Home杭州桑拿 › ‘Naive and ignorant’: Former Ravenswood captains slam Sarah Haynes’ controversial speech

‘Naive and ignorant’: Former Ravenswood captains slam Sarah Haynes’ controversial speech

Outgoing Ravenswood captain Sarah Haynes. Photo: Michele Mossop ‘I never felt as though I was unable to express myself’: former Ravenswood school captain Georgia Stewart.

Comment: Captain’s speech doesn’t represent the Ravenswood I knowSarah Haynes’ memorable speechRavenswood responds to speech

Former Ravenswood school captains have rubbished the claims made by outgoing captain Sarah Haynes in her controversial valedictory speech, calling it “naive and ignorant” and an unfair representation of Sydney’s elite schools.

Georgia Stewart, who was captain in 2013, said that in her experience Ravenswood was not a finance-obsessed institution, nor did it seek to constrain free speech.

“The characterisation of Ravenswood as a corporate institution with profit as its driving motive, above the consideration of students, is both unfair and an insult to those who work tirelessly for those in their care,”  Ms Stewart, whose sister still attends the school, wrote in a piece for Fairfax Media.

“I never felt as though I was unable to express myself. In fact, it was almost the complete opposite, as I and others were provided with various platforms in which to discuss issues or concerns with the way the student pastoral care culture had evolved at Ravenswood.”

Ms Haynes’ farewell address to peers and teachers, which was the subject of a Fairfax Media article on Monday, went viral and was picked up by media in Britain, the US and Asia. In the controversial speech, Ms Haynes criticised aspects of her school, saying it was “not perfect” and had at times “let down” her family. She accused school administrators of attempting to censor her planned speeches and said modern schools were “being run more and more like businesses where everything becomes financially motivated, where more value is placed on those who provide good publicity or financial benefits”.

It struck a chord with many students in the room – as well as Fairfax Media readers – who empathised with the characterisation of Sydney’s elite private schools. Ravenswood, in Gordon, charges fees of up to $28,000 annually.

But the speech has also been condemned by some parents and students as reflective of a personal vendetta against Ravenswood following the expulsion of Ms Haynes’ sister from the school earlier in the year. The school said the matter, which is now before the courts, relates to “an incident of alleged bullying”.

The 2010 Ravenswood school captain, Sam Wright, said the speech “felt a little indulgent and unconsidered”. Ms Wright said that while she was captain, she had been given the freedom and trust to lead her peers without pressure or interference from school officials.

“I’ve heard from many ex-students over the past few days who feel Sarah’s speech unfairly questioned the school’s loyalty to their values,” she said.

“It is also both naive and ignorant to blame the school for teenage girls’ insecurities. As awful and paralysing as insecurities are, they are by no means exclusively felt by Ravenswood girls and certainly not brought on by the school’s management.”

Ms Stewart, who now studies international relations at the n National University, said her own experience as captain of Ravenswood two years ago was vastly different from the one described by Ms Haynes.

“I was never one of the fortunate referred to in the speech – families with significant wealth and perceived influence over the direction of the school’s operation or development,” she wrote.

“Thrust into a position of leadership, I was able to see the best of what our school had created, and not naively, some of the challenges that all schools face in a modern education environment.”

Ms Haynes’ speech was originally posted to YouTube last week but had been removed by Tuesday.

Comments are closed.