2019 Principal's Speech Night Address
Principal's Address, 2019 Pulteney Celebrates
Chair of the Board of Governors, Mr Allen Candy, Members of the Board of Governors, Trustees of the Pulteney Foundation, distinguished guests including representatives of the Pulteney Old Scholars Association and the Parents and Friends Association, members of staff and the Executive, parents, grandparents, and especially students of Pulteney Grammar School, it gives me great pleasure to address you this evening at this wonderful event that provides a summation of the year that has been, the many achievements, and opportunities, the impact our students, staff and families have had on our community; the many acts of service and the learning and growth of all of our students from Early Learning to Year 12.
This year we have wholeheartedly celebrated the 20th anniversary of coeducation in the modern era at Pulteney. It has been an incredible year, my sixth and final one as Pulteney’s Principal, and I am proud of the achievements of so many in our school community and I give thanks to all who make it happen.
Schools are busy, vibrant places. There is much to be achieved in what is essentially 38 weeks; just under 200 days. What we are able to do in those days is nothing short of miraculous!
To be truly transformative, schools must develop and implement a holistic framework to educate the hearts, heads and hands of our students. While it is imperative that we support the development of basic literacy and numeracy skills, more than ever before, it is in the area of developing our students’ transferable skills that they can apply to all situations that schools such as ours must invest our energy. Digital skills, communication and presentation skills, an entrepreneurial mindset, critical and creative thinking – absolutely. It is also in the area of character education that I believe Pulteney has made excellent progress. Curiosity, adaptability, empathy, a commitment to service and social, emotional and cultural awareness. I see these embodied in the students being presented this evening and each and every day at school.
These skills are not just about workforce readiness. These skills are about thriving.
I have been reading, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post. It is a passionate call to arms, looking to redefine what it means to be successful in today's world.
She likens the world’s drive for money and power to two legs of a three-legged stool. It may hold us up temporarily, but sooner or later we're going to topple over. We need a third leg – a Third Metric for defining success – in order to live a healthy, productive, and meaningful life. Huffington urges us to ask of ourselves: “not ‘What do I want to do?’”…but rather… “‘What kind of life do I want to have?’” I would extend this a step further to “What service will I render to others?”.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Future of Education and Skills 2030 Project have formulated a “Learning Compass” - an evolving learning framework that sets out an aspirational vision for the future of education. Naturally, it has a focus on the concept of student agency and also on wellbeing – but not just that of the individual – it highlights the importance of collective wellbeing.
How do our students exercise their sense of purpose and responsibility while learning to influence the people, events and circumstances around them for the better? You just need to look at the work of the Student Action Teams in Kurrajong or witness the many acts of service, conservation, cultural engagement, advocacy and giving that our students from age 3 to 18 do each and every day. Look at our House pastoral system – where our students learn the meaning of team, camaraderie and benefit from a strong sense of belonging. And speaking of the Houses, I extend my hearty congratulations to Cawthorne-Nicholls for winning the Rungie Cup this year and ending the 12-year reign of Moore Sunter. Naturally, Mr John Taylor is thrilled with this outcome!
One of the great privileges of my role as Principal is to award a School Blue. This award is not necessarily presented every year. In fact, this is only the fourth time in my 6 years as Principal that I have the pleasure of doing so. The School Blue is reserved for outstanding achievement and contribution to the School.
- must be of exceptional character;
- must be academically very strong;
- must have demonstrated outstanding qualities of leadership and loyalty;
- must have been involved in many areas of school life and achieved distinction in a number of these.
They should have used their talents to have enhanced the reputation and standing of the School.
We have one such recipient this year. I ask them to come and stand next to me on stage to accept their award. Would you please welcome: Charlotte Moseley
Charlotte is a true all-rounder. She is dedicated, hard working and aims for her personal best in all that she does. She is also truly empathetic, thoughtful and selfless – I and many others have seen these qualities in action throughout her 5 years at Pulteney Grammar.
Charlotte has earned the respect of her peers because she goes out of her way to understand and care for each person with whom she interacts.
Charlotte has achieved academic merit awards in every assessment period since Year 7 whilst involving herself in all that the School has to offer – six School Productions, three different sports, at least eight music ensembles and multiple music competitions, three years competing in the United Nations Youth Evatt Competition, debating, drama, Student wellbeing committee. Charlotte has also held positions as Middle School Prefect and this year as Co-Captain of the School.
Her efforts have earned her multiple citizenship and subject prizes and now this accolade, a School Blue - thoroughly deserved.
What I admire most about Charlotte is her generosity of spirit, her inclusive approach and her genuine care for others. Charlotte is an extraordinary role model to our entire school community.
Please join with me in congratulating Charlotte.
I take this opportunity this evening to give thanks to all who have contributed to our School community: The Pulteney Old Scholars Association, the Parents and Friends, the Friends of the Performing Arts - thank you for your efforts throughout the year. Our community is built on respectful relationships that include all and promote the greater good. We must never lose sight of the positive impacts we can make in partnership to welcome, encourage and celebrate everyone’s value in our School. To the Foundation, for the work you will continue to undertake to enhance the education experiences and opportunities through scholarship funding and capital fund raising, thank you. I express gratitude for the Board of Governors, past and present, on behalf of our school community and echo the thanks previously provided by Board Chair, Mr Allen Candy. Thank you for volunteering your time, expertise and insights throughout this year.
Year 12 – some special words of encouragement for you, our newest Old Scholars. In your valedictory service some 5 weeks ago, I reminded you of the importance of not judging yourself through the eyes, or opinions, of others. You may recall I shared with you a famous quotation by Eleanor Roosevelt: “no-one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. During your lifetime you will come across those who may try to bring you down. And they may try very hard. There are those that will attempt to control you, to exert their will, who will persistently discount your opinions. In Thrive, Arianna Huffington has some advice for exactly these moments. Imagine you are on a train journey and you can control who rides with you on that train. She states:
“The people we invite on the train are those with whom we are prepared to be vulnerable and real, with whom there is no room for masks and games. They strengthen us when we falter and remind us of the journey’s purpose when we become distracted by the scenery. And we do the same for them. Never let life’s …flatterers or dissemblers…onto your train. We always get warnings from our heart and our intuition when they appear, but we are often too busy to notice. When you realize they’ve made it on board, make sure you usher them off the train; and as soon as you can, forgive them and forget them. There is nothing more draining than holding grudges.”
Year 12s, just remember, whenever you need a friend or mentor, we are all here if you ever need us. We will happily accompany you on your journey of life. Drop by, keep in touch, connect. We all belong to the Pulteney family.
This evening I also acknowledge the extraordinary leadership provided by our School Captains, Coby Howell and Charlotte Moseley, and Vice Captains Paige Co(w)les and Jake Losasso. A recent article in Harvard Business Review investigated the notion that successful leaders today must possess IQ, EQ and DQ, that is, intellectual and emotional intelligence and also a decency quotient. When embraced, DQ – defined as ‘a focus on doing right by others’ – provides the moral and ethical compass for decision making. Intellect and emotional intelligence are vital, but it is decency that ensures IQ and EQ are used to benefit society, not tear it down. Our school leaders have all this and more. The way in which they have, daily, lived out the values of our School has been an inspiration. I count myself truly fortunate to have had the privilege of working with these outstanding individuals.
As is the custom at this special event, it is my distinct privilege to acknowledge retiring members of staff who have served for significant periods of time. This year, we have one such person who has served Pulteney Grammar School for a total of 41 years. Bill Davis is retiring at the conclusion of this year, after 41 years of incredible service to Pulteney Grammar School.
Bill joined Pulteney in January 1979 as Assistant Teacher in the Preparatory School. In 1980 Bill was made a permanent member of the teaching staff and went on to teach Physical Education, Coordinate Environmental Studies and in 1988 he was appointed Preparatory School Sports Master.
In his letter of resignation, Bill reflected: “how can you be in one spot for so long?” The answer is quite simple, I have worked in a great school, the kids are terrific and the staff I have worked with have been outstanding in so many ways.
Bill is looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren, some well-earned holidays and plenty of golf! And it is lovely that his children Sam and Maddie are with us here this evening. Bill, we wish you every happiness, and we thank you for your significant service to Pulteney. Please join me in thanking Bill for his service.
When people ask me why I do what I do, I always come back to my firmly held belief that education is one of those few occupations through which I can effect the greatest good for the greatest number.
What we do in our wonderful school each day has a positive impact on the futures of the young people in our care and, therefore, bodes well for the future of our world. Our students, our children, are world-changers. And through their dedication, hard work and genuine care, so are our educators. To all of our teachers and staff, a heartfelt thank you. You are wonderful colleagues and brilliant role models and I will miss you.
I thank the members of the School Executive team for an excellent year and for your support and insight throughout my tenure. Greg Atterton, Deputy Principal; Mark Bourchier, Director of Community Relations; Head of one ninety, Nicholas Brice; Malcolm Dolman, Director of Enrolments; Director of Human Resources, previously Sue Porter and now Lorraine Johnston; Head of Kurrajong, Natalie Natsias; Head of Prep, Denise O’Loughlin; Head of Middle School, Paul Ryan; and Garry Whitelock, Business Director.
I also extend my sincere thanks to my Executive Assistant Ruth Barnden and to all the staff in the learning support, student welfare, finance, reception, administration and student services, cocurricular, community relations, eServices, grounds and maintenance teams.
Please join me in expressing thanks for our wonderful staff.
It is often said that teaching is a noble profession. It is also extremely hard, challenging at times and can be thankless. I have to say, I have not felt that at Pulteney. Our students are delightful – they are real, and they show a genuine care and appreciation for all of the staff.
There is an inherent sense of respect and dignity – the decency I was speaking about earlier – in our School’s culture of which I am incredibly proud. It has not happened by accident. We have all been deliberate in the ways we, as individuals, have gone about influencing culture and setting the example for each other. What a privilege it has been to be immersed in that culture for six incredible years. I especially thank my husband Ben and son Josh for their forbearance and support throughout that time – I could not do what I do each day without your unstinting love, care and healthy dose of perspective.
In 2014, I set out to serve the Pulteney community – faithfully, honestly and with all of my capacity. I feel that I have done that to the best of my ability. I hope those gathered here do too.
I close with thanks to all parents and caregivers, for your unwavering and generous support of Pulteney. It is a privilege to work with you all in raising our wonderful children and young women and men. And finally, I extend to all members of our School community my very best wishes for a relaxing, safe and peace-filled Christmas.
Harvard Business Review. (2019). For Leaders, Decency Is Just as Important as Intelligence. [online] Available at: https://hbr.org/2019/07/for-leaders-decency-is-just-as-important-as-intelligence [Accessed 1 Nov. 2019].
Huffington, A. (2015). Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder. New York, US: Baker & Taylor.
OECD.org. (2019). [online] Available at: http://www.oecd.org/education/2030-project/teaching-and-learning/learning/learning-compass-2030/in_brief_Learning_Compass.pdf [Accessed 1 Nov. 2019].