Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther….
Some of the boys in Year 9 and 10 were aghast earlier in the term when I informed them that Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ was the finest novel I had ever read. I probably shared their perspective that is was all a bit too much at the same age, but it is a text I keep coming back to, often to the final lines. The opening lines of this article, when quoted in isolation, provide an excellent model of the need to consistently improve, whether in our individual studies, endeavours or indeed as organisations. We must always strive to be better tomorrow than we are today.
One thing I have tried to focus on in my first term at Berwick Grammar has been to look critically at our offerings with fresh eyes to find ways of improvement. This is not to suggest that what is occurring daily at our school is not already in good shape, but as a leader of a learning community I think it is essential to evaluate how we can do things better, metaphorically finding a way to run faster and reach further for the benefit of the young people in our care. I really enjoyed the opportunity to speak at a community forum earlier in the term on the topic of ‘Growing Good Men.’ In this presentation I talked about the need to focus on the boys we teach today with an emphasis on the men they will become tomorrow. This is both a privilege but a responsibility to ensure each boy in our care is educated not only to pass examinations but to also confront the challenges of life with confidence.
There is so much to like about our school. It is a place, I firmly believe where boys of all ages and abilities can thrive and flourish. I was reminded of this at our House Music Festival and more recently at our School concert. To witness the talent that is within our school, both staff and students, is to be reminded of the great things that can happen when boys and communities share common purpose. I love the fact that it is cool to perform at our school, to make a speech at assembly and to achieve academic excellence. Our boys are open, friendly and willing to work to achieve their own brand of excellence.
Our teachers are passionate and committed. Care for the boys is central to their professional lives. I have been impressed by their willingness to support boys and families struggling with the challenges of busy lives. There is a gentleness and laconic ease to our students. They are comfortable in their own skins and appear to enjoy the strengths of the community they engage with. I am energised by what I have learnt over the course of this term and look forward to a strong finish to the week and the year.
Dr Steven Middleton