A Message from the Principal

This newsletter, I would like to focus on the Carey Student attributes. More specifically, the first of the attributes, which is:

Build understanding and think creatively

On the subject of building understanding, I would first like to say what it is not. It is not just information, facts and figures; that is knowledge. Building understanding does not stop with gathering knowledge, it is also not just a good exam mark. I am passionate about seeing William Carey as a school in which our teachers and students focus on learning for understanding, in all activities. This involves a series of steps:

1)  Acquisition of skills and knowledge
2)  Making meaning of the information to make sense and links between the concepts
3)  Transferring this meaning to new contexts.

Those who build understanding can:

  • Explain
  • Interpret
  • Apply
  • Demonstrate a perspective of the big picture
  • Exercise empathy
  • Understand how to think.

These are the flexible and transferable skills our students need for the 21st Century. They will equip our students to gain employment in a wide variety of changing work places and to continue to learn throughout their lives.

Thinking creatively is another key attribute in which we encourage our students. Thinking creatively is not only required for painting like Banksy, singing like Ed Sheeran, acting like Jennifer Lawrence or writing like J.K. Rowling. It can look like designing a bicycle powered water purification system in order to provide safe drinking water from a polluted source, or like a team of scientists who identified a need and developed the system we now know as Wi-Fi. It also looks like the innovation of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc., and designer of the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Creative thinking has its place anywhere problem solving, design and the arts are involved. Our Science and Engineering Challenge, STEM pilot in Years 7 and 8, our TAS courses and our Creative and Performing Arts programs throughout the school, are challenging and supporting students to think creatively. Please encourage your children to be involved and building these skills at every opportunity at school.

I would like to finish with a story about a 20th Century giant who built understanding and thought creatively to work to overcome a big problem. In 1929, a boy was born at 501 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia and given the name Michael. As Michael grew up, he learnt his English alphabet letters, acquiring the skills of reading, spelling and writing.

During his school career Michael expressed that he did not trust God nor did he believe that He was real. As he grew Michael, would have made meaning of the power of words, as he completed his own studies and listened to his father, a Baptist preacher. He would have made connections between the words on a page and connected them to significant ideas, particularly the injustice he experienced and saw around him.

By the age of 17, his final year at High School, Michael now went by the name Martin. In his older teens, Martin turned around and not only did he profess that God was real, but that he trusted his life to Christ and would follow him. Martin went to university, completed these studies and also became a Baptist minister. Martin then transferred the meaning he had made of world; of what was right and wrong, to the civil rights movement in the US through the 1950s and 1960s.

We now know ‘Michael’ by the name Martin Luther King Junior.

Not only did Martin Luther King Jr. build understanding of the power of his words, he used them to fight for equality for African Americans in creative ways. He used his words to oppose those who wanted to achieve social change through violence. Martin Luther King Jr. understood the danger of using violence to force reform. This understanding likely saved the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans.

Despite his commitment to non-violence, ironically, 50 years ago Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed. While he died at the age of just 39, our world will not forget the understanding he built and the creative ways he thought to use the power of the spoken and written word, to bring change for the good.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jnr.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding – Proverbs 2:6 (NIV)

In His service,

Keith McMullen