Positivity Breeds Positivity

Welcome back to School! To our students, staff and parents I hope you enjoyed some downtime over the holiday period and had an opportunity to make special memories with family and friends. I would especially like to welcome the many new families who have joined us this year, it is wonderful to have you as part of the St Stephen’s School community.

Following last year’s 35 year celebrations, which really brought the community together and fostered a sense of pride and passion for St Stephen’s School, I am particularly excited about 2020 and the beginning of a new decade – a time to look forward with enthusiasm, excitement and a positive mindset.

University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Centre Director, Dr Martin Seligman, has studied the idea of positivity for a number of years, many would say he is the world’s expert in this field of study. I recently re-visited some of his findings on how ‘positivity breeds positivity’ and that a positive mindset is not only good for your health but promotes performance. I, personally, am making a concerted effort to keep a positive mindset throughout the year and see how it shapes my world. I invite you to join me and let’s see where it takes us.

Before we look at some of the activities and events planned for the year ahead, I want to again congratulate our Class of 2019 on their achievements. Many of our VET students have gone on to apprenticeships, extra training or employment and our ATAR students achieved above the State Median ATAR. St Stephen’s was named a leading school in Literature, received three Certificates of Excellence, nine Certificates of Distinction and 27 Certificates of Merit. This is a testament to the hard work students put into their studies, the commitment of our teachers and the support of families and friends. It is also reflective on ensuring that each student is on an individual pathway for success after they leave school, no matter what that pathway is. To each of you, our newest alumni, all the best for the next step.

While many of us were relaxing over the break (myself included), it was a hive of activity at both of our campuses. At Duncraig the Year 6 building received a much-needed facelift, the library underwent extensive roof work and carpet replacements and our ELC extended its learning areas with a new classroom and fenced indoor-outdoor play area. Carramar will have a brand-new dust extractor fan installed shortly in the Design & Technologies workshop. There are also revitalised Primary areas, a new outdoor space for Pre-Primary, new furniture and specialised rooms in Secondary for Social Justice and Service, Robotics and a Green Screen media room. A big thank you to all the people who worked hard to make this happen ahead of the new school year.

This year will see our biennial School Fete at Duncraig return with lots of fanfare, our Secondary Cross-Campus production will present C.S.Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and be sure to keep an eye out for an exclusive black tie event for parents, staff and alumni that will be a night to remember!

Our current Strategic Plan is also coming to an end in 2020 and over the course of the year we will be reaching out to the community for a series of consultations to help to shape our next Strategic Plan.

One of our past parents and a friend of St Stephen’s School, Professor Gary Martin (Head of the Australian Institute of Management WA) recently shared his thoughts about young microentrepreneurs in Business News. He said that schools have a significant role to play in preparing students for the new world of work – and I wholeheartedly agree. He went on to use one of our past students as an example of how school support can help the younger generation flourish. It was, and always is, great to see real-world examples of how our various pathways offer students a road to success, whatever that may look like for the individual. At St Stephen’s our aim is to provide an exceptional holistic education in a Christ-centred environment. As Professor Martin states, together we want our children to flourish both at school and in their lives beyond the school grounds.

It is seeing our students working hard and to their individual potential that continues to excite me and the staff of St Stephen’s. Working alongside our families to help each student thrive is why we do what we do and this fills us with a wonderful sense of anticipation for the year ahead.

Here’s to a great year brimming with exciting opportunities. I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Take care and God bless,

Mrs Donella Beare