MR ALAN JONES
After months of preparations and rehearsals, the much anticipated performance of Wizard of Oz opened last night. The show has brought together actors, musicians, technical and stage crew and set builders from right across the School, making it a real community event. The success last night is a tribute to producer and director Andrew O’Connell who has led a very big team to the opening night. I am sure that it was a great relief to see the show finally on stage in the face of all the Coronavirus issues.
Moving the dates of the GPS Head of the River to yesterday instead of this coming Saturday was most disappointing for our boys’ rowing crews, as was the news that the Girls Head of the River has also been cancelled.
Rowing is of course, a physically and mentally demanding sport and I know the commitment through training and regattas of all our crews deserves our support.
There will be a gathering to celebrate the rowing season at Malpas Dam this Saturday from 9.30am to 11.30am. All crews will row, and a BBQ will follow their return to shore. All parents and supporters are most welcome.
Our First XI have continued their Douglas Shield campaign, finishing with a valiant loss to St Philip’s Christian School, Cessnock in the semi-final. Reaching this level of the competition is a fine achievement. I also congratulate them on a grand final berth in the local Armidale competition following a solid win over Hillgrove last Saturday. Regrettably, they will be unable to take to the field this weekend to play Guyra for the premiership due to the cancellation of the season by Armidale Cricket Association yesterday.
As you would all be aware from a letter sent out from the School yesterday (17 March), we are confronting major issues with regards to events on our school calendar and there is a link to an FAQ below. This page will be kept up to date with the latest information from the school. We are endeavouring to approach matters as they arise with a focus on being able to facilitate school productions, sporting commitments and our academic program.
It is very important to recognise both staff and students and the time and effort given to our extra-curricular activities as they would have taken place without the disruption of the current coronavirus issues.
Every effort will be made to keep our community informed as decisions are made and that the continuation of all of our programs and the health and wellbeing of our students is at the forefront of all of this decision making.
|Wednesday 18 March||P&F Meeting (7pm) – Cancelled|
|Thursday 19 March||Year 6&7 Parent/Teacher Interviews (Phone Interviews)|
|Friday 20 March||Year 6&7 Parent/Teacher Interviews (Phone Interviews)|
The Wizard of Oz (Hoskins Centre) 7pm (Parents and Family – performance will be filmed)
|Monday 23 March||Football Development Clinic (3.30pm)|
|Tuesday 24 March|| |
TAS Regional Tour – Moree
|Wednesday 25 March||TAS Regional Tour – Narrabri|
Junior School Athletics Carnival (Proceed with no spectators)
|Thursday 26 March||TAS Regional Tour – Gunnedah|
Mountain Biking Dinner – Wicklow Hotel (6pm) (Postponed)
|Friday 27 March||Athletics Carnival ( Proceed with no spectators)|
MRS RACHAEL NICOLL
COVID-19 has turned the world upside down in a very short time. Our thoughts are with the students, staff and wider TAS Community and we hope that everyone stays safe during this difficult time.
Early last week we were planning the Rugby Carnival, Athletics Carnival Cake Stalls and our usual P&F meetings. Late last week the Rugby Carnival was cancelled and this week we have decided to cancel all P&F activities until further notice. Our thanks to all who had already offered to help – whilst we no longer need it we do we appreciate it.
Therefore, the following P&F activities will no longer occur:
Please note that as per the letter from school yesterday (16 March), the Athletics Carnivals are still continuing at this stage however spectators including parents will be excluded from attending.
The closed P&F Facebook pages that each Year Group have are available to parents to keep in contact with each other during this time and we recommend joining these pages so that people can continue to ‘socially distance’ and ‘self-isolate’ whilst not being socially isolated from the broader TAS Community. If you have a query about something or would like to offer spare fruit and veges to people or support to families who are having difficulties coping during this pandemic please feel free to use the Facebook Pages. A friendly Facebook post, saying ‘we care’, can help.
The Facebook groups have been named according to the year that the group will be in Year 12. ie. TAS Year 12 2020, is the current Year 12, right down to TAS Year 12 2033, which is the current Transition class. So search for these in Facebook and join.
Please use these groups wisely. Comments should be polite, inclusive and relevant, or they may be deleted.
Mrs Rachael Nicoll
MR LUKE POLSON
Year 6 and Year 7 Parent Teacher Interviews are scheduled for this Thursday (19 March) and Friday (20 March). While these will not be face to face interviews, teachers will phone parents following the same schedule of times as best as possible. All should be mindful of the 10 minute time allocation.
If you have any questions regarding parent teacher interviews please contact Mrs Robyn Frost in Middle School.
Further parent teacher interviews this term will be conducted in the same manner and details of these will be provided in due course.
I trust by now all parents, carers and students will have had the opportunity to read through the recent communication from the School regarding Coronavirus and the potential impacts this could have on classes in the future. As a school, we have put a number of measures in place to ensure that classes and academic content can still be delivered to students in the event of the school closing to students. Staff will deliver classes through a combination of Canvas, video conferencing and email. Teachers may well also use other online educational resources relevant to their faculties. Many of these online resources already form part of our teaching and learning program and as a result, students are familiar with their functionality. Additionally, students in Years 11 and 12 have access to Atomi which provides online tutoring, resources, quizzes and support for students in Years 11 and 12. Students have already received passwords to activate their accounts to utilise this resource. This week, our students and staff have completed initial testing of video conferencing platforms in their Advisor period. Testing will continue over the next few days to ensure both staff and students are well informed of how to use the video conferencing software. Additionally, training continues to be provided for staff and students may be involved in further trials of this in the classes.
Assessment for students in Years 11 and 12 continues as per normal. If a student is absent from class due to health or concerns with Coronavirus, students need to ensure they appeal the task as per School policy and teachers will discuss the task and possible alternatives with the Director of Studies. Additionally, any further advice for Year 11 and 12 students that is made available from NESA, will be communicated directly from the Director of Studies.
Science students are very busy at the moment – we are in the midst of our science practical examinations. These follow a range of experimental activities in our classrooms in Years 6-10. Practical work emphasises the careful, safe, observational and analytical skills required by a scientist and is a very important part of every students learning. We are very appreciative of the work our lab technician Mr Godron McLennan and our gap student Liz Koobatian for their preparations for these tasks.
Congratulations to our Year 10 science and engineering team who came in second place in this year’s Science & Engineering Challenge at UNE on Wednesday 11 March. It was a fabulous day and students were engaged in a number of different building challenges. We were narrowly beaten by PLC whose truss bridge successfully carried the greatest load. Thank you to Dr Mack for organising the Science & Engineering Challenge excursion.
Working as a Science Gap Student this term has been one of the most rewarding parts of my time in Australia. I’ve always enjoyed science, and my experiences in the TAS science classrooms have confirmed my decision to pursue the study of science at university next year. In secondary school, I focused heavily on Ecological and Biological sciences, but at TAS, I have primarily assisted with the organisation of Chemistry laboratories. This requires creating different chemical solutions, test-running practicals, and learning the chemistry behind each lab in order to better assist in each class. Working with a group of staff focused on helping others learn in such an interactive setting has helped me learn more about a subject to which I’d had limited prior exposure. I have also had the opportunity to continue learning more about Biology at a deeper level. One of the experiences I enjoyed most this term was joining a Year 9/10 Biomedical class on an excursion to The University of New England to listen to Dr Anna-Marie Babey talk about her research on how different substances impact brain cells. I look forward to relying upon the knowledge and skills I have acquired at TAS as I continue my education this fall at the University of Chicago.
I seek expressions of interest from Year 11 students in the 2020 Physics and Chemistry Olympiad Qualifying Examinations. Ideally I would like a team of three to four passionate science students from each subject area who will train in an attempt to qualify for the 2020 Olympiads. These challenging exams are not for the faint hearted – some of the two hour examination content is of a first year university level.
Students may also prepare for the exams by practising on Olympiads Online (https://www.asi.edu.au/programs/olympiads-online/)
and trying out past papers.
Physics Olympiads Exam –(14 August – registrations close 19 July)
Chemistry Olympiads Exam – (12 August – registrations close 17 July)
The cost is $10 (plus GST) per student per exam.
Please see Mr Hey if you are interested in participation.
I am proposing that preparation nights run on Wed night (Week B) from 4-6.30 pm.
RACI NSW Schools Titration Competition Team Practices– Postponed. Unfortunately the impact of the Coronavirus may mean that the 2020 competition may not be able to run.
Mr Alasdair Hey
MR RICHARD NEWTON
In the first few centuries following the historical Jesus’ life death, death and resurrection, the earth was plagued with many diseases and strife. As it has been in every generation since. What we are facing with COVID 19 may be uncharted territory for our generation, but not for humankind. It may just be that we can learn something from generations past as they sought to cope with like circumstances.
Take the era, AD 249 to 262, Western civilisation was devastated by one of the deadliest pandemics in its history. The city of Rome was said to have lost an estimated 5,000 people a day at the height of the outbreak. How did people respond? “At the first onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into the roads before they were dead and treating unburied corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avert the spread and contagion of the fatal disease”, according to Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria.
A century later, the emperor Julian attempted to compete with the growth of Christianity after the plague by leading a campaign to establish pagan charities that emulated the work of Christians. In AD 362, Julian complained that the Hellenists needed to match the Christians in virtue, blaming the recent growth of Christianity on their “benevolence to strangers, their care for the graves of the dead, and the pretended holiness of their lives.” He also wrote, “For it is a disgrace that . . . the impious Galilaeans [Christians] support not only their own poor but ours as well.”
According to Dionysius, the plague served as a “schooling and testing” for Christians, he writes of how “the best” among them honourably served the sick until they themselves caught the disease and died:
“Most of our brother-Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of the danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbours and cheerfully accepting their pains.”
Similarly, in Pontius’s biography of Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage, he writes of how the bishop reminded believers to serve not only fellow Christians but also non-Christians during the plague:
“There is nothing remarkable in cherishing merely our own people with the due attentions of love, but that one might become perfect who should do something more than heathen men or publicans, one who, overcoming evil with good, and practicing a merciful kindness like that of God, should love his enemies as well. . . . Thus the good was done to all men, not merely to the household of faith.”
Through to last century, when the threat of the Atomic bomb loomed large, C.S. Lewis commented, that if we were to be destroyed by it, “when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”
At the moment, there feels like there is little choice, we have had a virus thrust upon us that we can do little about. However, if these examples teach us anything, we do have a choice, we can run and hide, be self-preserving and consumed by fear. Or we can consider how we might react if Christ is our example. We will put aside our own needs (even for toilet paper), we will seek to assist the vulnerable and frail in society, we will hold on to hope that goes beyond this world and this life, that is offered by and through Christ, a hope that will last all eternity.
Mr Richard Newton
MR WILL CALDWELL
In most cases our decision to proceed with Co-curricular Activities is determined by the governing body for that activity. In the absence of any clear decision we will act in the best interest of our community.
Below is a summary of events (Junior School is summarised the Junior School Sports section of TAS Talks):
Athletics: JS and M/SS carnivals continuing as scheduled without spectators
Basketball: First VIII Mens only continuing. All other teams – no training no games
Cricket: finished for season
Dance: finished for term
Kayaking: Thursday training only – in Croft Dam
Mountain Biking: selected riders (refer to Mrs Benham) Final race 30 March (unless cancelled by race organisers).
Music: All choirs cancelled. Big Band and Senior Jazz Ensembles have finished for the term.
Production: Wizard of Oz – final performance Friday 20 March
Rowing: Final gathering at Malpas on Saturday 21 March
Shooting: Continue training as scheduled – no external competition
Tennis: finished for season
Squash: finished for season
Triathlon: finished for season
Swimming: finished for season
Volleyball: finished for season
We are monitoring this daily and staff in charge of each activity will communicate directly with students and parents if there are changes.
Mr Will Caldwell
Director of Co-curricular
In mountain biking news, three of our students, Archie Chick, Ted Chick and Toby Inglis joined two Old Armidalians, Michael Harris and Angus Apps at the National Mountain Bike Championships in Bright, VIC over the weekend. By all reports, everyone raced extremely well, even with a couple of crashes thrown in the mix (fortunately nothing too serious). Congratulations to Ted Chick who placed second in the U13 XCC race and fifth in the XCO, Toby Inglis who placed fifth in the U15 XCO, Archie Chick who was part of a relay that came fourth, and Michael Harris who in the under 23s placed 1st in the XCC, fourth in the XCO and fourth in the relay.
MR ANDREW O'CONNELL
“The show must go on” is one of the most recognised warcries of the stage. But what happens when the show can’t go on? That’s something the cast of The Wizard of Oz and all the other amazing elements of our co-curricular program are having to engage with as the COVID-19 situation forces the Australian Government, and in turn the school, to cancel events and gatherings. But what I have been awestruck by is the resilience and tenacity of the cast, crew, and band, who have held their heads up high through all of this and have not let an uncertain future distract them from their preparations. We truly have special students here at TAS.
Mr Andrew O’Connell
Creative Arts Coordinator
MR MARK HARRISON
If everything is clear and we’re able to remain comfortable we’ve not quite four weeks of actual classes left before the term break. Well, COVID19 notwithstanding, life continues busily here and, as we move towards the end of the year’s longest term, there’s something I want you to do for me: tell your version of your children’s settling, the challenges (indeed difficulties, in some cases) they have encountered and, most importantly, those aspects of school life that they are managing in their relatively short time with us this semester. As promised at the beginning of the term, I’ve begun calling parents of new TAS students. These people can only stand to benefit from having their views, as communicated by you, heard. The same belief relates to you, too. I need you to relax with me and I want you to tell me how you think your children are faring at this stage of the year. In fact, it’s essential that we communicate because, as indicated in past TAS Talks segments, it’s so much easier to manage issues than it is to address problems. The people we deal with are too young to be burdened by many problems anyway and the more openly we adults talk, the less likely is the situation where they may arise. Problems have the easy capacity to impinge on the enjoyment of riding, sitting under trees (sometimes with a good book or, more often, good company), careering around the Cricket Oval (Backfield is off limits due to seeding) and other life-necessities of early adolescents. It’s supposed to be a world where kids can be anything they want – jointly, why don’t we just encourage them to be kind.
There’s another reason why I want to speak to you: being a mere mortal, I don’t always ‘get it right’ so, if there’s something you’re aware of that could assist me to address concerns you have about your child’s wellbeing, then I want you to tell me during the call. Mr Jamie Brauer, Dr Charlotte Mack and I talk almost every day, so our awareness of boarders’ needs is, in my view, excellent, and our management of them is good. But day students have needs as well and I urge you to avail yourselves of the opportunity to speak to me.
I was ‘out’ with the Year 6 and 7 students at the end of last week: it was unseasonably cool, but your children were very active and hence, warm for the most part. Other adults have since made comments on their behaviour during the School’s first extended Activities session, too – all reports were good across the board and this is gratifying for us. Young people can be awkward, especially when they’re in different situations like last week’s outside venues – but yours weren’t. However, as the adults in their lives, our job continues inexorably doesn’t it – we are best placed, at home and at school, to continue making gentle but firm (not paradoxical, just honest) reminders to these people who are constantly learning social cues in this school environment. Good behaviours, appropriately recognised, can mold continuing habits.
The Athletics Carnival is to be held but, unlike the Swimming Carnival in Week 3, for the first time since being attached to the Middle School, I can’t encourage you to travel to TAS to see your children’s events. I know for a fact that Middle School people love to have their families at such major calendar events but, I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s just not worth the risk. We enjoy having you here as well and know that you will be in spirit at least.
I attended the dress rehearsal for The Wizard of Oz last night, however, in what is becoming characteristic fashion, in no way did it resemble a dress rehearsal. It was, and your children were – marvellous. So many hours of work over the last weeks (months, actually) were clearly evident. The most obvious characteristic? Our people enjoyed themselves very much and their success is as much the product of hard work as it is careful attention paid by our Creative and Performing Arts team ably led by Mr Andrew O’Connell.
I’m pleased so many of you have requested phone interviews with our Year 6 and 7 teachers later this week. As the term nears its end, I’m not sure whether the following comment distinguishes me as ‘Old’ or ‘New’ school, but that doesn’t matter really because it’s what I feel, and I’ve always felt this way in relation to interviews about general school performance: the ten minute sessions concern your children and the manner in which they’ve conducted themselves in class over the school’s longest term. It’s important that students know an interview concerns both their welfare and academic wellbeing. Further, in a productive way, it’s appropriate they are given some time to address issues that arise and since these (issues) concern them directly, it’s important that you communicate with them as soon as possible after the scheduled interview(s). We need always to encourage them to be truthful about academic performance; involving them in the parent and teacher communication process is one way of ensuring open and honest dialogue with them.
I wish you well and look forward to catching up as soon as we are able to meet.
Mr Mark Harrison
Head of Middle School
MR IAN LLOYD
Along with the Middle and Senior Schools, Junior School has been busy working with the School’s Critical Incident Management Team to prepare for eventualities relating to the impact of the Coronavirus situation. A letter with all adjustments to School events has been sent through to you and it is important reading. As we adapt to the necessary changes, clear communication will remain very important to us all.
In the event of disruption to normal classroom operations, Junior School students will be catered for according to their own stage of learning and each classroom teacher will, where possible, provide continued academic teaching and learning opportunities.
As for senior classes, the current timetable will still form the basis of all students’ days even when they are learning and studying from home. From Kindergarten to Year 5, a suite of various digital and printed resources will be available to students and their families. The design of this work will be, for the most part, accessible to students but assistance from those at home will be beneficial to enhance the experience (for everyone). The aim is to provide students with a range of relevant and challenging activities that they can share both with parents, other students and their teachers online or on their return to the classroom.
NOTE: Should students be required to work at home, the School will provide an appropriate device for those in Years 1 to 5 for online learning to be organised through their classroom teacher.
During normal (and where possible outside) school hours, teachers will be available to assist all students. In the first instance, please contact teachers via the online application being used at the time of the lesson, and/or via email. Where issues arise, please contact the school via the email email@example.com Other, perhaps more urgent issues, should be directed to 67765817 where messages will be regularly checked.
Mr Ian Lloyd
Head of Junior School
Happy Birthday to Joe Fenwicke for your special day this week.
|Wednesday 18 March||Year 2 Assembly – Cancelled|
|Friday 20 March||Indoor Hockey finals – The Den (see attached report)|
|Wednesday 25 March||JS Athletics Carnival ( No spectators allowed)|
|Wednesday 1 April||Year 1 Assembly – Cancelled|
|Wednesday 8 April||Transition Assembly – Cancelled|
|Thursday 9 April||Staff Day|
MRS CHRISTINE WRIGHT
Please note the following cancellations for our Junior School sport at this stage:
Cricket – has now finished for the season. No games or training.
Basketball – has now finished.
Indoor Hockey – Finals this Friday.
Gymnastics has now concluded – no more Monday sessions.
Tennis – last session will be with Justin Sherriff next Monday 23 March
Ball Skills – last session on Monday 23 March
Thank you for your understanding.
Mrs Christine Wright
Last Thursday our Junior School children were fortunate enough to enjoy a lovely day outdoors in preparation for our Athletics Carnival on Wednesday 25 March. The senior boys and girls competed in their Shotput event with Mrs Kellie Ward, completing this event for their house group and individual points. Whilst the Intermediate group competed for the Long Jump event.
Congratulations to the following children:
Senior shot put
1st – Chloe Dennison
2nd – Arabella Blanchard
1st – Sam Ford
2nd – Richard Ma
3rd – Joe Fenwicke
4th – Hugo Broun
Intermediate Long Jump
1st – Norah Al-Qahtani
2nd – Harriet Coupland
3rd – Layla Abu Assab
4th – Lucy Taylor
1st – Arthur White
2nd – Cameron Carruthers
3rd – Oliver Robb
4th – Xavier Stephen
Everyone else enjoyed participating keenly in sprinting, long distance events, discuss, high jump and relays.
Please be advised that at this stage our Junior School Athletics Carnival will be on Wednesday, 25 March. Unfortunately, should the carnival proceed, spectators will not be able to attend for the ongoing safety and well-being of all involved. Further information for this event will be put up on the TAS website in the next week.
I had the pleasure of taking the Year 3/4 team at basketball on Monday and was delighted with the progress they have made this year. Chelsea has improved her defence under the basket and was terrific at looking for the rebound off the hoop if it didn’t go in. Izzy did some fantastic dribbling and passing throughout the game and Jack was enthusiastic in attempting to take the ball off the opposition. They had a lot of fun sharing laughs with the other team and amongst themselves.
The Basketball Association has decided that there will be no more primary games for the remainder of this term. The training schedule will be relayed to you once we know. At this stage it is on Wednesday of this week but there will be no games or trainings after that.
Mrs Kirsty Brunsdon
The Year 5 Basketball team worked extremely hard during their game, having to play with only four players. Sam had a great game getting many intercepts and dribbling the ball to the hoop. Joe worked hard to be available whenever his team needed him. He was constantly looking for space to get away from his defender and once free, was calling for the ball. Andrew’s defence skills caused many ‘jump balls’ and turnovers. He fought hard for the ball and was able to score a few baskets for his team. Overall the boys worked extremely well together but ultimately went down to the Town Team.
Please note: The Armidale Basketball Association have decided to suspend all Junior School Monday night Basketball Games until further notice. An email will be sent out on Tuesday in regard to Wednesday trainings for the remainder of the term.
Miss Alice Woodhill & Mrs Kirsty Brunsdon
We are very excited to announce that both the Hurricanes and Tornadoes won their semi-final games last Friday. As a result, at this stage, both teams will play in the GRAND FINALS this coming Friday. The Hurricanes (Year 3 and 4) will play at 4pm at the Den and the Tornadoes (Year 5) at 6.00pm at the Den.
May I take this opportunity to thank Lochlan Nicoll and Katie Allen for their amazing work with the teams. Both students have worked incredibly hard to help develop the children’s skills and knowledge of the game. I have greatly appreciated their support and dedication. Watching them grow, as Junior Team coaches, has been as rewarding as watching the player’s development. A huge thank you to our Gappies and parent supporters as well, who are always there to cheer us on and let a hand when it is needed.
Mrs Tania Hardin