Normally at this time of year, I am so pleased to hear the voices and constant chatter of our students around the school, ending the silence that abounds during the school holidays. The recent holidays have, however, been anything but quiet with building works in full operation and The Winton Centre nearing completion. The excitement within our College is so pleasing to hear once again.
It has been wonderful to see our families return after the Christmas vacation, and I hope that you all had a truly special time together as a family. We need to view our connections and community as an extension of every family – one in which we are all not only valued and respected but supported. Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a family is only strong if all members look to support not just their immediate members but those a little more remote. Similarly, we should not gather in community merely for our own benefit, but rather for the benefit of every child – for every member of our community. In this way, we all have a responsibility for the protection, care and support for every other family. If we do not support such a statement, how can we ever accept support from another.
Living in a community means making sacrifices, giving, supporting others, and thinking about others and not only our own family in order to be open to receiving such help and support from others. When we act in unison, our collective community benefits.
At the very heart of these factors is the need for positive community relationships and a genuine respect for all. This is the base ingredient of all exceptional schools.
Our College Values of Excellence, Care and Commitment cannot simply be words on a crest, but rather must remain defining and meaningful principles – principles to which all who join this community, as members of staff, parents or students are bound and committed to uphold in all dealings with others. Without this simple premise, how can we deal with the challenges ahead with sincerity and openness to each other?
The College community is clearly a very supportive and positive one; a community in which sound moral values and ethics are appreciated, encouraged and promoted. I am a firm believer in the need for strong and open communication, honesty and positive, genuine relationships between all. I believe in fostering a community in which the rich diversity of our students is celebrated and applauded. I thank you all for the commitment you have made to our College and I look forward to your support throughout 2019 and beyond.
Ralph Waldo Emerson stated that “the true test of civilisation is not the census, nor the size of the cities, nor the crops, but the kind of person that the country turns out”. Similarly, the true test of a school is the nature and character of the students who graduate from our College. May our College continue to challenge all to achieve, and to always act with purpose and character.
Finally, may I take this opportunity to welcome our many new families and to wish you all a very happy and wonderful 2019. May we all grow in our spirit, connectivity and generosity towards each other. I look forward to an opportunity to meet with you in person at one of the many College functions, information nights or throughout the College grounds in the near future. Until then, I wish you and your family a wonderful year at A.B. Paterson College.