Ed­u­ca­tor in­stils val­ues

Prin­ci­pal helps stu­dents deal with change

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - Front Page - Tari Jef­fers

Alife-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence help­ing youth with be­havioural dis­or­ders in Eng­land has taken Ja­son Meynell on a pro­fes­sional jour­ney that has brought him to Man­jimup.

As the prin­ci­pal at Kear­nan Col­lege, Ja­son has al­ways put a pri­or­ity on pro­vid­ing a safe and en­joy­able environment for his stu­dents to learn and grow.

As an un­der­grad­u­ate in 2000, Ja­son went on a trip around the world.

His trav­els took him to Swin­don in Eng­land where he had the life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with young peo­ple with be­havioural dis­or­ders.

“It was a re­ally chal­leng­ing job but it also taught me the im­por­tance of re­la­tion­ships and the im­por­tance of con­nect­ing with in­di­vid­ual peo­ple to help them on their jour­ney,” Ja­son said.

“As a con­se­quence of that trip, I came back to Perth and de­cided I wanted to be a teacher.”

Ja­son rang up uni­ver­si­ties the day af­ter he got back from his overseas trip and found out that Ter­tiary In­sti­tu­tions Ser­vice Cen­tre ap­pli­ca­tions to ap­ply to be a teacher closed later that day.

He pulled his ap­pli­ca­tion to­gether and thus be­gan his jour­ney in teach­ing.

As a teacher, he has a back­ground in sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, with a spe­cific fo­cus on teach­ing English.

Ja­son first came to Man­jimup for a year-long post­ing in 2013, where he was the head of the sec­ondary school.

“We loved it but sadly we had to come back to Perth at the end of 2013,” he said. “Then the po­si­tion be­came avail­able in 2015, just af­ter we’d moved into our dream house in Perth for about four weeks.”

Ja­son then took on the prin­ci­pal po­si­tion af­ter term one in 2016, a role he has been in since.

As an ed­u­ca­tor, fa­ther and hus­band, Ja­son said he loved the

I think we need to work with our chil­dren to make sure they have the abil­ity to flour­ish when faced with change, be­cause change will be in­evitable for them. Kear­nan Col­lege prin­ci­pal Ja­son Meynell

Man­jimup re­gion. “I love the coun­try life. I have two daugh­ters and I love the fact that they’re not nec­es­sar­ily caught up in the rat race,” he said.

“Man­jimup it­self as a com­mu­nity has so many won­der­ful, dif­fer­ent pro­grams that are in place that kids can get their hands into and I love that you can drive for three min­utes and be at that place with your child and not have that traf­fic along the way.”

In his po­si­tion as Kear­nan Col­lege prin­ci­pal, Ja­son said he was “very pas­sion­ate” about ed­u­ca­tion, in­clud­ing a Catholic ed­u­ca­tion, be­ing ac­ces­si­ble for ev­ery child, ir­re­spec­tive of their walk of life.

“It means a lot to me that as a school we do what­ever we can to sup­port our fam­i­lies,” he said.

One of Ja­son’s pri­or­i­ties as prin­ci­pal is to make sure stu­dents un­der­stand that hap­pi­ness or suc­cess in life is not re­liant on bank bal­ance of “how many likes you get on Instagram”.

“More im­por­tant is that we find hap­pi­ness through the re­la­tion­ships we have with other peo­ple and that we also un­der­stand that for our own in­nate hap­pi­ness, some­times help­ing other peo­ple is a key thing for us to do,” he said.

Ja­son is also pas­sion­ate about mak­ing sure his stu­dents are ready to en­ter a work­force that is vastly dif­fer­ent to any­thing known pre­vi­ously and jobs that “we don’t even know ex­ist just yet”.

“I think we need to work with our chil­dren to make sure they have the abil­ity to flour­ish when faced with change, be­cause change will be in­evitable for them,” he said.

To that end, ev­ery stu­dent in Kear­nan’s sec­ondary school has been sup­plied with a learn­ing de­vice they use for school work.

“It’s tech­nol­ogy at their fin­ger­tips, it’s our way of mak­ing sure that when chil­dren leave our school, they’re go­ing to be as con­nected as pos­si­ble to their em­ploy­ment land­scape,” he said.

In a time where tech­nol­ogy is mov­ing for­ward and the im­por­tance of mak­ing sure the school’s fa­cil­i­ties were up to date, Ja­son said it was also im­por­tant to hon­our the past, espe­cially as Kear­nan ap­proaches its 100th an­niver­sary.

“I re­ally en­joy speak­ing to peo­ple in the com­mu­nity and lis­ten­ing to sto­ries about sleep­ing on the ve­randa of the art room when they were board­ing,” he said.

“I love hear­ing about some of the lo­cal peo­ple when they were younger, hav­ing the job of milk­ing the cow so they could have break­fast in the morn­ings be­fore school.”

Pic­ture: Tari Jef­fers

Kear­nan Col­lege prin­ci­pal Ja­son Meynell loves the Man­jimup com­mu­nity and aims to pro­vide qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion for his stu­dents.

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