Author: Mrs Janelle Anderson, Principal
This message was written by Mrs Anderson and shared on her behalf at each of the Senior Badging Ceremonies (held in House Groups) by members of the College Plenary Team.
As we enter this 20th Anniversary year, we are able to reflect on the vision and inspiration needed for a brave and daunting challenge, such as building a school. We are excited that God has sustained us as an ongoing community for the duration of the planning and the 20 years of wonderful development, growth and living and thriving in this Faith Life Education Community. As a reflection on all that we have become, we have chosen under the guidance of our Year 12 Senior leaders, the following verse from Colossians for our theme this year.
Colossians 2:7 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.
We are here today to badge our Year 12 Graduating Class of 2019. As they embark on their final year which is a culmination of all they have completed, participated in, performed and executed, we see them at their pinnacle in this school setting – they are to be our inspiration and motivation to be more and achieve more. But drawing on our bible verse and our College imagery of the tree, which inspires our fruits of faith and therefore our responsibilities within this community, we gain a further clarity from the Colossians verse.
Trees and plants get their nutrition through the root system. The roots also keep a plant or tree upright. Colossians 2:6-7 teaches us to let our roots grow down into Christ Jesus and to build our lives in him. Just like the tree, what we feed on makes us who we are. If a tree is planted in the right kind of soil, it will grow properly and live a long life. If the soil becomes contaminated, the tree is likely to become poorly or die. When some trees become flooded because of a swamp, they die. If a tree thrives in acid soil, but you pile lime on the ground over its roots, the tree may die. Also, a mature tree may die if you raise the level of the soil over its roots. Just as a good horticulturist will provide the right kind of soil and nutrition for the plants and trees in his care, our Heavenly Father has provided what we need to thrive under his care. God, our Creator knows us through and through. He knows what makes us work and what will give us fulfilling lives.
Just as God encourages us, we ask each Faith community member and in particular our Year 12 leaders, to encourage others to grow. The term transformational leadership underpins what we do, but it cannot happen if we each don’t take our responsibilities for the role in which we are placed. Whether that is being a student, a player, a team member, coach, teacher, friend, sibling or child, all intertwine for the best outcomes. This style of leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality." (Bass, 1978, page 20).
Our encouragement to each Year 12 student is to fulfil their responsibilities as our seniors in the following ways:
1) Model the way
This is the simplest, but most effective thing you can do. Represent yourself as a role model for others, living out the expectations of the College in a way that makes you and others proud. For this to have an impact and for you to have credibility, you must do this with integrity. Be true to your words, and your actions must reflect what you say. Having good relationships grows from this character trait and you can then have expectations that others will walk alongside you to plan and achieve the goals we desire for the College.
2) Inspire a shared vision
Ensure you have discussed with your peers, staff, and students the ideas and goals you have. Whether it is a formal role or your responsibilities in Care Group, teams, classes or working in class partnerships - being able to verbally share and be active in demonstrating strategies to achieve the vision is vital. You need to be an inspiration to others and this will require each of you to show positivity to promote participation through both your and others creativity and commitment. Set goals for yourself and provide targets for others. Always looking forward and promote the best outcomes for those you lead.
3) Challenge the process
We should all strive to embrace achieving the agreed outcomes, but the methodology to succeed can be new. It is okay to challenge or question how and why things have been done in a particular way; change is inevitable. Know your purpose, seek others’ perspectives and plan. Remember change for changes sake is not always needed, but it is okay to sometimes test the unknown.
4) Enable others to Act
In all you do, don’t underestimate utilising others skills and knowledge. Allow their ideas and their contributions to flourish, as this will strengthen the trust needed for success. Be aware - “We become most powerful (or influential) when we give our own power away.” For this to be believed you have to build a climate of trust and facilitate relationships.
The building of trust is an organisational quality. Once trust exists it becomes the norm that sets the standard for how teachers behave toward each other and their students. (For you this is also for how you relate to other students). Once part of the culture of the school, trust works “to liberate people to be their best, to give others their best, and to take risks: All of these behaviours help schools to become better places for students”(Sergiovanni, 2005, page 90).
This will mean you may need to show others different ways to engage, build up their skills and their competencies. This will grow both their and your confidence. Remember though too much delegation can make you look lazy and lacking in motivation.
5) Encourage the heart.
In all you do, you want to inspire a desire in others to participate and engage. This can only happen when you capture their interest. Create links to something they believe so they will put their heart into the idea, event or activity. What happens after the engagement is vital - celebrating successes and participation as well as acknowledging their contributions builds spirit and belonging. Recognition is something we all desire and this is why we are here today. As we ask you Year 12’s to pledge your commitment to these leadership responsibilities for this year, we also ask each of you, the students in front of us to also know that their success is based on your support and allegiance to the goals and plans for 2019 that they will share and ask of you.
In all we do, may we know that God will be there to guide us and for us to remember he has made plans for us. So when we inevitably lose course sometimes, let’s go back to our foundations in Christ. Be grateful for the community and the gifts we receive and have the patience to find the path God has called for each of us.
Dear Lord, grow our love for you so we will trust in You when we can’t see the path ahead clearly. Help us to trust in You, more than we trust in our own abilities. Help us not to say yes when no is the right answer. Help us balance our time to be most effective and to accomplish Your will more than the will of others.
Never allow our plans to get ahead of – or in the place of – Your plan. Remind us frequently that Your way is best and we will always be most successful when we wait for You. Allow us to forgive easily, hold no grudges or bitterness, and live in and extend to others the grace You have provided to us. Never let us get so proud or arrogant that we forget we need Your hand upon our lives. Provide us with courage and conviction to face our fears and critics and lead people to bigger realities of Your will.
Grant us wisdom to make decisions big and small and to have the conviction to follow You when it contradicts our desires or the demands of others. Give us discernment and surround us with wise people who follow You and can speak into our lives. Help us guard our heart, overcome temptation, and keep our character and reputation above reproach. Build around us people who believe in us, know us, and are willing to speak hard truths into our lives.
Give us patience with people, the pace of progress, and with things we can’t understand. Assure us continually that Your plan is always worth waiting for and will be better than anything we can produce on our own. Help us communicate with clarity, consistency, and competence. Guard our tongue and keep us from reckless words. Make us an encourager and a builder of people with the things we say.
Help us to love each other and use our influence for the good of others. Allow us to see our life’s mission as bigger than today. Help us to leave a legacy, which brings glory to You.
In Jesus name, Amen.