Pom in Oz with Derek Goforth: Country week school spirit across Mid West schools an ‘uplifting experience’

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
Geraldton Senior High School's country week winning basketball team.
Camera IconGeraldton Senior High School's country week winning basketball team. Credit: Facebook

Quite a number of my opinion pieces and articles centre around my ‘day job’ of teaching and, most often, my love for it.

I felt I didn’t really have a choice for this one as I have just got back from a pretty solid and full-on week with my day job, returning from a fantastic five days of sport and joy at school country week.

Although I was incredibly busy and didn’t have that much time to think, I did have chance to stop on occasion and marvel at some of the best school spirit I have seen in my lifetime. I could list 1001 examples but will limit it to my top three.

My old school Champion Bay was there in fine form, participating in multiple sports and I had the privilege of watching them in some of their basketball games. Sadly, the boys couldn’t get a victory, despite their best efforts and the travelling students’ encouragement — but I did not once see their heads drop or their spirits dwindle. The team was a credit to their school and their motto of “Respect, Aspire and Resilience”.

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I guess there is a bit of rivalry between our Mid West schools and some of this was evident in friendly banter and ribbing on and off the playing field. But what I also saw was groups of rival students coming together to support each other. Basketball, netball and volleyball — students and teachers sat together and cheered on our local kids as they took on opposition from across the State. It spoke volumes about character and community that this behaviour came so naturally to them.

And lastly my very special school, whose students once again showed me exactly why I teach and precisely why it’s worth the huge effort school co-ordinators put in to make this happen.

From the victorious grand final winners to the resilient girls who kept going even after suffering defeats on the court — I was proud of every one of them. Above all that, beyond the sport of country week I was blown away by everything else. The spirit, the worship, the chanting, the singing on the bus, and the fellowship between the students and the staff — it was a truly uplifting experience.

I told my basketball players that I have been to a lot of country weeks and liked them all, but this is the first one I have loved. Being able to pray with the students and share my testimony is an experience I will never forget.

I loved every minute, even the hard parts were lessons learned and relationship-building.

I am tired and a bit bruised but would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Derek Goforth is a teacher at Geraldton Christian College

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