It is the end of another year and as usual we find ourselves doing two things - we reflect on the year that has been and we close our eyes and project forward to what may lie ahead for us.
It is hard to reflect on a year without our thoughts getting caught on those things that stand out - be they highlights or low points. The trouble when we do this is we summarise our year in a few events rather than as the culmination of a continuous effort to move forward and be better in everything we do.
In schools we usually come away from our year with something from the students that really stands out for us. For me this year was no exception.
Last week we had the Middle School Red and White concert where students performed for their classmates and teachers in a variety of acts. There was an amazing display of talent and seeing our students get on stage and do their best for each other is always wonderful to see. There was one act however that had a real impact on me and I think everyone else in the audience. One of our Grade 8 students performed a stand up comedy routine, which in itself was a brave thing to do. However the impact was amplified by the fact that his act was focussed on himself and how he is different to others and how this affects his life, his conversations and his relationships with others. He spoke openly and honestly and shared things about himself that gave us an understanding of how it feels for him to be different, and all the while he used comedy to deliver his message. It was a brave thing to do, very funny and the standing ovation he received from his classmates at the end of it was heartfelt and extremely gratifying. It proved he was indeed in a safe place, that our students genuinely care for each other, and that everyone here has a place.
I am not one for New Year's resolutions, as they are usually broken or forgotten by the end of the first week. However it is important to look ahead and hopefully build on what we have learnt from the year before. For the past 12 months we have been going through an inclusive process of review around our mission statement in an effort to develop something that says more about who we are as a school and as a community, something with impact that is easier to recall, and something that will give us the opportunity to tell our story, as it is a great story to tell. So, with input from teachers, students, parents and Board members, we have distilled our thoughts to just three words: "Live Learn Lead", and this will be our mission statement moving forward. We still have some work ahead of us before we are ready to formally introduce this, but I am very excited to have the chance to talk with more people about this and share the stories we have in the new year ahead.
In the meantime, I wish you all the very best for the holiday season and I hope the New Year brings much love and laughter to you all. And for those families who are leaving YIS for new assignments or to return home, thank you for being part of our community and we hope you will stay in touch.
Head of School