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This time last year, many of us had the optimistic (fanciful?) expectation that 2021 would be different to the lockdown-plagued 2020. But it really wasn’t, and we endured another, even tougher lockdown from early August through to the end of October. It was hard, but like last year we ‘got on with it’, as we always seem to do at Wesley. The Snapshots, Foundation and OWCA pages in this edition of Lion show just how various the Wesley experience was despite the lockdown – albeit with many of our experiences necessarily being mediated online.

We’re clearly living through a marker point in history, with our life stories now told in two parts: BC and AC, Before Covid and After Covid. As well as celebrating our resilience in the face of this very ‘fraught moment’ (as Nick Evans describes it in his Principal’s Lines on the next page), this edition of Lion also celebrates several happy historical Wesley milestones. It’s 25 years since the Junior School campus opened at St Kilda Road… 25 years since the Early Childhood Learning Centre opened at Glen Waverley… and it’s 50 years since the St Kilda Road Wesley College Big Band was formed. In his feature piece on page 4, St Kilda Road Campus Music teacher Jack Howard (OW1976) looks back over that 50-year musical journey, charting the development of this enduring and highly successful Wesley institution.

In our second feature on page 6 we look at the changing face of science at Wesley. With industry-experienced teachers and a clear group of female role models amongst our community, our girls are increasingly seeing the viability of a career path into science. No longer the traditional perception of a scientist as a bespectacled man in a lab coat! The recently introduced Rennie Coutts STEM Scholarship for Girls will also provide enhanced opportunities for our girls to branch out into the burgeoning career pathways opening up for them in science.

Our page 9 feature on Audrey Mims (OW2018) reveals another member of our community branching out, but in an entirely different field. As a passionate and dedicated campaigner for gender equality, Audrey shares her thoughts and insights about campaigning, about self-confidence, and about being brave. She offers us some observations about how being a member of a strong community can give us the courage to survive these fraught moments in life, and work towards a better world: ‘I like to think of being brave as a community endeavour; being brave often affects the ways we interact with others and the braveness of others can inspire groups and large networks – so being brave really is a force.’

Paul Munn, Lion Editor and features writer

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