“Sarg, can you help?”
Staff are one of the most valuable assets of our community here at Newington. When asked which staff members contribute the most to the lives of the students, names of teachers usually pop up, but another two that might be at the forefront of a boy’s mind would be Mr Dodson and Ms Byrant.
John Dodson and Valerie Bryant are two of our Duty Officers or “Sergeants” at the Stanmore 7-12 Campus. They are both former police officers and draw on their combined 60 years of knowledge in community policing to make sure that boys are safe before, after and during school.
One of their daily tasks is ‘crossing duty’ on the corner of Holt Street and Cambridge Street at Stanmore Station, watching quietly as the boys pour off the trains and navigate their way up to Stanmore 7-12 or to Wyvern House. As daily commuters, Mr Bruce Wilson and his son Richard in Year 2 at Wyvern, stop to chat with John on a regular basis and Richard shares his love of AFL. Mr Wilson took this photo and shared it with John.
“We gain respect by interacting with the boys before school, at recess and lunch when they are not involved in their normal classroom environment,” said John.
While in the past the ‘sergeants’ role was one of instilling fear for infringements these days it is more about helping the boys to be the best they can be, keeping standards of reasonable and considerate behaviour as the benchmark and being safe. The Duty Officers spend a great deal of time ensuring that lose ends are tied up and that the boys are found when, and where, they need to be.
But one of the most significant value moments in their day would have to be the relief when there is a reunion of a boy and his belongings! “The most common question we are asked is, ‘Sarg, can you help me? I have lost my iPad or my school bag?’ “. The return rate we are delighted to say is high, after interrogating questions such as, “Where did you last have it?”