From the Principal
Last Friday, we celebrated a significant milestone in the growth of our College – acknowledging our 20th birthday and Foundation Day.
To mark the occasion, all students from Kindergarten to Year 12 and all staff collected together in St John’s Cathedral for a special service celebrating our community. It was with great pride that I looked out over 1100 wonderful TSAC community members, and I was delighted, as ever, with the ways the students presented themselves with pride and conducted themselves with distinction. I did, in fact, receive numerous compliments from members of the public and Cathedral staff on just what wonderful ambassadors for the College the students were.
Upon returning to the College in the afternoon, we engaged in many fun activities to mark the day, including Zumba dance classes, sports activities and fun on inflatables.
It was a lovely, joyous and memorable day, befitting a birthday celebration.
20 years ago, our school was 1 building, 11 students and 6 staff. Today, it is 31 buildings, 1000 students and 150 staff. Our growth has been remarkable and exciting, and the College has very much come to maturity.
In my address to the community in the Cathedral I commented on the ways in which it is people that make places, not buildings. That we have gone from 1 building to 31 is a sign of our development, but nearly as much as the growth of the people who ‘live’ here.
Buildings, since the beginning of civilisation, have been made to accommodate people – from the first dwellings in caves and rudimentary shelters, primitive man sought out and built places which would provide protection from the elements. As the sophistication of our race developed, so did the buildings we created – and buildings to meet certain needs became the norm: churches for prayer, medical facilities for health care, pubs, hotels and restaurants, theatres and sporting arenas for recreation.
There are very few buildings in fact that serve a purpose when they don’t have people in them. Cathedrals and churches do, to a point – designed with great grandeur to inspire awe for those that look upon them from miles around. Castles similarly but for a different reason, designed as they are to sit atop hills and inspire fear in those who may wish to infiltrate them. But these examples are in the minority – buildings are made to have people in them.
In my view there is no building quite as depressing and pointless when it is empty as a school. In my job, I am often in the office late at night or on Sundays and I can assure you that empty, a school can be a strange and eerie place.
A school comes to life as its people return, and as I said to the community on Friday, I get no greater pleasure in my week that greeting staff and students as they arrive for the school day because it is then that I can watch with my own eyes as the College comes to life. When the students enter the gates, as they have now done for two decades, the empty buildings wake up, and the pleasures and energies of laughter, learning and potential fill the rooms once more.
In my address, I also made special mention of the staff – so vital in creating the positive and vibrant culture we all enjoy. In 2007, a United Kingdom government commissioned report into what makes a good school, the McKinsey Report, stated that ‘the quality of a school cannot exceed the quality of its staff’, a notion that I agree with absolutely. We are very lucky to have the capable and dedicated staff that we do, and I again here offer my thanks to them for all of the enormous work they have contributed to developing our College from its infancy 20 years ago, to maturity today.
As is tradition on Foundation day, we also took an opportunity to mark significant work anniversaries for staff, and I offer my thanks and congratulations to the following people:
5 Years of Service
10 Years of Service
15 Years of Service
For the first time, we were also very proud to recognise the incredible contribution of two staff members, who celebrated an incredible 20 Years of Service at the College:
My great thanks to these staff, and all of the staff, for the incredible ways in which they have been shaping young people’s lives in Springfield for the last 20 years.