[Head of Secondary] Term 4 Week 2 Message

Emotions always run high at our annual valedictory events for Year 12, and it was no exception this year with the Valedictory Assembly on Monday being a stirring farewell to our graduating students. For ten students who began with us in either Reception or Prep, it was the culmination of their entire school education at AISHK. At the other end of the scale, we bid farewell to an unusually high number of students who only joined AISHK within the last year, after their education elsewhere was cut short by the pandemic. AISHK prides itself on being a school that is welcoming and inclusive, and what struck me as the cohort left the auditorium was that no matter how long the students studied here, they were all equally valued and proud members of the AISHK family. Focus for our Year 12 students now turns to their final examinations, with the IB exams commencing on Monday. While I am sure this challenge comes not without some nerves, this group of students has already displayed amazing tenacity and grit just to reach this point, and we wish them all the very best for their exams and the future.

Life beyond school was also on the minds of our Year 10 students this week with their careers education set to be a focal point of the term. On Wednesday, Year 10 participated in a session run by the OWN Academy called the Real World Challenge, a career simulation program designed to allow students meaningful experience of an industry of their choice. The emphasis on considering a broader industry rather than specific jobs reflects the way the world of work continues to evolve. At AISHK, secondary teachers spent professional learning time earlier in the year exploring the importance of general, transferable skills in handling the varied tracks a 21st century career will take, and this will continue to be a focus for us moving forward.

As Year 12 depart, Year 11 become our most senior students in an instant. Earlier this week, Ms Haymes, Mr Murphy, and I spoke with the group about the legacy they hope to create at AISHK, and the importance of high standards, respect and hard work. Ms Haymes shared some specific strategies with the students about wellbeing and how to look after themselves and each other in what will, at times, be a stressful year ahead. In the coming weeks, we will appoint new school captains and prefects, and I look forward to working closely with the new student leaders and seeing their ideas and initiatives come to fruition. A reminder that Year 11 parent-student-teacher conferences are scheduled for Tuesday 26 October, and I look forward to meeting with families then as those students enter their final full year of school. Secondary classes will conclude at 3:00pm that day to allow time for set-up and teacher preparation before the interviews.

It’s hard to believe that we’re already a fortnight into our last term of the year, and life on campus continues to be busy and vibrant. While I have focused this week more on our senior year levels, I look forward to sharing news of the learning and endeavours of our junior secondary students next week.

Peter Phillips | Head of Secondary