Posted on August 10, 2017
A guest introduction from Mr Adam Kenny, Head of Boys’ Junior School and Boys’ Education.
In a recent Boys’ Junior School Assembly, we listened to the powerful language and themes associated with a number of AFL Club theme songs. The Tigers “…we’re a fighting fury… In any weather you will see us with a grin, Risking head and skin, if we’re behind then never mind, We’ll fight and fight and win….we’re strong and we’re bold….” Is an excellent example of the power of positive language; having a sense of self talk and a positive mindset can lead to successful outcomes through self-confidence and a leading attitude.
Mahatma Ghandi said “Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” Factis Non Verbis (plus!)
I have the great pleasure and privilege of working with our students from Prep through to Year 12, specifically in my role as Leadership Co-ordinator. My weekly, Thursday lunchtime meetings with our Year 12 Leadership team (School Captains and Leaders) is an absolute highlight of my week; these young adults are selfless, creative, passionate and inspiring. But leadership spreads far and wide at Tintern Grammar.
A group of our Middle School girls have volunteered to participate in The Smith Family’s Student2Student program. This program was piloted by our school back in 2001, and is now a nationwide program that pairs older readers with a younger ‘buddy’, from a disadvantaged household, experiencing learning difficulties. Three times a week, from now until December, our girls make contact with their buddy, and read with them and/or hear them read. The commitment, responsibility and confidence that such a task involves is large, and challenges arise, but our girls have displayed maturity and leadership well beyond their years as they guide their buddies through the reading of books. I offer my thanks and congratulations to Camila Franco, Leah Stuchbery, Annabelle Guscott, Elise Dunkley, Hannah Murray, Alana Lawson, Sarah Thompson, Jessica Hobson, Phoebe Young, Kaitlyn Oldaker and Laura Mitcham for their outstanding efforts in this very important program.
Louise Smith, our Secondary School Vice Captain, has initiated and organised a program, Big Brother Big Sister, that has seen 24 of our Year 12 students ‘mentoring’ and guiding our Year 7 boys and girls throughout Terms 2 and 3. Louise led training of the BBBSs prior to the program and then structured a program that has had a most positive impact.
A wander through and around our Middle Schools on Tuesday afternoons will see groups of 3 or 4 Year 7 girls or boys sitting and chatting with their ‘Big Brother/Sister’. Louise and her peers have designed a sequential program that tackles topics such as Use of Social Media, Resilience, Staying Positive and “Dealing with Homework’. Whilst there is always much laughter and chat amongst the groups, the significance and influence of having peer role models, especially Year 12s, spending concentrated time with their Year 7 ‘Little Brothers/Sisters’, is profound.
Louise has not only led what has been a valuable and enjoyable program (33 out of the 99 participants surveyed after the program said “It was the best part of school”, whilst another 62 stated “It was great fun”) but has now established a working Committee of herself and four of her Year 12 peers (Josh Anandaraj, Jamie O’Hare, Mackenzie Smead and Meg Swain) to plan and implement the Big Brother Big Sister program for 2018. Words becoming actions, and outstanding leadership.
Head down to our Early Learning Centre on a Wednesday afternoon, and our ‘least experienced’ learners will be sitting, rolling, playing, climbing, hugging, reading with, running to and from and being active and innocent and as fun as only small children can be, with their Year 5 Buddies. All of our Year 5 girls and boys participate in the Buddy Program that sees them, like the Year 12 Buddies, role modelling, developing leadership skills and building relationships that are incredibly special to all of those involved. The most recent session saw the ELCs and their buddies working together to plant seeds….regardless of the activity, the session always ends with hugs and smiles as each person eagerly awaits the time in the school yard and in class when they will re-connect.
While playing at the ‘train park’ in Bayswater, Mackenzie Hanna, in Year 2, thought that “…something needed to be done about all of the Graffiti there.” Contact was made with the local Council, his class discussed the problem, and words became action. The Year 2 class, armed with Graffiti cleaner, will be heading to the park for what is a valuable and rewarding community service act.
We continue to reflect and build upon the formal and informal leadership roles and opportunities available at Tintern Grammar. We ‘parallel’ leadership processes and roles in our Junior and Middle schools while next week, Mr Brad Fry, our Principal, will be meeting with our Year 12s to gain further feedback from them re our leadership process at the top end of Tintern Grammar.
As in any organisation, those with formal positions of leadership in the minority, but importantly at Tintern, the opportunities to lead, to be a role model, and for your positive thoughts to become your words to become your actions to become your destiny are many.
Leadership is about Factis non Verbis, or simply, A title doesn’t make you a leader any more than standing in a garage doesn’t make you a car.