Heathdale flower 04th September 2020

Finishing Strong

This season has taken the shape of a long-distance run. Over time, our students have covered significant ground, forging a way through obstacles, and now we can see the progress made!

Heathdale flower

Some of my favourite memories from my own high school days are the long cross-country runs I took part in for House and interschool sports competitions. Given the meagre level of coordination the Lord has blessed me with, the only sport I had any hope in whatsoever was long distance running. Success relied mostly on doggedly putting one foot in front of the other for longer than other runners were prepared to endure. That unsophisticated game plan enabled me to do okay even though I lacked pretty much all the strength, fitness and skill you would expect in an athlete.

Our interschool sports cross-country was always held at the same lake, with the same track, every year. And the last 200 metres were always a race to the finish across sand. Agh! After several kilometres through the bush, weary and desperate for it to end, the last thing a runner wants is a sprint across loose sand. Any energy you had left seemed to be sucked from your legs as you tried to make a final push to catch the person in front of you before the finish line.

What those long runs did teach me was the value of endurance. There was no point in sprinting off madly from the starting line in a blaze of glory only to fall in a heap a kilometre later. You had to adjust your run and your outlook to account for the length of your race. Those that did well, did not run their fastest at any one point but rather ran their best over the whole course.

When I consider our students as they approach the end of Term 3, I reflect on the fact that remote learning has become a longer journey than we anticipated and more of a long-distance sport than a sprint. But our students are clearly making it a successful journey through their persistence and determination to keep plugging away! As we prepare our interim reports, and take stock of another term’s learning, the evidence is that our students and teachers have stayed the course by being faithful in the day-to-day and week-to-week activities. Over time, they’ve covered significant ground, forging a way through obstacles, and now we can see the progress made!

I cannot commend our students highly enough for their stick-ability and adaptability. What they’ve achieved over the year so far is impressive, not just in terms of the content and subject specific skills they’ve learnt. Just as important has been the development of a sense of responsibility for their own workload and schedule, and the organisation, communication and diligence they’ve needed to develop in order to keep engaged in meaningful learning in all their subjects. Well done students! Keep up your efforts – the finish line of term holidays is in sight!