Principal’s Message – Trinity Day 2019
Date: June 17, 2019 Posted by: Sue Wicks
For those who missed the Trinity Day message from Principal Paul Sjogren about the importance of the three pillars of the Anglican ethos in schools – Faith, Vocation and Service. Also interesting for those who are as intrigued by the mathematics surrounding the number “36” as Paul is.
Archdeacon Christopher Wright, special guests, members of the School Board, Parents, Staff, students and friends,
Welcome to our Trinity Day celebrations. It is a special day – our school’s birthday. In fact it is our 36th birthday. That makes TAS reasonably young in school years. But it has packed so much into these years.
36 – some facts
36 is both the square of 6 and a triangular number [1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8], making it a square triangular number. It is the only triangular number other than 1 whose square root is also a triangular number [1+2+3].
36 is the sum of the cubes of the first three integers [13+23+33], and the product of the squares of the first three integers [12 x 22 x 32].
It truly is a very exciting number. But I digress.
Over these 36 years, there have been many people who have been fundamental to the growth and development of TAS into the school it is today.
In the early days, people like Ben and Naomi Wilson, Bishop John Lewis, Bishop (then Archdeacon) Tung Yep, Jeff Pezzutti, Wayne and Ros Bishop and many others were driving forces in establishing an independent school in Cairns, allowing families to not have to send their children south to boarding school to receive a highly sought Anglican education.
So why is it important that TAS continues to provide a high-standard education based on Christian values to the people of Cairns? Surveys show that discerning parents look for schools that align with their personal and family values. Anglican schools are known for their distinct culture. They are different to other faith-based schools – less large and doctrine-based than the Catholic system (although some Anglican schools, like in the Sydney diocese, are more similar to the Catholic system than most Anglican schools), less scripture based than many of the smaller independent schools.
All Anglican schools are built upon the 3 pillars of the Anglican ethos in schools:
Promoting faith in Jesus Christ among students, staff and families. Offering opportunity for students, staff and family to worship God and experience Christian community in the Anglican way.
Translated: Understand the beliefs, messages and context of religion in the history of humanity and how it has shaped the world
Educating students to value themselves and each other as gifted parts of God’s creation with a vocation to explore, understand, nurture and serve that creation. Helping students to develop their God given gifts, talents and opportunities to live out that vocation.
Translated: Do your best in everything you can and be grateful that you have the opportunity to do so
Enabling students to develop skills and values to live in peace and harmony, seeking justice for all with a priority for the poor, powerless and persecuted and marginalised.
Translated: Do the right thing by others, be a good person, and live a meaningful life based on Christian values
According to Michael Fullan (2007) school culture can be defined as the guiding beliefs and values evident in the way a school operates. ‘School culture’ can be used to encompass all the attitudes, expected behaviours and values that impact how the school operates. TAS strives to be a caring culture where students are supported and encouraged to aim for their personal best. It is based on Christian values found within the Anglican faith; of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, service, honesty, responsibility, integrity, and respect.
Our students achieve amazingly well in so many different fields, so the calibre of our students and families and the strength of our culture are paramount to our student successes. But we need to be clear. This doesn’t mean that all members of the TAS community always meet the standards and expectations that define who we are. No organisation is perfect, no person infallible. We all fall down occasionally. But what matters most is that if we do, we get back up, and we recommit to being a better person. Those around us, the members of our community, should be there to support us and ensure that we do. If we continue to strive to do this, the TAS culture will continue to grow stronger and more inclusive, and make us all better for it.
It is a challenging time for regional independent schools. There are plenty of stories in the media regarding increased cost-of-living, flat wage growth, and stagnant workplace participation rates. The government is currently changing the funding model which will inevitably lead to reduced financial support for independent schools. In this current environment we also see the role of Christianity in society being downplayed. But the moral and ethical framework that Anglicanism proscribes, it could be argued, is even more important in these current conditions. We must have our graduates, as future leaders in many areas of the wider community, to be leaders possessing wisdom, compassion, responsibility, integrity, respect, tolerance and fairness – values around which we build our TAS culture.
We know TAS is an important part of the education landscape in Cairns. But TAS actually has a wider sphere of influence.
- In the last couple of years I have spoken a number of times with Federal MP, Andrew Laming, who chairs the Standing Committee on Education and Training. They have become more interested in what we do at TAS as they dig deeper into the data on Year 12 outcomes and student growth in learning between Year 9 and Year 12 (TAS scores very highly in this metric).
- We hosted Dan Tehan, the Federal Minister for Education, earlier this year who was keen to visit TAS and gain some feedback from our staff and invited guests regarding successful strategies in regional school education.
- On Friday TAS hosted a delegation of principals from some of the most exclusive schools in Queensland – Somerset College, St Margaret’s Anglican, Clayfield College, St Aidan’s Anglican, Somerville House, Hillbrook, Canon Hill and a number of others – all interested in what we do here at TAS.
We should recognise our reputation is known and valued by schools down south and our graduates are welcomed by universities, residential colleges and employers.
Our school provides those families that align with the TAS beliefs and values with an opportunity for their children to receive an excellent education, academically, personally and spiritually. Our leadership, staff, parents and all members of the TAS community continue to work as hard as we possibly can to ensure the success of TAS into the future so that our graduates, the reason we are here, leave us possessing the skills, knowledge, persistence and resilience to grow, develop and succeed in whatever they put their mind to.
Happy Birthday TAS.