From the Principal

Year 12, here you are, near the end of 13 years of school education – effectively 75% of your life. For 46 of you,  William Carey has been the only school you have known. This is a considerable milestone – not just for you, but also for your parents.

And now you are heading out, away from school.

I asked my Year 7 pastoral care boys for some wisdom. Their advice to you is this:

  • Keep up the good role modelling
  • Get a job
  • Eat your vegies
  • Plan to live independent of your parents.

One of them wanted Year 12 to know this from the Bible:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:2-8

It is when a person is under the pressures of life that their true character becomes apparent. So how do you feel you measure up when it counts? How do you determine your value?

Measurement is such a big part of school of school life. There are NAPLAN exams, topic tests, assessments and semester exams. This concept of measurement can cause so much stress and anxiety – do these measures really reflect who we are, and our value?

Consider the number 68.65.

This is the median ATAR for 2016. It describes the halfway point between the highest and lowest ranked students across Australia.

Four digits, but what does that actually say about you? It’s important, at least for a while, but it really doesn’t say anything much about you. What’s more, not everyone needs an ATAR and for good reasons.

What about a mark? In English 90% indicates that a student can:

  • Demonstrate extensive, detailed knowledge, insightful understanding and sophisticated evaluation of the ways meanings are shaped and changed by context, medium of production and the influences that produce different responses to texts.

Again this is unsatisfactory as it says nothing about who you are, really only what you can do.

A good ATAR or a strong HSC result is useful but it is not a measure of your value.

I have been working this year with a number of teachers to develop a list of student characteristics that would serve the school as a measure of what we value in our students.

We want our students to develop as life long learners who:

  • Think creatively and build knowledge
  • Collaborate and communicate clearly
  • Show respect and compassion
  • Serve and lead for the benefit of others
  • Make wise and courageous choices.

These are phrases can express more about who you are but they still fall short of expressing your value and how you measure up.

So let’s think bigger.

What does god actually think of you? How do you measure up in his eyes?

The Bible has a lot to say about what God sees in you.

  • Firstly, you are valuable – So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
  • You are created in His image and in that, there is an intrinsic value, you were created to reflect his character and represent him on earth – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
    Psalm 139:14

Have you ever considered you are wonderfully made? God thinks you are.

And yet, you are not what you were meant to be:

  • The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good,

not even one. Psalm 14:2-3

While we are made in God’s image it is a damaged and distorted image. The Bible states that we are all in a state of broken relationship with God, whether we actively reject him or passively overlook him, our nature is to do things our own way and attempt to measure our own goodness by our own varying standards.

But by God’s standards we fall short and there is nothing we can do to measure up. That is a big problem.

However, God has provided a solution. God is a very effective problem solver. You can be restored and made new.

  • But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sin, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved Ephesians 2:4-5
  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come... 2 Corinthians 5:17

Those who trust their lives to Jesus Christ are made alive with Christ. Those who trust in Christ find their value and their identity in him. Jesus measures up as perfect. And his death and resurrection removes sin, restores those who are broken, to their true value. Those who trust in Christ also receive his perfect measurement in God’s eyes.

Thus Year 12, my final message to you is this. While the ATAR, HSC results and positive student qualities all have a right and proper place and importance;

  • do not find your value in 4 digits
  • do not find your value in a mark and a student descriptor
  • do not find your value in a collection of desirable personal characteristics, a series of life experiences, a positive social media profile or friendship group – all of which are good in themselves but still do not measure up.

Instead;

  • place your trust in Christ
  • find your value in Christ,
  • for God’s view of you is the only thing of eternal value and thus it is of immediate and utmost importance

It is my hope and prayer that when God assesses you, you will receive Christ’s measurement.

I wish you God’s blessing in your upcoming exams and the for you and your families in the years ahead.  I wish you all the best Year 12.

 

Mr Keith McMullen

Principal