Welcome to our second semester in this year like no other.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, at IGS we have adapted quickly and carefully as a community and will continue to do so during Semester 2.
Despite the pandemic, our school is an exciting place to be. I call school “hope in action”. Students enter the campus each day with smiling faces, ready to see their friends and teachers and receptive to all that we have in store for them. It’s uplifting to be in their presence. I love that new students are eagerly welcomed by staff and students and made to feel as comfortable as possible from day 1. That generosity of spirit and a curiosity about others are enduring attributes of the IGS student. Long may they continue!
This term, we have the new Centre for the Dramatic Arts and also the brand new Bibliothèque, opening shortly. I can’t wait to see these extraordinary and inspiring spaces used by our students from Preschool to Year 12 and by their teachers.
We began Term 3 on Monday with a staff conference organised by our Deputy Principals Mary Duma and Lisa Kelliher. The day gave us an opportunity to undertake health training for CPR, Asthma, Anyphylaxis, Mental Health First Aid and a range of wellbeing activities facilitated by our PE Department. We also reflected on our challenges and achievements of the last 6 months and made plans for semester 2 in the context of teaching and learning in a time of COVID-19. We are maintaining safety and physical distance while keeping our focus on high quality teaching and learning.
On Wednesday, instead of gathering for assembly, I spoke with students in classrooms across the school via video, welcoming them back, reinforcing important health and safety messages about staying home if unwell, hygiene and physical distancing where possible, and sharing my reflections that COVID-19 has reminded us of how little we really need, how much we actually have and of the value of human connection.
I read Primary School students a beautiful new picture book called, Maybe by New York Times best-selling author Kobi Yamada. This is a story about the endless potential in each and every child. It’s about all the possibilities that lie ahead of them. The message to the reader is that you are unique and special and the world has been waiting for you. It seemed like a perfect book to read our Primary School children and they have started to write me letters in response about what they want to be when they grow up. The purity of their hopes and dreams are a heartwarming reminder of why we are all here at IGS.
In my video to High School students, I told them how proud I am of them and of the ways in which they have drawn on an inner strength that perhaps they didn’t even know they had during this unusual year.
I shared with them the topic of this year’s Global Scholar’s Prize: Explore the global ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Entries will close on 2 November with the winning entry announced at Speech Night.
For Year 12 in particular, Term 3 is a special time to work hard, when they flex their HSC muscles and limber up to demonstrate what they know and can do through Major Works, assessment tasks and examinations. It’s remarkable to see how far our Year 12s have come this year. They inspire us all.
And now they begin their countdowns. Final lessons. Focused discussions with teachers and classmates. Final times treading the school corridors and favourite spaces on a daily basis.
Around the world, departing students of the Classes of 2020 will carry an extra qualification. Because of COVID-19, these graduates will be more resilient, more innovative, and more determined to find their way in a changed world. These fine young people have our respect, and we will support them each and every step of the way as we wish them well, now and for the future.
I’ve encouraged all of our students to go forward with commitment and effort every day, supporting one another and their teachers, as we support each other.
Thank you very much for your support and for your careful cooperation as we continue to follow NSW Government COVID Safe guidelines during the term ahead.