I was fortunate to visit Sri Lanka in the last break. As mentioned, I wanted to understand better those parts of our community that come from this extraordinary place. It was an unforgettable experience where I had an opportunity to engage with some Sri Lankan families in an unexpected and delightful way. This all happened through that most curious of games: Cricket. Without going into too much detail, discussions about the pros and cons of 20:20 matches compared to 5-day tests resulted in a spontaneous catch up with a friend of a friend of a friend. This person then took us on a tour of key cricket clubs and suddenly we were in the office of one of the Vice Presidents of Sri Lankan Cricket Mr K. Mathivanan. I spoke at some length about the Sri Lankan community in Berwick and surrounds, and indeed invited him to come and see our beautiful school when next in Melbourne. Those that know me will know that cricket has not been my natural space, though I confess I have returned with a great affection for the sport as a social and cultural mechanism to build relationships and community. It also made visible to me the importance and benefits of being curious and open minded. These two attributes reference the IB PYP learner profile as well as the emerging school values: CURIOSITY to know and learn through exercising COURAGE: To do the right thing, CHARACTER to be one’s best self and RESPECT: To live wisely and compassionately with others and the planet. Naturally, I also experienced train rides, flora and fauna, museums, temples, rock palaces and temples, music, art and food. I felt very lucky indeed. Point I am making – is that by sharing hopes, fears, ideas and humour as well as being open to new experiences i.e. by SHARING OUR STORIES, we not only learnt more about what defines us (i.e. our identity), but it also led to us getting back so much more than we gave.
These experiences were also timely with regards to finishing the first full draft of the School Strategic Plan. While sitting on a mountaintop I worked on the key drivers for our school over the next 5 years. This location cleared the head and permitted creativity and imagination to infuse the process of structuring the plan to reflect the extensive consultation that has occurred thus far. It also enabled the perspective to look at the ‘big picture’ of why we are doing what we do, reinforcing the firm belief I have in the direction the school is heading.
I am so proud of us. Proud of those students, parents and staff that challenged the thinking and required the review of ideas expressed in earlier drafts of the values and Strategic Plan. We are one of few schools to start with values and base all else on these values. We also need to remember that virtues are ‘values in action’ and we need to ‘translate’ the values into virtues. The full draft will be circulated soon to the Strategic Plan Review Group for further comment. As always, I invite people who believe they still have something to contribute to come forward.
Virtute et Labore Strive to be the best self, now and in the future, for all humanity and the planet.
Ms Annette Rome