Chris Ivey / Academic
The end of term is drawing closer and as I look around me at the events and opportunities
10 June 2021
From Our Principal, Chris Ivey: Building Connections
The end of term is drawing closer and as I look around me at the events and opportunities that have both been and that are coming up, I am reminded of our strong focus on Building Connections. It is one of our overarching value statements because we know that as a College we can only achieve what we do, together.
The notion of team or community that works together is actually a biblical concept. One of the writers of the Bible, Paul, uses the analogy of the body. One body, many parts and each has an incredibly important part to play. In his analogy he continues by suggesting that one part of the body can’t simply say they are more important than the other. Each has a unique role. So, too in our College, family and church communities.
As I look around at the opportunities we provide here at St Andrew’s, it’s not just promotional talk about connecting through community, we actively try and live this, recognising that building connections and community is a team effort involving parents, staff and students. Having completed the 48km Kokoda Challenge last Saturday with my Year 10 team, I was once again in awe of the commitment of our 54 teams, but also the 54 parents and staff who willingly gave up their time to provide this unique opportunity. Seeing so many St Andrew’s staff and families working together to support their team is all part of what it means to be in community. Each having their own important role but being a part of the bigger body. ‘Kokoda’ is one of those challenges that pushes people to their limits and when we do this together, the outcome, such as simply finishing, is wonderful. Students are learning so many different things in completing this challenge, but one of the very important ones is the concept of team, of learning that there are times when the individual is only a part of a whole, and the team becomes the important feature. ‘Kokoda’ has the added bonus of raising money to support a great cause.
Parents will now be aware we have a number of events coming up which have a strong focus on building our community but also providing opportunities to also raise money but this time to support some of our upcoming projects. It’s wonderful to know that the College Fair will be returning! It will be a little different as we manage our current space constraints, but we are looking forward to bringing back the energy and community engagement that the Fair provides. We are already excited to have some major sponsors knowing that the proceeds of these sorts of events have always gone back into the College to provide resources that the College might not have otherwise had the opportunity to provide. Examples from previous years include our middle years playground/ recreation area next to the RGC, costly musical instruments, sporting equipment and shaded seating areas.
Both the Gala Ball ‘St Andrew’s Royale’ and the Golf Day are focussed around building connections between College parents which is just as important. As last year was so difficult for parents to be included in events, COVID-19 permitting, this was going to be a focus for us in 2021. As I spoke to Year 7 parents at the commencement of the year, I set both ourselves and the parents the challenge of getting to know other parents, of building those connections because they are so vital as our students become teenagers and move through the Secondary school. Parenting style changes as children become adolescents, connecting can be harder and can feel lonely and with this in mind, it is incredibly encouraging to see the parents of our year levels coming together more often and in different ways to build connections with each other. I particularly want to thank the parent reps from Years 7 to 12 who are working to re-build these connections that are more readily and easily made in the Primary years. Thanks to all those parents who are taking the time and effort to welcome and include each other through the awkward moments of introduction and connection when they attend functions. Again, as Paul in the Bible put it so well, one body, many parts!
We live in times that are far more challenging for our children. With so many competing forces impacting their development, one of the few remaining sources of stability are parents, family and school. This is why we focus on the St Andrew’s values and why we keep talking about building connections. It is a team effort, not unlike the 48km Kokoda Challenge, sometimes it feels like it’s a marathon with plenty of hills and valleys! Let’s ensure we are working together along the way to provide them with the best possible outcomes.
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