“We are crew, not passengers, strengthened by acts of consequential service to others.”
Experiential Educator Kurt Hahn (1886-1974)
As the school year began, we defined beautiful work as work of substance, service and meaning, work that comes from effort and from a commitment to excellence, and work that captures our belief that crafting what we do can lead to astonishing progress.
With this vision in mind, we have seen beautiful work emerge each and every day, in diverse and exciting ways, led by our dedicated teachers and our inspirational Head Girl Grace Truman and Head Boy Orlando Read. These Year 12 leaders and our student house and portfolio leaders have demonstrated high levels of creativity and adaptability and an impressive commitment to making IGS a better place. They have made a great start as our 2021 student leadership team and we’re excited about the positive mark that they are making on IGS in their final year at school.
But back to today! The term has drawn to a close in a joyful and vibrant way with ArtsFest, a celebration of creativity, dance, music, costumes and storytelling.
After putting such traditions on hold last year due to COVID restrictions, and united under the theme Y2K and the noughties, our students’ sheer enthusiasm and high standards of performance shone, and we congratulate all involved. The campus was transformed as the costume-clad students arrived for a culminating day of creative expression and celebration of the Arts!
While ArtsFest was underway across the school, in the Year 6 Centre, our students were deep in serious discussion about how best to make progress on the adaptive challenges facing our world. This was our first primary school foray into Model UN and our students learned so much.
As part of our new partnership with UN Youth we staged the annual national conference at IGS just a few short weekends ago, where student delegates from around Sydney, including 10 from IGS, came together to discuss the global impact of COVID-19, mental health initiatives, climate change and the environment, First Nations people, and human rights.
With the knowledge that schools for 168 million children worldwide have been closed for a year, we have seen a growing sense of appreciation of our many privileges at IGS, and a greater sense of purpose in all we do.
Our 2021 commitment to beautiful work has also seen our students focus on personal achievement with astounding results, while our new Chatterbox, Spotlight and HeadsUp newsletters have helped parents and carers reinforce at home the messages we are teaching at school. We hope you’re enjoying this weekly message from key staff who work most closely with your children.
The impressive Much Ado About Nothing performance in our new Drama theatre and our extraordinary win in the All Suburbs Independent School Sport Association (ASISSA) Swimming Carnival reminded us all of what can be achieved with targeted preparation, extraordinary effort and teamwork.
In the same way as our IGS values of connectedness, vibrancy, authenticity, diversity and personal achievement helped us to step up during the threat of COVID last year, this year, I see these values in action in so many worthwhile ways.
Our community’s generous response to the call for toiletries for women’s refuge Lou’s Place and our Clean Up Australia Day action and sustainable schools accolades remind us that a valuable education is about learning every day and being part of a vibrant learning community.
Adaptability, flexibility, creativity, deep thinking, the ability to work with others and to speak persuasively – on topics including consent and justice – these are the qualities that will stand our students in good stead in a changing world. My encouragement of students this term to exercise moral courage, to be kind and supportive bystanders and to speak out when something is wrong, has seen students looking out for one another with a renewed sense of agency, compassion and care.
The arrival of Pepper Pots our new Therapy Dog last week was a particular highlight as students from preschool to Year 12 and staff as well, fell in love with this sweet gentle dog. At the end of the day, she didn’t want to leave and we didn’t want to say goodbye. We look forward to Pepper Pots and Lucca, our beautiful golden retriever joining us each week next term as our students embrace these special new members of our school community.
I’m thrilled that our students are so excited about the Principal’s Reading Challenge, through which students have already begun to read a diverse range of texts and are being encouraged to do so over the break and until the end of August. It’s been lovely to hear from our students about the different books they have read and the various places these books transported them to.
As we move to the end of the term, I thank our school community for the care and consideration you have shown for each other, and for your many contributions.
May you and your children enjoy a wonderful, well-earned holiday. My colleagues and I are looking forward to Term 2, when we all return, refreshed and ready to go, with the joy of Matilda the Musical, IGS style, on our near horizon.
We also look forward to engaging with you for the 100 Parent Conversation next term as we work together to forge a new strategic plan for our School for 2022 to 2026.
Together, I know that we can achieve so much!