This week saw the whole school community gather to celebrate Founders’ Day and the naming of The Wendy Ashley-Cooper Performing Arts Centre. We joyfully listened to a wonderful music concert and picnicked on the lawn during lunch. Our celebrations continued, welcoming Bishop Cameron Venables, Bishop for the Western Region to lead us in worship. We heard again the story of the vision of Benjamin Glennie and his legacy which has grown into the Glennie of today. Ms Tonia Gloudemans delivered the Founder’s Day speech and inspired all of us to position ourselves within the faith, tradition and excellence of Glennie’s past, present and future. Her speech is reproduced below and I encourage all in the community to reflect on her words.
It was wonderful to welcome back to Glennie Mrs Wendy Ashley-Cooper, Head of School from 2001 - 2016. She was both humbled and honoured to see her name added to the fabric of our school and reflected on the important values of Glennie and especially the way music inspires and moves us.
Bishop Cameron concluded our service by singing a traditional Irish blessing which had many of us close to tears in its simplicity of words and stirring melody. In these troubling and uncertain times, it is good to be reminded that God journeys with us.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Amen.
The Rev’d Sharon Mitchell
Founder’s Day Speech 2020 by Ms Tonia Gloudemans
Today we are celebrating Founder’s Day at Glennie. For me – for us all – it is arguably the most important day in the School’s calendar: a day when we pause to reflect on the School’s past, on those that have helped to shape who we are, and to acknowledge members of the School community, both past and present, who have influenced the character and values that embody this vibrant, engaging and welcoming school we see today.
Our tradition foundation is a product of the personalities and visions of Glennie’s spiritual architect, Archdeacon Benjamin Glennie, and long-standing past principals – Grace Lawrance, Margaret Brown, Gwen Dowson, Kathleen Simmons, Mike Norris and Wendy Ashley-Cooper. All were accepting, optimistic, gentle, generous and focussed. All of them valued, as the heart and soul of a Glennie education - friendships and camaraderie, cheerfulness, compassion and respect for each other, goodness and good-heartedness, lack of pretension, a willingness to try anything and a spirit of adventure.
Our values, which underpin and guide us and describe how we interact and behave, are a product of our Faith origin story. We are a Christian school founded in the Anglican tradition, which seeks to enact the legacy of Archdeacon Benjamin Glennie. This legacy is reflected in our School Reading and Prayer, which guides our community to live the way of Christ – with love, compassion, forgiveness, kindness and gentleness.
Third, our reason for being – is excellence - to provide outstanding learning experiences that challenge, build confidence, develop character and support connections. Excellence is about you finding success across any field when you graduate, equipped with a strong sense of your own worth, character and citizenship, and a belief that you can do anything.
These three foundations – faith, tradition and excellence – are our foundation story. They stand together like beacons on a landscape, carefully guiding the direction of the School.
However, legacy is not something that is attached to a position, a generation, time served, or something recognised when one retires. Instead, legacy is the moments shared, the decisions made, the actions taken by – not one – but many people within a school. How we are with one another – how we speak to each other, how we treat each other, how we support each other – profoundly affects not only our lives but also the lives of future Glennie girls. This is a legacy. Founder’s Day, therefore, is a moment to consider the contribution that all of us are making to the legacy of the school – a foundation that will be enjoyed by the Glennie girls of the future.
Founder’s Day is about continuing the legacy of these three foundations - faith, tradition and excellence – by taking visible and obvious pride in our school and its origin story, and leading by example with the love, compassion, forgiveness, kindness and gentleness that built and sustained this school since its foundation in 1908. Thus Founder’s Day is not just about the past. It is also about the present as well as the future. It is a whole school celebration, where we take the opportunity to be together, to do things together, and to remember that, together, we are an important, vibrant, welcoming and supportive community. We need this occasion in the year to remind us that we do not work or live or play in isolation. We do it together – this the real and long-lasting legacy of Founder’s Day.