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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are”. CS Lewis

“Moral courage is the behavioural expression of authenticity in the face of discomfort, dissension, disapproval or rejection”. S Lopez

Last night I had the privilege of attending Onstage, the performance of exemplary student work from last year’s HSC. Murray Cunynghame, Lily Mann, Serina Nila, Ella Sexton and Frederique van Tulden, Year 12 2019, opened the show. Their piece, Operation Spooky, crackled with wit, physicality and stagecraft. Their generosity and joy on stage was remarkable, in one of the standout performances of the night. My congratulations to them all, and to Mr Owen, on producing work of the highest quality, and on being recognised for it.

I mentioned last week that I have spent time meeting with each Year 12 student. It has been wonderful listening to them to understand the ways we can continue to support them through their most challenging and rewarding year of school. It has also been good for me to get direct feedback about changes, including the move to five learning sessions and the development of the library.

Here’s some of what they had to say on five learning sessions:

  • “I really like the shorter learning sessions, they go quicker, but we get more done because we are more focused”.
  • “I’m getting used to it, I can see its benefits”.
  • “I like it, an hour is better, I can concentrate the whole time”.
  • “Five learning sessions is weird, but I’m getting used to it and it’s proving to be useful”.
  • “I like it, it’s a good change, there’s less distraction and longer breaks, it’s better structured”.
  • “I was initially hungrier at recess, but it feels like we get more done in a day, overall, it’s a good change”.
  • “The lessons feel shorter, but the days feel longer”.
  • “I don’t mind it; the days go quicker”.
  • “I’m actually really enjoying it, it’s more productive, I appreciate it”.
  • “It’s good, you get to see teachers more consistently”.

And my favourite response:

  • “I hate the fact that I like it. I’ve always had the other, for 12 years, but it changes your whole mindset. I need to make the most of it”.

On the library:

  • “Yes, I probably need to start reading more”.
  • “It’s good, I’m using it after school and during study times”.
  • “It’s really good, I’m using it already”.
  • “I’m excited about it”.
  • “People are working harder and working together”.
  • “It’s great, I’m planning on using it before and after school”.
  • “The library feels weird, it’s like a bookstore that’s gone through hard times, a library that’s gone bankrupt, a Scandinavian woodshop”.

Thankfully, regarding the last point, our almost 400 linear metres of shelving is in the process of being filled. Staff are requesting the resources that will enable students to add depth to their research in different disciplines, and staff and students have all been invited to submit suggestions for the collection. Additional cabinetry and display elements for the gallery wall are being installed across the weekend. I look forward to the growth of the library as the intellectual heart of NBCS, a place students want to be, a place where learning is supported, enhanced and sharply in focus.

Tim Watson