is known commonly as ‘crab mentality’ – as seen here. As one crab attempts to find its way to the top, others in the group hold them down to ensure they do not achieve their goal. 

Sadly the behaviour of people in society can mirror these crabs in a bucket. Our social media pages are often filled with articles or comments from people trying to find a way to denigrate the success of other individuals. At times, this trend can find its way into school. A study by Simon Spacey in 2015 showed that high school students who feared being bullied are more likely to do badly in exams and collude more in assessed coursework, to ensure that their grades do not stand out. This is such a sad indictment of the type of culture that can seep through schools if not addressed.

At Kolbe, we need to ensure that we promote a culture of celebrating achievement, without fear of embarrassment or ridicule. In order to do this, we strive to ensure that all our students know that ‘their best will always be good enough’. The gifts of our students are so varied, and that is what makes our community so special. As parents, we must continue to inspire our children to shine in their areas of strength, whilst also providing them permission whilst encouraging resilience that it is ok to not be brilliant in everything that they do. I leave you with a scene from one of my favourite movies ‘Coach Carter’, (please indulge my request for forgiveness as it does contain a word which is not part of our Kolbe vernacular) which I believe captures the essence of combating ‘crab mentality’ and allowing our children to shine their light for the world to see.

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