Last week, we received the wonderful news that our College had achieved the top academic results for NAPLAN on the Gold Coast, with our Junior School ranked Number 1, and our Senior School ranked Number 2 on the Gold Coast.
These are truly outstanding results and I would like to first and foremost congratulate our students, their teachers and their parents on this tremendous achievement.
Notwithstanding these outstanding and leading results, I still maintain that NAPLAN is only a singular assessment in a point in time. Further, I maintain that our College is far more than exceptional academic achievements. I have long maintained this view as I see schooling as the development of a child, enabling them to experience new and wonderful opportunities, to explore new and varied interests, the development of character, leadership, and the exploration of personal values, to name but a few.
Academic achievement is an important aspect of education, but we should never allow our schools to be reduced to only a list of results. I maintain this view as strongly as ever, despite the fact that we have well and truly entrenched ourselves as the leading academic school on the Gold Coast.
If we take the recent achievement in which 18 of our students have earned the right to compete in one of the most challenging team-related academic challenges in the world at Yale – do we focus on the end achievement or is it the growth, challenge, the opportunity and the journey they have travelled that is the most important. It is my opinion that it is the growth in the young person and what they learn about themselves that is far more important than the final absolute result.
Notwithstanding these beliefs, I am indeed very proud of our students and their recent achievements.
We have seen such a wonderful growth in our connectivity as a community and this too is something we should celebrate. It was wonderful to see so many Dads come along to the Father’s Day BBQ on Friday and to spend time with each other and their children.
It was also wonderful to see so many fathers attend the morning activities hosted by ‘It’s a Bloke Thing Education Roadshow’ encouraging all of us Dads to take more positive steps to manage our health. While the morning was a wonderful event and a terrific opportunity to meet a number of Australians who lead their fields, and see some true ‘big boys’ toys’, the morning was a serious reminder for us all to take better care of ourselves, not only for us, but for those we love.
When you consider the concept of success, it would be a very narrow measure to only consider academic results. Our College is a complex myriad of relationships and opportunities for all of us to take part in – it is a community; and as I have written about in the past few weeks, we are all called to make our contribution. When we do, and when our community thrives because we do, then this is true and genuine success.
I ask for all in our community to not consider the College as a mere ‘retail outlet’ in which we pay for ‘something’ and one in which ‘something’ is handed over, but rather as one in which we are all contributing – whether financially, with our time, with our knowledge, or through the provision of relationship building and opportunity; contributing to make a stronger community for us all – for our children; for us as parents; and for us as staff through stimulating and challenging career opportunities.
When we all work together and do away with selfish or indulgent tendencies, we can create a community that far exceeds the sum of its parts. This wish does seem harder to achieve in a world of instant gratification, but it is a dream well worth fighting for.