Year 12s, external exams, and all rising to the challenge …

Our Year 12s this week began their culminating assessments, the External Examinations. This three and a half weeks may, to them, seem like a cavernous stretch of time looming before them; however, it is a relatively brief speck or moment of their entire schooling life. The past twelve years of school, including the last six years of Grammar life, has seen them being academically prepared and primed to tackle this academic pinnacle; to emerge knowing they have given their best and have risen to, and overcome, the challenge set before them.

Monday morning saw this examination time commence with English, the one subject where every girl is together, where the entire BGGS Senior Academic Team is present on the figurative academic ‘playing field’. And they are a team, in every sense of that word. They have supported each other through the hours of ‘training’, the training sessions where everything went well and felt good, the training sessions that were hard, difficult, and tested resolve. They have listened to their ‘coaches’’ advice, learned, amended, and adapted to hone their performance. The team arrived ready. Their spirits were buoyed by a shared breakfast, spirits soared with a rousing war cry and then spirits were calmed and focused by a short reflective mindfulness activity. Yes, the team was truly ready.

It was with a great sense of pride that I watched the girls, our team, stride purposefully and confidently into that first exam, and all exams since. I gave them no words or wishes of luck, in fact in our last assembly together I told them I would not. There were a few gasps of surprise, a few horrified murmurs, and a few who guessed why. The why? There was no need for luck. They had been preparing for this moment, not just this year, but for many years. They had teachers over the years that have supported and nourished their academic ability, teachers that accepted the challenge of knowing, intimately, every detail and nuance of their respective subjects and the system they were being educated within; all with the intent to deliver them to this moment in time, to be the best they could be. Also, they had accepted the academic challenges set in their paths knowing that such would develop them to be the fine accomplished academic athletes that they now are and thus, now it was time, now they were ready. The final words: ‘Just do it!’

In watching the Year 12s walk into that exam space, I could not help but reflect on the nature of this School, the nature of BGGS that produces such fine young academics, and such fine young people, not just this year but year, upon year, upon year. Nil Sine Labore reverberated loudly. Yet, it is more than just effort, it is where and how that effort is directed. I recognised that BGGS staff, students, and the organisation as a whole does not rest on their laurels. There is always a sense of what next? How to improve? How to keep moving and not stagnate? This directed effort creates a dynamic, yet rigorous, thoughtful environment—one that always poses challenges, provides challenge and supports all to rise to meet those challenges. Just as the Year 12s have risen and are meeting the challenge of their external examinations, so too do all at BGGS rise and meet the challenges that keeps this a thriving and striving educational community. It is a wonderful thing for us all to be a part of.

Mr James Keogh
Dean of Studies