They are proud to be trailblazers in the history of The Armidale School, but Holly Tearle, Maddy Dennis, Emily Blackbourne and Elssya Rogers-Ellis say starting as the first secondary TAS girls today (6 October) is more about getting the best HSC they believe they can.
When the TAS Board announced in March that the school would move to full co-education in 2016, Holly thought it would be too late for her to return to the school where she spent her “very happy primary years” at its co-ed Junior School. “So when it was decided that day girls going into Year 12 would be able to start in Term 4, I was just so excited at the opportunity,” she said.
The four are already quite familiar with TAS. Holly, Elyssa and and Maddy have all had older brothers go through the school, while Elyssa, Maddy and Emily have been studying some subjects at TAS since the start of Year 11, as part of a combined subjects arrangement TAS has had with other Armidale secondary schools for many years.
“I’m not really daunted – I’ve lived in a house with three brothers and it certainly helps that we know some of the teachers and the current students; for me the only difference, at least in Economics, is I’ll now be wearing a TAS uniform,” Elyssa said. “I also saw the way many of the teachers gave my brother academic support after school hours, and thought that would be a great benefit for my HSC.”
Emily’s subject passion may be French, but she is also conscious of history.
‘I love change – this is not just about moving schools, but is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be the first secondary girls here,” said Emily, who attended an all-girls school in Sydney before her family relocated to Armidale, where she has been at a co-ed school. “The difference between schools isn’t about the gender mix, its about the staff and the students, and I’ve really enjoyed studying at TAS,” she said.
The girls said they believe they will be welcomed by not just the boys, but the wider school community.
“We’re not coming to change the traditions or the culture of the school, we’re coming here because of the sort of school that TAS is,” said Holly. “I’m honoured not just to be a pioneer with these girls, but I’m also proud to be part of a school that is being a pioneer itself, and setting its own destiny.”
Headmaster Murray Guest welcomed the school’s newest students.
“We admire their courage and enthusiasm as they take this historic step, but will also be supporting them every step of the way to ensure their time at TAS is an enjoyable and fruitful one,” he said.
Girls from Years 6-11, including boarders, will commence at TAS in Term 1.