Published on May 5, 2023
On 25th April I was privileged to be able to attend the Dawn Anzac Service in East Maitland. The silence of the early dawn provides a wonderful moment of reflection and today is an extension of this. A chance for us as a school to pause and remember those within and beyond our communities who have fought and returned, and fought and lost their lives, for peace and justice.
We are an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and as such are compelled to live the IB Mission:
The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
“These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”
The concluding statement of the IB Mission is one I have always found most challenging to embody: “who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right”. Most of us as human beings find this hard: we naturally gravitate to those who think like us and share the same beliefs system as us (including political and religious beliefs). And yet, being able to accept that other people, who think differently to ourselves and belief different things, may also be right – that there are other ways to view the world – is surely one of the key variables to creating a better and more peaceful world. The IB Mission Statement is aspirational and compelling – it compels us to embrace difference, sit with it, accept it as a reality of life, and not fight against it.
What then becomes important for us as adults, and for our students, are our behaviors and whether they show us to be caring, inquiring, knowledgeable, compassionate and active lifelong learners. By demonstrating these behaviors in our daily lives, we stay curious and open to opportunities for peace and justice.
At HVGS living the IB means living our Values for Life:
By living the IB Mission and the HVGS Values for Life, we demonstrate through our actions what it means to remember those who have fought and lived, and fought and died, for peace in our world. Below are some reflections on what it means to embody our values for life:
|To live Responsibly||Means looking after each other, our school and ourselves.|
|To live with Integrity||Means being honest.|
|To live Respectfully||Means having kind hands, kind feet and speaking kind words.|
To live from a place of
|Means knowing that we have a responsibility to look after each other and our school. Who we are at HVGS – and how much we demonstrate that others with their differences may also be right – matters for each and every one of us.|
|To live a Life of Courage||Means being an ally and standing up for those who are different to ourselves. It means celebrating and championing difference and learning to sit with, listen to and not “fight” with others who are different to ourselves. Ultimately, courage is an act of peace.|
|To live a life of Compassion||Means to live from the heart; to know that an unkind hand, word or facial expression hurts others.|
|To live a life of Optimism||Means to be hopeful that our students can create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and advocating for what is right.|
|To live a life of Gratitude||Means saying thank you from the heart.|
By living the HVGS Values for Life and being inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect we honour and remember all of those extraordinary people who have fought in the armed services for peace and justice in our world.
“By living our values and the IB Mission we continue their courageous work for peace and justice in our everyday lives.”
This is the challenge we all face – students and adults alike. Most particularly, we have an awesome responsibility as parents, caregivers, teachers and staff to model our Values for Life every single moment of our days so our young people know what it means to do this and can know that within themselves they have the power to change the world.