24 November 2017
Yesterday we celebrated the end of the Year of Possibility and acknowledged student achievement in its very different forms during The Glennie School Junior Years and Middle and Senior Years Speech Days and Prize-giving Celebrations. Below I have shared parts of my presentation for those who could not be there.
Start by doing what is necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible (St Francis of Assisi).
This quote has inspired me (and often kept me going) during this, the year of Possibility. At the start of each term I have reshared this quote with all staff members, hoping that they might be similarly motivated.
I have been delighted to see the community embrace the theme that Wendy Ashley-Cooper and I chose over a year ago. It is hard to embrace change especially when a new person takes over the helm after fifteen years. I thank all of you who have done just that this year. Instead of pining for the old, and focusing on ‘how we’ve always done it’ – you embraced the Year of Possibility and the new Principal, done what is necessary, then what’s possible and finally we are ‘negotiating the impossible’. Be that in the classroom, on the sports fields, in staff rooms, in the kitchen and in the boarding house, Junior Years and Middle and Senior Years. I thank you - but this is only the Beginning!
During Term 2 and 3 as a staff we have been working hard on the creation of the School’s new Strategic Plan. We relied on input from parents and students and have created our living document.
First we determined the four underpinning core values of all that we do here; the values that determine how we live our lives at Glennie and go about our day to day activities.
These values are - Respect , Integrity , Compassion and Courage .
- Integrity: We are truthful and sincere.
- Respect: We respect ourselves and treat others with courtesy, dignity and positive regard.
- Compassion: We treat each other as we wish to be treated ourselves.
- Courage: We continue to strive to improve as individuals and we remain positive and resilient, despite adversity or challenge.
Once these values were determined and agreed upon we decided on the five Pillars of our core business at Glennie and came up with:
- Empowered Girls
- Enriched Learning
- Passionate Staff
- Connected Community
- Sustainable Operations
There is of course more detail under each of these Pillars and this will be available from next week on the school’s website.
I have decided to continue the tradition the Mrs Ashley-Cooper started, where the Principal determines the theme for the year and how to name it. She called the theme, The Year of . . . for example, The Year of Possibility. From the very first time I heard the Glennie tag line – “All She Can Be”, I fell in love with it because of its complexity, and at the same time simplicity. So going forward the annual themes will focus around this tag-line, from now on we will refer to the theme of the year as ‘Being’. In other words Be Courageous, Be Inspiring, Be Active etc.
And our theme for 2018 is Be Like a Girl.
What does it mean to Be Like a Girl? It will mean different things to different people. But in this day and age it certainly should only have positive connotations. To me Be Like a Girl means:
- Be feminine yet strong
- Be compassionate yet firm
- Be nurturing yet challenging
- Be gracious yet competitive
- Be thoughtful yet ambitious
- Be respectful yet respected
- Be helpful yet independent
It means - Be all you can be!
I expect that it means very different things to each of you, but I certainly hope your list does not include - be subservient, be submissive, be content with less than you deserve.
We’ve come a long way in the past few decades, but girls, it is now up to you to take it the next step and empower yourselves to step forward and run, throw, study, lead, achieve like a girl.
Being empowered does not mean be like a man and that is why I like this theme. So often people, men and women, believe that to get ahead, to be successful you need to be like a man. When I say ‘like a man’, that is the conventional idea of men - authoritarian, hard, uncompassionate. We all know that is not what being a man is about - but I will leave that for the Principal’s of Boys’ Schools to delve into.
We need men and women, girls and boys, working together, on an equal playing field in order for society and our culture to move forward positively. There is no ‘better’ gender. There are just different genders.
Emma Watson (Hermione to many of you) said, “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong”
In my speech at the Year 12 Graduation, I referred to strong women in the bible who epitomise different values. I would like to refer again to two women in particular – Lydia and Phoebe. According to Joan Chittister, both of these women behaved like girls in the true sense of the word – they were strong and independent, trustworthy and did good by others. These characteristics are not the sole preserve of girls – but they certainly have them in truckloads. Lydia opened a whole new way of thinking about the world, she was a business woman who negotiated with those who made clothes for kings. She had influence. Lydia did what she set out to do.
Phoebe was also an independent woman, but certainly not self-centred. To her, friendship to all obligated her to the good of the other but at the same time did not deny the obligation to fullness of self.
So Glennie girls of 2018 and Seniors of 2017 I encourage you to stand up for yourselves and others. Do not shy away from a challenge or opportunity because you believe you cannot do it. Instead of having the mantra I can’t do it (I never want to hear that) rather add an important word to your vocabulary, ‘yet’; rather say, ‘I can’t do it yet’.
This week we sadly farewell a number of staff members from Glennie and wish them well with their future endeavours:
Teachers leaving us at the end of their contracts are:
- Mrs Victoria Macdonald
- Mrs Debbie Leis
- Ms Katelyn Hannah
- Mr Richard Jessop
- Mrs Kristen Sessarago
- Mrs Liza Barnes
- Mr Wally Richards
- Mrs Kelly Dyson
- Ms Stephenie Fox
- Mr Peter Klein
Teachers who have been teaching with us for some years and are heading off to pursue further career options are:
- Mrs Kerryn Chapman is leaving after 11 years providing dedicated learning support to Glennie girls to commence her own business assisting children requiring extra support.
- Miss Lauren Potter is leaving after many years of building the Junior Years sports program. Miss Potter has worked with every Junior Years girl and has had a positive impact on their lives.
- Mrs Sue Fuss has worked at Glennie for over 20 years, teaching in all year levels from Prep to Year 6. All Junior Years girl will miss Mrs Fuss.
- Mrs Shaz Willmington who has been on leave this year has decided to conclude her part-time role in Year 3. We thank her for her support and care over the years.
- Mrs Amber Vendramin has been a passionate supporter of the students in Learning Support during her time here. Her friendly smile and engaging demeanour brightened up the day for many girls.
- Mrs Caroline McLean leaves us to take up a position at Mt Alvernia in Brisbane. The love and dedication that she has brought to her role as English teacher and Head of Middle Years English will be missed by all.
- Mrs Jennifer McPhie is currently on leave and during her time away made the decision not to return to Glennie and has resigned with effect 31 December. Ms McPhie has been at Glennie for four years and during this time has been a passionate teacher of Science.
- After almost 22 years Reverend Kate Powell has said her last goodbye. Miss Powell has had a profound effect on most who have crossed her path during this time. One of her lasting legacies will be the amazing Ribbon day which she initiated.
- Mrs Anthea Rowe has been familiar face in the Glennie Junior Years Tuck Shop for some years now and she has made sure that girls have healthy and well balanced options to choose from. The Junior Years girls will miss her.
Mrs Tracey Patrick has worked at Glennie for almost ten years. She first joined us as Administrative Assistant in the Performing Arts Centre. For the past few years she has been the face of the Middle and Senior Years Office as the Academic Administration guru. She will be missed.
Director of Operations Mr John Devine is taking up a new role in Tasmania as State Manager of AICD. We thank him for his dedicated service to The Glennie School over the past two years.
As a staff we will be saying our farewells formally today to our departing colleagues, but in this forum I would like to express my thanks and wish you all well in your new ventures.
To all our Glennie families, may God bless and keep you until we meet again in a couple of month’s time. Best wishes for a blessed and joyous Christmas.
We thank you Lord, for this year. For the challenges, the successes and the mistakes from which we have learnt.
Be with us as we spend our time with family and friends.
Guide us to be peacemakers, and to always be conscious of you in our lives.
Keep us safe in all that we do; give us good rest and good fun.
Bring us back refreshed and ready for a new term.
Mrs Kim Cohen