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How can a child’s formal education enable them to have a positive impact on our world? Our planet continues to experience great turbulence: the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world that we exist in presents us and our young people with significant challenges that we need to face: as a nation, as a planet, as human beings.
A student’s journey through school presents the opportunity to fan the flame of the divine spark in each of our children: to enable them to find and tap into their unique passions and interests so that they can shine their light on the world, and learn to be of service to each other and the community, both locally and globally. An education at Friends’, in the tradition of Quaker education and philosophy, provides the opportunity to deepen our understanding and commitment to our values and the Quaker testimonies speak so clearly to what is needed today.
In the world of fast fashion, consumerism and the constant intrusion of technologies, simplicity is needed along with the ability to align internal truth with external appearances, to have integrity. In a world where war is wrought over greed, in order to profit to gain access to resources – actively seeking peace and justice is imperative. We can learn so much from our young people whose perspectives on diversity and inclusion challenge so many of the discriminatory paradigms of the past and who whole-heartedly embrace equality. And as the world continues to heat up and we see the devastating impacts on our environment, we must embrace our personal responsibility to care for the earth, to learn from our first nations people about connection, community and care and to advocate for policy that works to support it.
With these Quaker values at the heart, the culture of the school and its practices and processes is guided by our Purpose and Concerns statement. We are concerned for the academic, cultural, physical, social, emotional and spiritual development of each person in our care. Our Purpose and Concerns focuses on our intention to “help our students develop as people who will think clearly, act with integrity, make decisions for themselves, be strong in service and hold a global perspective.”
Our students have wide ranging opportunities to explore and develop individual passions, with many of our students being recognised for outstanding achievements in many domains of learning including academics, the arts and sports. The long history of students’ success in their endeavours at Friends’ is matched by the rich tradition of Friends’ graduates’ contributions to a thriving and just society.
Walking alongside the Friends’ learning community in leadership provides me with an opportunity to continue in the footsteps of my family: Quakers who served their communities on the path towards peace, justice and equality; and in the footsteps of a wonderful school whose staff and past principals, in their mission, vision and values, have supported the growth and flourishing of generations of young people.
It is a privilege to walk with the Friends’ School community on its journey of providing, in the Quaker tradition, a values-driven, holistic education that empowers young people to develop the best in themselves and each other as it has done for over 135 years. I invite you to share in that journey with us.