This fortnight I hand the Principal’s Blog over to our College Captain, Joel Dimattina.

As College Captain, I have a position that affords me an opportunity to use my voice and my actions to set an example for my peers, and to help be a positive influence for change. For me personally, as a seventeen year old male, I’ve read and watched many of the stories that have appeared in the media. I’m a strong believer in reading and educating myself and speaking to people involved to gain a better understanding of a situation before I speak out.

There’s certainly an issue regarding respect for women in our society that needs to be improved and looked at very closely. You only have to look at the protests over the past few days, or the abundance of shares on social media feeds to get a gauge on this vital topic.

In my household, there are three men and my mother. No, I don’t have a sister, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t know how to treat women as equals, deserving of respect. For me, I believe it is crucial to get conversations flowing surrounding the constant challenges women are confronted with in society. I believe it is crucial to educate younger generations, to create a flow on effect that allows for voices and stories to be heard, to empower all women and girls. I believe that the powerful in society have a responsibility to walk in solidarity with the vulnerable.

We can’t change our history, but we can learn from it. Something I’ve been trying to do as of late is reflect on my values and beliefs. I often reflect on the relationships I’ve formed or am forming, ensuring they’re healthy and respectful. Putting myself in a position to make decisions I’m going to be proud of. I know this way of thinking and acting didn’t happen by accident.

When I think about the women in my life, it comes back to my mum, nonna, aunties and cousins. All women I’ve forged terrific relationships with who have played a pivotal role in the man I am today. They are the ones who gave me advice. In fact growing up some of the best advice I’d ever received had been from women. They are the ones who have softly but honestly demanded respect from myself and pulled me in line when I’ve needed it.

But it’s not only the women in my life that have taught me the valuable lesson of equality and respect, it’s also the men. My father, my nonno, my brother, they too have showed in their words and actions the right way to treat women – regardless of whether or not I know them, or am related to them.

So as College Captain, I understand that as society we have work to do, and as a representative of my generation I know I have a responsibility to uphold the values that I have grown up with, been taught at school and witness each day. I have a lot of faith in the young men of Marcellin and in particular, my year level. I’ve grown up with them and know them. These are my brothers. We’ve been taught that as a family it is vital to help each other out. We support each other, but we challenge each other to be better than before. I know I’m not perfect and I know I’m still learning, however, I’m not going to stop educating myself on gender inequality and listening to women’s powerful stories. It’s relevant, and it’s happening all around us. I challenge each of us in the Marcellin community to continue to do the same.

Joel Dimattina

Marcellin College Captain