The Jumping Castle in the Supercentre

August is Paragon’s birthday month! Our school was founded on 1st August 1998, by Sensei Cameron Gill. He was our teacher and brother, a passionate creator of superheroes and magic memories, and someone who loved to party. Every year, we love celebrating Paragon’s birthday with the students and families who make what we do possible, by sharing some of the history of Paragon and by throwing a famous Paragon birthday party. 

Paragon celebrated our coming of age, our 21st Birthday, only four short months after Sensei Cameron’s passing in 2019. We created as much of a celebration as he would have expected, digging deep even as we pushed through that raw pain of loss, and marking the day was as much as we could manage. We weren’t ready to reflect on memories at that time. 

Paragon Birthday Memories

Some of these memories are stories that had not been told before because Sensei Cameron was quite humble, and didn’t like to draw the spotlight to himself. For us, highlighting the things about him that made him so special and so super is the way we prefer to remember him. Finding opportunities to share our memories with those who loved him, and sharing his legacy with others who may not have had that chance to know him, is something that we know will continue to benefit future superheroes. 

It’s hard to know where to start when telling someone who might not have known him about Sensei Cameron. It’s much easier to show people, by sharing the photos, videos and memories. Sharing these moments of the history of our community also helps others to understand the culture and spirit of our school. Sensei Cameron’s legacy lives in all of us, and it’s not something we can always articulate or explain when people try to put their finger on what is different (and what is awesome) about Paragon. But it is something we hope everyone can grow to understand and appreciate through these stories.

So here is another story – a favourite Paragon Birthday memory from some years ago. It was 2015, the year Sensei Cameron hired a jumping castle for our birthday party, to level up the games of noodle Spar Wars with some extra BOUNCE! 

Bouncy Spar Wars

Sensei Cameron had a habit of saying his crazy ideas out loud. Sometimes we wondered if it was a test – how we responded to his madness (“Ummm, No.” Or, “That’s crazy, let’s do it!”) was perhaps a measure of how far along the paradigm of his vision of working towards impossible things we sat. Naturally, we all wondered how we could fit a jumping castle in the hilly top yard, or amongst the Halloween construction site that was already in progress in the bottom yard. 

“No, inside the Supercentre,” he replied, completely deadpan.

Unsure if he was joking (he usually wasn’t, when it came to plans for Paragon events and party ideas), we erred on the side of neutral caution. “Ummm, yeah…? If it will fit…”

“Oh, it fits!”, he said excitedly, and showed us the sketch he’d made with the dimensions of the jumping castle he had already google-researched, inside an outlined drawing showing the specs of the Supercentre. 

Party Day!

On the Friday morning of the party, Sensei Sarah spent the day baking and decorating our superhero party birthday cake, which was by now our tradition, while the rest of the team was rostered to help with the party set-up. At the promised hour of 10am, the castle arrived. It was fully inflated by about 10:45am, and within minutes of the installer finishing his instructions for use and safety brief, and organising collection for the following morning, Sensei Cameron was locking the front door behind him so he could get some bouncing in before the kids arrived. 

It was about an hour of continuous bouncing before he declared it safe for play, and allowed Sempai T to have a turn. Not having his stamina, it was a much shorter play, followed by a quick test of some double bouncing to make sure we could keep the kids safe if we had a couple of them on at the same time. 

And then he was back to playing by himself, practising acrobatics and radiating joy.  

He stopped bouncing when the rest of the team arrived to help with party decorations, early in the afternoon, about three hours later. 

He then bounced for three hours solid with the kids at the party. The rest is history, another Paragon legend born. 

Bring your joy

This year, as we embarked on preparing the Supercentre for another Paragon birthday party, one of our teens called us after school to ask us if we wanted them to come early to help with set up, and what they needed to bring for the party. They are one of the kids from that jumping castle birthday party, just seven years old, bouncing with their beloved Sensei Cameron like it was their last day on earth. Now a student teacher, a Superneer Prep, they volunteered to help out with the games and activities for the little superheroes. 

These kids’ lives have been shaped by Paragon, and they continue to shape us. They exude super. These kids are the embodiment of Sensei Cameron’s legacy. They are the future of Paragon.

We know that when we say “Bring a small plate of food to share,” our families between them bring more than enough to feed the whole Superhero school for a week. 

“Just bring your joy,” we tell the Superneer prep. “And your super.”

“Okay, on my way!”

We hope you enjoy watching this video of Sensei Cameron’s bouncy joy as much as we love sharing our traditions as we continue our mission to create superheroes.

Team Paragon

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