Open letter from Kadina High principal

I wish to thank the many individuals and organisations that have supported Kadina High School through the loss of our four boys. This support has been overwhelming and has come from the local area, the state, nationally and internationally. Without this support, the task of recovery would not be possible.

The school community and I have been thankful for the gifts and the huge number of emails, faxes, letters and cards received. My principal colleagues from around the state and their schools have offered messages of condolence and support as have the non-government sector, personal friends, past students and individuals, many with no formal present or past contact with the school.

Our students have been a credit to themselves and the school in all of this. They have conducted themselves with dignity. They have grieved. They have supported each other. They have shown us all once again what a great future our country has with the youth of today growing in such a mature and caring fashion.

The Kadina staff have been outstanding, while suffering greatly themselves. They have supported each other and the students in a fashion I can only be proud of as the principal. As a parent I can only say how lucky I am to have my children at this school. I must make special mention of Bradd Farrell, my deputy principal, who has kept the school running in a most professional manner; Pam Mathieson, my head teacher welfare, for her many tasks, especially being able to put my thoughts into action and communicate them far better than I can at times; Steve Wilcox, year 11 year adviser, who, I do not know how, has gotten through the past few weeks supporting his year to a level no-one can imagine; and Robyn Avery, for the high standard of counselling support she gathered at the school and her valued advice and personal support.

I would like to make special mention of Toni Hughes, my boss, past Kadina principal and School Education director. She has been a tower of strength for me while suffering her own anguish for the students at Kadina, who she holds in such high regard. Her staff in Jodie Eyre, Clancy Benson and Boyd Martin have also done an amazing job behind-the-scenes supporting, especially our staff.

My family have been my rock in all of this. Without their support, I am sure I would have fallen over at some stage. My kids, Amy, Chloe and Sean have had to put up with my emotions and Kathy my wife has run the house, put her work commitments on hold, given me a supportive shake when required and explained to the kids when they have asked, why is dad crying? My love for them only strengthens with the help they have provided in getting me through the events of the past few weeks.

It is our job now to support each other, students, staff and community, so that the recovery process can continue. Our students and staff will be provided with additional support when required. We have our students in class working and would encourage any parent to contact the school to seek assistance.

Plans will be put in place to honour our boys, while our support for the families will be ongoing.

Once again, thank you for all the support we have received. We are recovering thanks to that support.

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