The size of your community doesn’t matter as much as the depth of your connection with them. - Chris Pirillo
It is through our connections to others – the relationships we create that help to make meaning in our lives. The good life is associated with the people who are a part of it and how we interconnect, contribute to each other’s lives and the purpose we have to make meaning. At Sunshine Coast Grammar School, we underpin our very foundations with the relationship we have firstly with God, and then with our family, our peers, colleagues, students, the local and broader communities.
It is a multi-faceted approach. Each year the number of families who move to the Coast and to Grammar grows and many of these families do not have any other networks at the time of their move, other than the connections through school. This connection is vital to the wellbeing of the whole family. We build our initial friendships as parents through our children and the various activities they are involved in and we can never underestimate the importance of this connection. These are the generous parents who reach out to others in great times of challenge and personal hardships, whose practical offers of help make the world of difference.
The School curriculum is enhanced by our community connections. The many business owners and experts in a range of industries offer time and expertise to share real world experiences with our students. This enriches the curriculum and indeed draws a direct link between learning and preparing for the world of work. This has been so apparent as we draw closer to the opening of our Aquatic Centre. Our Business and Industrial Design and Technology students have been able to be on site learning in a real-life construction site. What an amazing opportunity!
We are conscious of the role we play in our local community through our ‘service above self’ programs and particularly Grammar Helping Hands. Making a tangible and practical difference to the lives of others builds people of character and further connects our local and global communities.
Most recently, we have collaborated with a local community organisation – Sunny Kids – making a big difference on the Sunshine Coast. One of their big projects in 2016/17 has been the launch of the storybook ‘The Good Man Project’ and the associated teaching guide written by two of our Primary teachers Mrs Amanda Collins and Mrs Georgia Brown. This book and guide tackle one of Australia’s big challenges of domestic violence in a very accessible and practical way. Launched in May at Aussie World, this book and teaching guide is available to every primary school in Australia. This was indeed a very important community venture for us to be involved in. Education has a vital role to play in how we as a society tackle the big social issues.
Across the seas, we continue to grow our international community connections. In the June/July break our cricketers headed to the UK and Scotland as part of the cricket tour, in September we head to Timor Leste as part of our service program, our inaugural Humanities tour to China will occur and in December our students studying Japanese head to the Land of the Rising Sun. We have also grown our student exchange program and these friendships continue well beyond school years at Grammar.
Online community connections have allowed Grammar to reconnect with more alumni – an important group of Grammarians who will always have that link back to their old alma mater. In our 21st year, we are seeking to enhance our relationships with all our graduates from our first ones in 2002 to 2017 and beyond. This year, we are inviting our alumni to come home for Christmas, reconnect with old friends, teachers, and see the transformation of their school over the years.
As a school community, we are very blessed to have positive, strong, collaborative connections with our students, our parents, our local and broader communities. All of these relationships ultimately enhance everything we do and give to grow our young people.
Maria Woods is Principal of Sunshine Coast Grammar.