The focus of building young men and women of courage, compassion and conviction will be strengthened at The Armidale School in 2019 with the creation of a new position - coordinator of challenge and service.
Taking up the role will be Mr Jim Pennington who, six years ago, initiated the TAS Triple Crown award for those students who complete three of four challenge events during their time at school, including the 2km Coffs Ocean Swim, the 14km City to Surf, the 111km Hawkesbury Canoe Classic and the 255km Tour de Rocks charity bike ride.
Mr Pennington will also take responsibility for the school’s Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme as well as other regular adventure events such as the Kokoda Trek and the Inverell Toughen Up.
He will also be responsible for the integration of service learning across the school.
Headmaster Murray Guest said while challenge and service had long been cornerstones of the TAS offering, integrating them will drive a greater sense of purpose and meaning amongst students.
“The sad recent passing of prominent TAS Old Boy Ian Kiernan, who embodied, embraced and lived both challenge to himself and service to the community, reminds us of the importance of this,” Mr Guest said.
“The essence of what we call our character development curriculum is to structure a sequential program of experiences and opportunities that will expose our students to their limits, physically and mentally, and test their capacity for empathy, kindness, generosity and advocacy for those whose plight beckons their assistance.”
Mr Guest believes the more formalised program will not come at the cost of academic focus, as reflected by several of the TAS students who achieved ATARs above 90 in the 2018 HSC also being Triple Crown awardees or involved in service including at Minimbah Aboriginal School, as blood donors or in other areas.
“In essence, it is a call to them to see what they are capable of and it carries the ambition of building personal capacity to meet future obstacles in life that might otherwise see them unable to move ahead,” Mr Guest said.
“Young people today are often unfairly derided in the media, but have no less appetite for adventure or stretching their limits.
“What our young people do ask though, in their growing sophistication, is that the challenges before them be real and significant and worthwhile, that they will grow in confidence from them and as a result be better people who can make a meaningful contribution to society.”
- Visit: www.as.edu.au.