Dear College families,
Thank you to our families who were able to attend our annual Night of Celebration held at the Brisbane City Hall on Monday 5 November 2018. We gathered in the wonderful historic building with its warm and inviting ambience to celebrate the year’s achievements of our students and staff. We also thank everyone who played a role in making this evening a huge success and, in particular, our students in Performing Arts who presented wonderful musical items throughout the program.
St John’s is a learning community that celebrates when its values have been upheld and its expectations have been met, because we know that acknowledging success is one of the important elements in the ideal learning environment in which children thrive and prosper.
A particular highlight of the year has been the launch the official record of the first twenty five years of the establishment of this community; Forest Lake College now St John’s Anglican College. I encourage you to purchase your copy of Living Forest if you have not yet done so. It contains a list of all students enrolled during the 25 years, so at the very least it will provide family memorabilia. But more importantly, it’s a great tale, of human endeavour in the pursuit of establishing a Christian, values-based learning community, committed to providing an excellent education for students of families who have joined us because they share those values. I wholeheartedly thank all who generously assisted esteemed historian, Mr James Mason OAM, to research and write the History Book ‘Living Forest’ which has become central to the celebration of 25 Years of College growth and development. Your contribution is highly valued.
St John’s students are blessed to be educated, in a school where teachers care deeply about them and where pastoral care is second to none. In fact, students who thought the grass might be greener elsewhere, have told us on their return to St John’s, that they are desperate to experience the St John’s way again, where the teachers respect them, care about them and are prepared to walk the educational journey with them. They say its “cool to do well at St John’s” and they did not know that this was unique until they went somewhere else.
St John’s students are also blessed to be educated in an Anglican school. This is so, because Anglican Schools are welcoming and inclusive schools, that value the pursuit of knowledge and intellectual endeavour, develop a young person’s character and teach them always to be mindful of the needs of others. More convincing however, is the fact that in drilling down into the International PISA test for 15-year-old students in English, Maths and Science conducted annually by the OECD; you will see Australian Anglican Schools right there among the top five highest performing sector in the world, alongside the astounding and world-renowned results for students in Singapore, and Shanghai.
Not only are students national and international tertiary pathways enhanced through these experiences; but also, their life chances are strengthened because they attended an Anglican School.
There is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers. Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools. Thank you to community members who nominated four of our teachers for Excellence in Teaching Awards this year. Congratulations to Joanne Turner, Laurie Wilson, Sharon McHugo and Glenn Johnson. A large number have undertaken significant training using IB Webinars, MOOC’s from Harvard University on Visible Thinking, and the new Qld Certificate of Education for example. It’s been a busy year for adult learning at St John’s.
The great educator, Sir Ken Robinson, reminds educators in every generation that we should think of Education as a Garden, not a hot house, as it’s the gardener’s role to create optimum conditions for flowers to grow. He says nobody can make anybody else learn anything, any more than you can make flowers grow; the flower grows itself. Our job is to provide the optimum conditions for it to do that, to allow itself to grow itself.
St John’s has created the optimum conditions for each child’s growth to prepare them to take the lead in the fast-paced global future that awaits them. Educating children requires us to create a safe school environment, one where people care about one another and where it’s safe for learners to be creative, connected and engaged.
We need to provide many and varied learning opportunities in a balanced program for the whole person so that they may be challenged and engaged to develop their confidence, life skills and character.
We also need to provide a community where everyone is learning; an adaptive, innovative and continuously learning school where the principal, the teachers and the students are all thinking creatively and critically, communicating and collaborating, fostering character development and citizenship, and willingly serving one another at every opportunity.
The idea of the school as a community is an enduring one where children grow up with the values espoused by the community, learning to create new communities throughout their lives modelled on these experiences.
At St John’s that’s who we are and what we do. We educate children in the best possible learning environment, expecting the best, providing support to achieve the best and nurturing character and resilience throughout the journey. St John’s graduates are remarkable young people ready to shape and influence the organisations of the future. They are intelligent, well educated in their field, strong in character, resilient, compassionate, always giving their best, and ready to put their hand up – not out.
Every year, I look forward to presenting the 2018 St John’s Award to the students who demonstrate these values and character traits, at the conclusion of the Night of Celebration. It was my great pleasure to congratulate and present the St John’s Award Winners this year to Gayathri Menon and Harrison Smith.