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Celebrating Academic Award Winners

Why is Celebrating Success Important?

This load of bubbles is my granddaughter; aged 9 months. To her doting parents and grandparents, she is a success every minute of the day. Yes, even when she is filling her nappy after a week of constipation. She gets applauded for her bodily motions along with countless baby gestures and tricks.

She gets applauded for practically everything she does in a day; her every achievement; like teaching herself to laugh, playing with tags on her toys, even for eating ice cream – a human trait that is surely genetic not learned! Having never seen caramel ice cream in a waffle cone before, she brilliantly fell into the tongue licking pose. Charles Darwin take a bow. Babies know how to cope with ice cream from birth. In our families view, babies do better with clapping, if not loud boisterous applause. The short video clip below ‘Applauding Mira’ illustrates that grandmothers can give 100% applause even if the teaching exercise was only 10% successful. But who cares? She is one of us and we are so proud to be on her team.

I have a great Year 11 Maths B class. They all passed their Semester 1 exams even though at times their knowledge and skill in Maths could be described as fragile. Clapping their every success could be very noisy as they invariably have their successes at different moments in the lesson. A glimmer of understanding, a spark of wisdom, followed by a deluge of confusion as we turn to the next page and the process of learning a new concept is repeated. The lessons might need to go an extra 10 minutes to allow for sufficient clapping time! The difference in years between the baby and the teenager does not diminish the sense that while they are in our class and our school, they are one of us and we are proud to be on their team for a few hours a week.

Recently, at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, in the swim meet, the TV commentators were in the middle of their pre-race discussion and the quote emerged ‘this is a fast pool!’ Then the follow-up question, ‘What do you mean by a fast pool?’ Surely not one that, as in the ABC’s Olympic Games satire by Clark and Dawe, was accidentally built three metres short! The technology of wet deck sides and the anti-wave lane ropes are significant no doubt but there is something else. As coach Don Talbot once said, ‘… if the swimmers are ready, they will swim fast in molasses if they had to”.’ Finally, the TV commentators’ discussion centred on the view that it is a fast pool because of the records that had been set in the first few days of the Commonwealth Games. The benchmarks were set high and everyone seemed to swim above their best as the tone and standard had been lifted.

The above examples emphasise that celebrating success is important for both the grandparent and the child, the teacher and the student and the coach and the athlete. Celebrating our Academic award winners not only acknowledges students’ successes it also sets the benchmark for the next semester.

Applauding Mira

Our celebration of excellence genuinely recognises our students’ hard work and dedication. We do not usually give out participation certificates as these often have a hollow sense. What we do, is look for and reward excellent achievements in learning, service, leadership, music and sport for the individual recipient and also for the whole school community so that ‘the fast pool’ culture is built upon each and every week of the semester.

Congratulations to the students who acheived excellence in learning in Semester 1.

Greg Quinn
Assistant Dean of Learning