What sort of animal represents you? Why is a manhole cover round? Why should we hire you? Why shouldn’t we hire you?
These were some of the questions asked of our College Leaders in a series of mock interviews for a hypothetical teaching position at our College. Volunteers from Year 12 were sought to apply for an imaginary position, followed by an interview which assessed their knowledge of the College, their values, their research, their ability to reflect deeply on their strengths and weaknesses, and finally their logical processing under pressure.
The experience aimed to provide students with a real-life experience of what job interviews could be like, and to enable them to reflect on the sort of preparation they must do to succeed in such situations. The interviewers were savvy and picked up on every little word, changes in body language and sought clarification on almost every statement made. The experience was as realistic as could be made, and it was so enriching to be able to see these students perform so well when faced with such bizarre questions.
After a week of such wonderful results: Rachel Hoch and Nikki Wallis – Bond VC Scholarship Recipients; Parsha Mia - A.B. Paterson College Public Speaking Winner (and recipient of a 50% Bond Scholarship); Katy Denney – invited to study at both the Sydney Conservatorium and WAAPA; Alice Zhang invited to be the guest of the Prime Minister at the Prime Minister’s Science Awards evening, I have been thinking, why do our students excel in so many areas? Why do our students achieve so many scholarships? Why are our students so capable in social settings? Why do our students conduct themselves with such distinction?
These are truly difficult questions. The answer is not all that clear, but the evidence is absolutely clear. Visit any school – our young people are different. We are not the only ones saying this – ask our University partners; ask the service agencies we support; talk to representatives from Lions or Rotary. Our students stand clear in the public arena; they are recognised both nationally and internationally; and their achievement in so many areas is exceptional. As a chemist, I wish I could isolate and purify the magical ingredient, but I suspect that it is rather more of a mixture than a singular, pure experience.
I believe our students truly shine because of the collective environment and opportunities available at our College. The A.B. experience is not simply a strong academic education, but rather one that is relevant and perhaps more important, one that develops the heart, the head and the hand. Although perhaps a cliché, I believe this to be true. Sit in a room with one of our students, talk to them and you will hear a maturity, a clarity of thought, and a moral character that is not readily found elsewhere.
The A.B. experience is different, and we see this clearly in our students. A school can use all the marketing and promotional material they like, but the proof is in the development of the child and in this regard, I truly believe we – as a community – are second to none. This is a result of the home-school partnership and is something we should all be very proud of.
Please check out our Facebook page to see the many achievements of our students and please leave an encouraging word of support. Let them know that our community is proud of the young person they have become. This is really important, and I hope you may take a few minutes to reflect on the young people who graduate from our College, the collective effort that aids in their development, and that you will indeed leave a word of support on our Facebook page!