Grammar stops for no one, and Term 4 has been an action packed three weeks.
At last night’s opening of the TCE Art Show, I used the term “charrette,” literally meaning ‘cart’ and used in the mid-19th century Paris by the École des Beaux Arts School. The term was used to describe the final, intense work effort expended by art students to meet a deadline. Representatives of the school would literally go out into the streets with a cart to collect final drawings and artwork while students frantically put the finishing touches on their work. It was an opportunity for aspiring artists to perhaps have their works recognised by the Art Masters or Art Houses of the day, looking for their ‘lucky break’ and an opportunity for the Art world to better understand emerging trends and styles. The Grade 10-12 student works belied the title of the show, “Undiscovered Underrated.” An impressive show, and I encourage the community to take the opportunity to visit Poimena Gallery over the next two weeks, as this is our final exhibition of the year. Thank you to Paul Snell and the Art team (arguably the best in the State) and parents (also arguably the best 😊) for your support of our graduating artists.
The visual arts are thriving at Grammar, and the Junior School Mini Arts Pop-Up Event held this week had parents and friends of our Kinder – Grade 2 students visit Faulkner Hall, which was transformed into an amazing gallery space, and the Art House, which was brimming with student works. Students have been inquiring into, ‘What is an artist?’ and presented their findings in an interactive and fun program of events. Congratulations to all involved under the leadership of Martine Cook, who has brought to our Junior Campus a vibrant Arts program that permeates through campus life, bringing great enjoyment and engagement to all students.
Taking the metaphor of charrette further, the ‘cart’ of Grammar has been bursting with a collection of experiences and opportunities for our students and their families. Last week was a wonderful celebration of our Grade 12 students and their families. Yes, there were the usual shenanigans of the leaving Class, but those will be fleeting references in years to come. What will linger is the final Chapel and Farewell Assembly and the opportunity it was to pause and reflect on 13 years of schooling. It was a day of great joy and pride, as reflected in the various readings and speaker contributions. Nick Foster gave an uplifting reflection on Chapel on the power of love – now more than ever we must lean into this vulnerability to make the world a better place. Mark Webster, the student-nominated staff speaker, regaled us with memorable moments of individuals and of the cohort but tempered it with sage advice. The students, whilst sentimental, were excited to celebrate the reaching of this milestone.
Last week we also had the pleasure to host Tasmanian Anglican Bishop Richard Condie to meet with students and staff. The day commenced with a prayer service for those impacted by conflict around the world. It was a thoughtful and inspiring way to start the day. We know we may not be able to directly change the nature of conflict, but what we can do is spread the power of love and friendship, offering the idea that through our actions with others, we can show the world to be a place of hope and unity. Bishop Richard spent time with our students in the Chapel and offered the opportunity for students to better understand the life of Jesus and the impact of the Bible and its insights in the shaping of Western culture. If we are to understand Western civilisation and how Christianity has shaped its development, it starts with an open inquiry into one if not the most studied person in history – Jesus. He also enjoyed lunch with our Grade 8 students and faced the big questions with relish! The visit concluded with a Board meeting, and Bishop Richard reflected on the great things Grammar is doing to reflect our Anglican ethos and how wonderful our students are – inquisitive, involved, and thoughtful learners.
The Grade 7 camp to Maria Island was a wonderful experience for the 78 students, 11 staff, and 16 parent volunteers. Celebrating 60 years was punctuated by great weather, the inspiration of nature that only Maria can provide, and an accident resulting in an unexpected helicopter evacuation (please note the student involved is fine and at home with a couple of sore spots but in good spirits!). I arrived to see our students fully immersed in hiking and engaging with the natural world. Their commitment to the team, courage to challenge themselves, and personal growth was easy to see and celebrate. I left with an even greater appreciation of our outdoor program and a personal undertaking that we must always seek to maintain and develop our commitment to the experiential learning programs on offer. There are many skills we believe we can deliver in a classroom, but the practical application of them in the wilderness is a must if we are to be authentic in our undertaking to deliver education that prepares students for life success.
Today, I visited Fred French Aged Care Facility where some of our Grade 10 English students were celebrating with residents the completion of their personal writing project. This project involved students working in teams to put together a brief biographical history of one of the many amazing people who call Fred French home. There are several great outcomes of the process, and Mr. Ellison notes that one of which is the provision of a digital record of life achievements and experiences for families to share. Grade 10 Fletcher S. observed that “the more you ask, the more you know!” An essential key to lifelong learning.
I also enjoyed watching our students compete at the Junior Northern Schools Athletics Carnival. Grammar has been in the mix all day. When speaking with Grammar athletes, I ask two questions: Did you give your best effort? Did you have fun doing it? A positive attitude and personal best will always be the winner on the day. While there, it was wonderful to witness Annabelle E. lead from start to finish in the 100m and Prince W. jump his way to success in both the high jump and long jump competitions. I look forward to celebrating all students at assembly and wish those who have made the State Championships all the best.
On a personal note, this week I have attended two important events. The first was the AI in Education conference where educators from around the country came together to share and learn from each other and industry experts. Digital transformation is one of our strategic objectives for the next 5 years, and artificial intelligence will be a significant area of learning and development. We have completed some solid groundwork in readiness for a staff-wide professional learning programme in this space from 2024.
Chair of the Board, Nigel Bailey, and I attended the State Parliamentary Prayer breakfast as guests of Bishop Richard. It was a great opportunity to come together and share our hopes and prayers for the future of the state. The guest speaker was the Tasmanian Australian of the Year 2023, John Kamara. John escaped war-torn Sierra Leone 19 years ago and started a new life in Tasmania in 2004. He now does all he can to assist migrants, refugees, and people from culturally diverse communities. A great human who embodies the values that we live by in our School, and I have invited him to Grammar next year as I know he will inspire us to be better.
I hear it is the opening of the crayfish season, and squid season is well underway, so I am sure there will be some spectacular seafood feasts around the island this long weekend.