You Belong Here
Principal Ashleigh Martin (pictured below with our 2022 School Co-Captains) reflected on the 2022 School year
in the latest edition of our School community magazine Labora.
The most powerful statement we can make to any person in our Caulfield Grammar School Community is ‘You belong here’. Something that is no longer taken for granted is how special it is to come together, celebrating the uniqueness of who we are and what our students bring to our School. Speech Night 2022 was a marker of ‘place’, with our Senior School community back together again – in the one place – to celebrate the Class of 2022.
Each of our 450 students in Year 12 has their own story. Some inspiring, some heartbreaking, some students somewhat ambivalent about their time, others where their time at our School has defined them. No story more important than the other.
This year has felt heavy for all of us at times, with still a cloud of uncertainty and the jarring memories of the past two years. Our community sought rhythm, routine and hope, and our Class of 2022 provided it – bringing passion, personality and place back to our School campuses – leading those signpost events that define our student experience and role modelling behaviour that had every younger student’s eyes on them. Watching, emulating and aspiring.
While the Class of 2022 was the barometer of our School culture this year, all in our community have played their role in shaping the now and the future of our School.
Culture isn’t set, it is shaped. Continuing our focus on culture, where individuality and choice are embraced, within the texture of our 141 years of history. This is an artful balance. Honouring the past while acknowledging schools today must evolve from five, fifteen and fifty years ago.
It isn’t easy. We want our students to rise to the standards expected of them at Caulfield Grammar School because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to. We aspire to be a school where there is pride in everything we do, not for external validation, but because it’s intrinsically driven. Small things get noticed. What’s walked past. What’s celebrated.
Decades of personal and collective efforts have built Caulfield Grammar School to the School we are today. Great schools stand for something. We all have an accountability to uphold our standards and rise and aspire to them. Every school in the country is going through a period of introspection. What defines them post-COVID? What schools have responded? What schools are still stuck in the mire? We know who we are. Our Values and our Purpose are strong. We are a school where academic success is vital to us, but it is not the sole purpose of why we exist.
We are a school where co-education is at the forefront in all we do, and we passionately drive to find that balance of equity for all. A school where breadth and depth of opportunity is our foundation. A school culture we want, hard-earned and unique to us.
We must not forget what is important. What truly matters as opposed to what seems to matter. I have certainly stepped into numerous moments of discomfort and introspection. A prerequisite for growth, I have needed to take stock and personal responsibility for my mindset, accepted kind truth from those I trust, and reflected inwards at various times to emerge stronger and more focused on what matters.
The vocation of education, the heart of great schools, is helping others be better. Our students need alignment of values, consistency and the kind truth – at home and at school. Teachers with students, teachers with parents, parents for our community, staff to staff, and students to students. We all have the opportunity to lead. Working in education is a rewarding profession and the fire has to burn. I acknowledge all Caulfield Grammar School staff for keeping the fire burning and for bringing the quality of care to every interaction.
We look forward to 2023 with optimism, with exciting developments in our learning programs delivering on the ‘Innovative Learning Opportunities’ Strategic Goal. Taking a smarter approach to what a school day looks like for our Secondary School students, along with some enhancements in aspects of our Junior School learning program to provide continued alignment in the Junior to Secondary learning journey, this revitalisation elevates even further our outstanding Caulfield Grammar School education, and finds that sweet spot between academic success and whole-child development.
LABORA UT REQUIESCAS
‘Work hard that you may rest content.’