What a great 2022!

As we come to the end of another school year, I think it is important that we reflect on how great a year 2022 has been.

After more than two years of Covid, it has been fantastic to have a normal school year. After our experiences in 2020 and, again, in 2021, I don’t think we will ever take for granted being able to come to school in person, being able to hold assemblies in person, being able to participate in sport and music activities and being able to go on Camps.

It has been so exciting in 2022 to be able to do all of these ‘normal’ school activities which we all missed across 2020 and 2021.

When I was in Hong Kong in 2020, the school was allowed to be on campus, as a whole school, for only four weeks in the whole year. We spent almost the entirety of 2020 online and not being able to venture far from our homes and then, only in twos. After this experience, 2022 has been a dream year of which I am absolutely grateful for. I am so appreciative of the High School students I have the pleasure to work with each day. I am so grateful for their warmth, connection, and the way they positively engage with me. I feel lucky to come to school and know that I will be welcomed with hundreds of smiles and happy greetings every day.

I am so incredibly proud of the improvements we made in student behaviour, respect and academic motivation and engagement in the High School in 2022. I continue to set high expectations for the students which they continue to meet. It is important that we continue to ‘raise the bar’ as our students are so incredibly capable across so many areas. Our students will meet and exceed our expectations while we keep these expectations high. I have had the absolute privilege of working with amazing student leaders throughout this year. Whenever I meet with the Student Leaders, I am in awe of their ideas, creativity, drive, and organisational skills. Under the Student Leaders’ guidance and direction, we have supported some great charities. They have also greatly improved the standard and quality of our assemblies. My favourite times of the week are my meetings with the Student Leaders as they inspire and motivate me.

I am a firm believer in displaying gratitude and try to live life with a glass half full mindset, rather than a glass half empty mindset. I am always motivating and encouraging our students to adopt this mindset about our school. Moriah is a great school and we have so much to be proud of and grateful for about our school. We are not perfect and will always have areas we need to be working on; however, having worked in many different schools, I can confidently say that no school is perfect and Moriah is a wonderful school.

For me, this statement was reaffirmed last week as we celebrated the Year 12 Formal with our 2022 graduates. I was so impressed by the number of students who approached me during the evening to thank me and express their gratitude for what Moriah has done for them. Many of them expressed their interest in maintaining a close association with the College through becoming Sport Coaches, being Prayer Leaders and joining the EDJE team in the future. It was wonderful and heartwarming to hear the pride they expressed in being a Moriah graduate.

I encourage our parent community to also view the High School with positivity and to be grateful for the opportunities and education your children receive. I sometimes worry that our parents have a ‘negativity bias’ about the school and overlook all the great things about the school as they dwell on the negative. Sometimes I feel there is too much focus on what we don’t do rather than the array of amazing opportunities our students experience.

If parents speak positively about the school, then their children will do the same. We need to promote a sense of pride in being a Moriah student and part of the Moriah Family and this starts with being grateful for being part of this incredible school.

Therefore, as we reach the end of another year, let’s ensure that we all take time to be grateful for the year we have had and to appreciate how lucky we are. Research shows that people who value and practise being grateful lead happier and more fulfilling lives.

In my view, it is very easy to default to negativity, but we need to consciously count our blessings and display gratitude.

Thank you all for a great year with your children. They make me laugh every single day and they keep me feeling young. I never, ever have a single moment of the day where they allow me to be bored or to have the time to think, ‘what am I going to do today?’ They constantly challenge me and keep me on my toes, having to think creatively to solve issues and problems. I wake up each morning eager to get out of bed, thinking how lucky I am to work with such great students.

I wish you all a wonderful summer break with your families. I hope you all find the time to spend quality time together without any Covid restrictions!

Cherish this time together, as it all goes far too quickly.

ABOUT THE AUTHORMark Hemphill headshot

Mark Hemphill is the Head of High School at Moriah College in Queens Park, NSW.

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