From the Principal’s Desk – 20 January 2017

Dear School Community

Welcome to 2017! A special welcome to all our new families. We trust that your children are settling into our warm and caring school environment and that they have started building relationships quickly and happily.

I led the High School assembly and shared my thoughts and feelings about the value of education with the students. Education is a currency and it’s valuable. When our children are at school and immersed in the culture of teaching and learning at a consistently high standard, it becomes a norm and it’s easy for complacency to erode work ethic. The truth is that most children do not enjoy the benefit of a good education and find themselves disadvantaged economically and socially because of it. Education is expensive and many children do not attend school, drop out or are removed by their parents and placed into work to support families financially. The number of children receiving degrees or qualifications from tertiary institutions in many professional and skill-based areas does not meet the needs of the work place in the 21st Century. Urging our children to place a high value on education and them responding positively, positions them at an advantage in society today.  But this wasn’t always the case. Even as early as the years leading up to and after the Second World War, education, particularly for females, wasn’t always viewed as a necessity or valued. It wasn’t seen as a commodity. I told a story to our students about a mother and father, a farming couple who lived in a small town in a rural area of the USA. Humble and hard-working, they had the vision to look into a future and know in the love they had for him as parents that their son should have two things, a good education that would in turn hopefully lead to a better life. They sacrificed for many years and saved enough money until the day came when they could send him off to university. We spoke yesterday about how parents place gold in children’s hands when they give them the opportunity of education and how accumulated with care and sustained effort, education is a powerful gift. The parents of this boy gave him this, and maybe over time, his life would have been changed in have been immeasurable when compared to his parents. This was a time when folks still use a horse and carriage for transport and written communication was in the form of hand-written letters and in the case of an emergency, a telegraph. As the days and months passed, the parents heard less often from their son although their letters flowed continuously but the day did come, when the letters from the university dried up altogether. The father, concerned and missing his son dreadfully, hitched his horse to the weather-beaten carriage and set off on the two-week journey along dirt roads to the city to ensure that his son was in good health, so that he could hold him and speak to him for the first time in ages. Driving his carriage through the prestigious gates of the university, he was fortunate enough to see his son immediately, standing and talking with a group of other boys. Someone pointed and the group turned, laughing at the ragged, travel-weary man on his carriage. The father called out to his son, and the story goes that the son turned his back on his father and told one of his friends to tell the old man that he must be mistaking him for someone else.

I reminded our children yesterday of two further points that are encapsulated in this tale; never forget where you come from, look back and appreciate deeply and be proud of your roots because your education is founded on the sacrifice of parents and the generations that lived before them. Our children’s lives and current education is a story that has a long and rich history and you carry the story forward with your sacrifice as parents.  It’s a beautiful thing!

Each one of our students has a starting point and as parents and teachers, we place gold in their hands with a good education and I wish to start 2017 by thanking you as mothers, fathers and in many instances family, friends and sponsors for the personal and financial sacrifice you make each day to ensure your child is educated. Thank you for entrusting us with your children. Here’s looking forward to a wonderful and successful 2017!

Yours in education

Garth Kitching

Head of School