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The Beginning of Anything You Want

Artists impression of Xavier and Tipperary Buildings

A good start is always welcomed and from what I have observed, last week was very smooth and settled and most students seem comfortable in their new start to the year level or the new school. The other day I saw a quote that caught my attention. It simply read “This is the beginning, of anything you want.” I think many of us don’t always see life so simply.

Rather we complicate life by overlaying a lot of things with presumptions, suspicions and fears. For all students, this year again marks a new beginning that can be anything that they want it to be.
Last Friday at our academic assembly it was great to be able to recognise and congratulate many students on their academic performance from last year. Students were recognised for their high level of academic achievement, for their strong application to their studies and for their improvement in their academic achievement. The reality I shared with all our students was that every single one of our students has the capacity to be recognised in one or more of these areas. Learning is one of our core pillars. Our pillars – Learning, Leadership and Service are the medium in which we hope to form our students.

One student who was singled out for a special mention last Friday was Jarrod Schutte. Jarod achieved the highest level of improvement in his academic performance from Semester 1 to Semester 2 last year. While congratulating Jarrod on this wonderful achievement I asked him what did he change to achieve this. Expecting him to tell me how much extra time he spent on his homework or how he sought greater feedback from his teachers, I was surprised that Jarrod said the greatest change came simply in his attitude to his work.

Improving his attitude and believing that he could improve if he applied himself enabled Jarrod to do all the little ‘one percenters’ that produced the improvement. The complexity and the beauty of his answer was in its simplicity. How often in life is this true! Attitude is far more important that ability. Success is built around attitude. Here at ATC we often talk to students about personal excellence in their studies. In simple terms, everyone is capable of personal excellence -achieving the best result they can. The key ingredient to this is attitude.

When looking at ways to present ideas to students we will often focus a simple word that is powerful in its potential application. Last year Conor Finn, our Dean of Formation, introduced the notion of ‘upstander’ to our students. Rather than being bystanders in life and watching things happen and unfold before us, we challenge all our students to be upstanders who simply stand up for what we believe in. Most of our students understand what we mean by this term, and a large number of our students are now living this in the choices that they are making. Whilst this is an ongoing challenge we extend to our students the reality is that being an upstander is often countercultural to how our society operates. We want our students to develop into young men who can confidently live out the values that they have and are prepared where necessary to stand up, or stand out if needed, to live out these values.

This year Matt Warr, our Assistant Dean of Formation, has introduced the idea of all our community getting MAD this year. Whilst we can very easily have a thought on the word Mad and question are we going MAD suggesting this, Matt has an important message in this. The M.A.D. we are talking about is Making A Difference. Building on our concept of upstander, this year our intentional language will challenge our students to believe that they can make a difference in the world they encounter by the choices that they make. Much like the story of academic achievement, the key to this is similarly attitude.

This year we will look for opportunities to strengthen this concept by raising awareness in our students that they can make a difference around them and all that is often needed is them being aware that they can do something and secondly being prepared to actually do something. Please be aware at home that if our boys are taking about being M.A.D. it may not be the usual way you have been conditioned to think or react. We are introducing a new meaning to this often-used word. We hope all our community can get M.A.D. at some time this year.

Stage C Building Developments
A second image that I would like to share with you regarding our Stage C building program is a view of the new Tipperary Building. This view looks along the northern face of the building from the top of the drive outside IMCH wilderness garden looking down towards our new Kilkenny buildings. Our architects have certainly developed a great campus feel with this building. The Tipperary Building is two separate buildings that allows vehicle access down to our river frontage between the two. The connection on the eastern end of the building is two stories and features a fly over to the Kilkenny science rooms. The western end of the building is three stories and provides connection to the three storey Xavier building. A four storey lift, nestled between Tipperary and Xavier, allows full access to all levels of these buildings.

Parent Information Evenings
Middle & Senior School – Wednesday 1 February 6.30pm
Junior School – Thursday 2 February 6.30pm
Ambrose Treacy College believes that our staff’s role is to support parents in educating their son. The connection between staff and parents is an important factor in the success of the boys at school. Next week we invite all parents to come in and further develop that relationship with the teachers. The sessions will begin at 18.30 in the NJ Hall for a short introduction and information sharing. On Wednesday parents of Years 7-10 will then meet with their Head of Year to receive specific information for that year level, followed by some time to meet with your son’s homeroom teacher. The Year 4, 5 and 6 parents on Thursday will follow the session in the Hall with time with their Homeroom teacher receiving specific information about your son and his class. I encourage all parents to take this opportunity to receive specific information and to strengthen the relationship with key staff.

With best wishes,
Michael Senior