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Leadership With a Common Touch

I often get asked what do we mean when we talk about Leadership being one of our three pillars at ATC and what do I mean when I say that we believe that all students are called to lead and all students have a capacity to lead.

When thinking about this I recalled an article that I shared in a newsletter a couple of years ago and I thought that it was a good reflection that helped explain our call to students to leadership. In schools we often talk to students about servant leadership and in particular at ATC we try and ask all students to understand that they are all called to leadership. Quite often, students see leadership as a right with limited responsibilities. Often leaders have titles, significant duties, and often bask in the limelight. But again, those are all means to an end. They are trappings that simply point to the expectations we have of them, that mark them out for service.

In this article Father Ron Jones SJ shares his insight that our present Pope Francis is keen on using the image of the shepherd when he talks about leadership. “Not like a proverbial (Queen Street) farmer, who owns tens of thousands of sheep, has managers to mind them, occasionally viewing them through the tinted windows of an air-conditioned Range Rover, but who wouldn’t really know a dagging from a drenching. No. He is talking about a middle-eastern shepherd who lives with the little mob night and day, guarding and guiding them. A shepherd who, as the Pope says, ‘lives with the smell of his sheep’ ”. He goes on to say that this is why being Shepherds also means being ready to walk amidst the flock: capable of hearing the silent story of those who suffer, and of sustaining the steps of those who are afraid of not making it; careful to lift up, to reassure, and to inspire hope.

For our students this is the leadership we are calling them to. Leadership with a common touch. Sleeves-rolled-up leadership. Servant leadership. And that is the leadership we want. The kind of leader we strive to form. As a Jesuit, Pope Francis well understands that dictum of Ignatius: “love is expressed more in deeds than in words”. As one American commentator has recently put it: “[Pope Francis] understands the power of vivid images and decisive actions and symbols. When he shuns the lavish privileges of his high office, when he washes the feet of a Muslim woman, when he embraces a man who inhabits the lonely exile of hideous disfigurement, when he undoes bureaucracies that serve entrenched interests, he calls to mind words that are attributed to his legendary namesake, St. Francis of Assisi: ‘Preach the gospel at all times … and, if necessary, use words.’ “

Leadership is an important concept for students to understand, it is something that will stand with them for the rest of their lives. Once it is understood the rewards of ‘leading’ are boundless; not in any tangible way but it is felt in the emotions that come from knowing you have made a difference. I see this in our students on most occasions. I ask our students not to change anything they do or to think that we expect something dramatic from them – we simply ask them to be themselves and to look for ways in which they can serve others in leadership. Leadership is a simple calling that can have powerful ramifications – one quote on leadership that I know speaks a lot to me is “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Orientation Days for 2017 (Date Claimer)
An important element of building community is to welcome and prepare new members of our community for their journey ahead I would ask parents to please note the following dates that will see us welcome and prepare new students for their entry into the College next year:
Thursday September 8 Orientation Day for new ATC students and families to Year 4, 5 and 6 in 2017

Friday September 9 Orientation Day for new Year 7, 8 9 and 10 ATC students and families in 2017

Monday October 17 Welcome to ATC Classrooms for all year 4 & 7 ATC students in 2017 (this includes all continuing Year 6 students and students new to ATC next year)

Thursday October 20 Students and Parents Formation evening for all Year 7 2017 students and parents (including continuing Year 6 students and new students next year)

Parents and Friends
The P & F at ATC play an important role in our community. While they contribute appreciated funds to the College we see the P & F as an integral element to our desire to build a welcoming and inclusive community at the College. We have always been fortunate to have a number of generous parents who have found tine to commit to the P & F and ensure its ongoing support. Next month the P & F AGM will be held on Tuesday September 6 in the Mt Sion staffroom commencing at 6.30pm. I would like you to consider joining our P & F and take on a role to help build our community.

Prayers
I would ask you all to keep Tom Van Gilst (Year 8L) Oliver and Elliott Hewitt (Year 9N an Year 7L )Sue Booth (Year 5 School Officer) and their families in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of Tom’s maternal Grandfather, Oliver and Elliott’s Grandmother and Sue’s Father. We hope the journey in the upcoming weeks can be gentle as they grieve and celebrate the gifts that their loved ones brought to their lives. May eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon them, may they rest in peace Amen. I would also ask you to please keep Kevin Daly (Jack Daly’s Grandfather) in your thoughts and prayers as he battles ongoing health problems.

With best wishes
Michael Senior