Friday, 01 Mar 2024

The first half of our term is almost at an end and we can declare the beginning of the year over. We are off to an absolute flyer and we are already seeing great growth and great performance across the College in so very many areas.

As a College, we have committed ourselves to help our students have the highest of expectations of themselves this year. As I’ve written before, what students expect of themselves continues to be one of the biggest predictors of academic success. As an educator, my first job after forming a positive relationship with a young person is help them to expect the very best of themselves.

As Morgan Brookes, Head of Senior School, writes in the next section of Connections, we have been so pleased with the positive impact reducing the use of mobile phones across our College. While we had read the research that suggests that encouraging our students to engage with each other during breaks without phones has a significantly positive impact, it was still a great joy to see it for ourselves.

I was worried about how many young people might be sitting in my office with mobile phone offences… but this has not eventuated. I’ve met with young people who have made appointments to speak with me about their concerns regarding our policy in this area and I’ve had great conversations and debates with them. I dearly love that we have a culture in which students can do this. May it long be so!

Communities are built on relationships and relationships are built on trust. Every young person who has had a robust discussion with me at some stage shared the sentiment that while they would have preferred us to go a different direction, they trust us as educators. This trust is the heart of Cornerstone College and something we must continue to build.

Trust is why families have chosen to invite the College into their lives, to help them educate their children. When our staff accepted employment at the College they did so trusting in God’s timing and purpose which brought them to serve our community at this very time. I personally never saw myself being entrusted with the principalship of a school like Cornerstone – but I’m beyond honoured that our community has trusted me with this honour!

The Bible encourages us to ‘trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding.’ (Proverbs 3:5-6). As humans we can so easily believe that we are the leaders of our own fate, and we have to achieve everything in our own strength. The Good News of the Christian faith is that it is not solely through our own power and expectations do we achieve and grow. God has granted us the gift of the Holy Spirit who guides and encourages us, especially when things are hard. God’s Spirit grants us the power to have high expectations of ourselves and to excel.

Great things will continue to happen at Cornerstone College. When we celebrate these things, let us never forget that the underpinning of our success is to trust in our God as our College motto proclaims, ‘Christ our firm foundation.’


Tom Brennen