So much has been written about the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous current global circumstances that you would be forgiven for becoming a little numb to the impact of this new reality. Yet, our students have shown repeatedly throughout 2020 that they have the capacity to adapt and be agile to the ever-shifting carpet under their feet. It feels as though they are operating in a new augmented reality; it is unlikely that those who contemplated back in 2015 where they would be in 5 years, could ever have imagined this would be our new reality!
Nowhere has this been truer than for our Year 12 students. In the past fortnight we have had the opportunity as staff, along with Stage 6 students, to celebrate the incredible achievements of our creative and performing arts HSC students. Whilst it was with a heavy heart that we came to accept that our annual Soirée event must take on a new form of presentation that precluded parents on site to celebrate the work of their young-adult children, and evening dresses and mocktails were replaced with uniforms and packed lunches, it was perhaps one of the most attentive Soirée events I have witnessed over the past seven showcases. The student audience was completely captivated by the talent and willing vulnerability of their peers as we listened to the inspiration for visual arts works, musical compositions and drama performances.
Whilst the world outside continued to grapple with a pandemic, we immersed ourselves in appreciation for the commitment of students to create incredible major works for their HSC. The projects were adapted and modified repeatedly throughout the year for some students as NESA repeatedly changed the requirements in response to COVID-19, whilst others were forced to completely re-shape their initial projects. The final result, as parents will come to appreciate as they enjoy the recorded program at home, showcased the resilience of our students and their commitment to excellence, despite unprecedented challenges set before them.
As we all continue to adapt to the changing status of our broader community, our students have continued to flourish; educational leader, Professor John Hattie of Melbourne University, recently reflected in his podcast for the Education Review (Aug 11, 2020) that he predicts Year 12 students will actually perform better in their final exams this year, especially in NSW and Victoria, as the nature of teaching and learning has changed this year to create more independent learners and students have become much more efficient in their approach to studies.
We have reflected deeply as a staff team on where is God in all of this mess? We gain comfort from knowing that He continues to carry us in these times of great uncertainty. As Paul writes to the people of Philippi, as he anticipated his execution, having been imprisoned for preaching the gospel of Christ : “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. It is this same strength of conviction that our students are encouraged to maintain their focus and commitment to excellence as they forge ahead to complete their HSC studies for 2020.
Director of Teaching & Learning