Thank you to the College Board and Executive colleagues who have enabled this sabbatical leave to be taken. I especially acknowledge Deputy Principal Rob Donaldson. During my time as Executive Principal, I have been blessed to have Rob at my side as we have navigated the progress of College together. To have Rob so effectively step into my role within the school is a credit to him in every way and reflects both his loyalty to me and to College, and his experience and ability.
The opportunity to travel, catch up with family overseas, and visit schools, when combined with a period to be physically away from the 24/7 nature of my work, has been appreciated.
During this period, Annie and I have taken the opportunity to spend a week in Brisbane visiting our daughter and granddaughters, a week in Perth visiting my brother and godson, and a week in Sydney visiting our son. Fortunately, these localities have allowed visits aligned with high-quality schools. They being: Brisbane Grammar School, St Paul’s School (Brisbane), Christ Church Grammar School, and Scots College (Perth) and The Scots College and The Sydney Church of England Grammar School – Shore School in Sydney. My focus during these school visits was to consider programmes in the development of entrepreneurship and any new innovations in programmes and facilities.
The travel component of this leave had two elements outside Australia:
10 days in Egypt – Cairo/Aswan/Luxor
A classic trip to this country focusing on its ancient past.
17 days on a study tour of Palestine/Israel/Jordan
Coordinated by retired principal Chris Faisandier (Kincoppal-Rose Bay), purposefully for leaders of Christian, faith-inspired schools, this tour was balanced in intent, covering the ‘Holy Land’ and the beauty of Petra/Jordan juxtaposed against the reality of the modern Israeli State and all that that entails, especially as it relates to the plight of Palestinians living in the occupied territories.
Travel should always prompt personal reflection of time and place and this has certainly been the case over the past month or so. One cannot but be moved by the pyramids and the temples at Luxor or imagining the presence of Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Galilee or in the Garden of Gethsemane. We spent our final three days in Jerusalem, one of which coincided with the celebration of the 75th year since the creation of the modern State of Israel and a visit to the Holocaust memorial. Since we had previously walked the streets of Hebron, where the harsh reality of those 75 years for Palestinians was an overt and confronting consideration of history, truth and reality punctuated this experience.
Use of power, both modern and ancient, is what resonated from this visit, along with the complexities of religion and state in our current times.
Consequently, compelling from a professional perspective, is the need for College to continue to use its networks and capacity to encourage as many students and staff as possible to travel/exchange into different jurisdictions away from the small and parochial reality of Christchurch. Key organisations are AHISA in the Australasian context and the IBSC and Round Square at an international level. As the world becomes seemingly more polarised, we need to encourage connection in every way possible. Global competence as a graduate disposition, and professional curiosity and growth can be enhanced by travel of any type.
That game again
Today we have the traditional rugby fixture between Christ’s College and Christchurch Boys’ High School, hosted this year at Boys’ High. As always, I trust that this event brings out the best of our character, on and off the field, both from our school and our wider community, and I encourage all involved to be cognisant of the messages they send and the example they set for the future.Read on