2023 Term 4 Week 9   |   06.12.2023

TAS Talks Term 4 Week 9

01. From the Principal


With the end of the school year upon us, we are in celebration mode, looking forward to our end-of-year events, Junior School Speech Day, Middle School final assembly and Middle and Senior School Speech Day.

My congratulations go to all those students receiving awards this week and also to those who have worked hard to achieve outcomes that they are proud of this year.

While the end of the year and the approach of Christmas is a cause for reflection and celebration, it is also with some sadness that we say goodbye to a number of staff.

This week, we farewell the Director of Creative Arts, Mr Andrew O’Connell, after nearly 14 years at TAS. Mr O’Connell has led the growth in profile, quality and success of the Creative Arts at TAS, both in terms of curriculum and co-curriculum. Mr O’Connell has also been an integral part of so many other areas of school life, including as a ropes instructor for cadets, in boarding, and managing the School’s Round Square involvement for some time. He is moving to take up a position where he will find new challenge and opportunity, as Head of Creative and Performing Arts at Newcastle Grammar.

After more than eight years service at the School, predominantly as Director of Risk and Compliance and Company Secretary, Ms Susannah Warrick will start 2024 in a new role as Senior Manager of the Office of the Vice Chancellor at UNE.

Ms Alix Goudge farewells the School after six and a half years as Counsellor. Ms Goudge has been a tremendous support to students, and indeed staff, in times of need over the years. She is moving home to Orange along with her children Angus, Oliver and Pippi.

Mr Douglas Fawcett and Mrs Grania Fawcett are leaving Armidale to move to South Australia with their family where Mr Fawcett will take up a position as Head of Boarding at Pembroke School in Adelaide and Mrs Fawcett will join the school as a Junior School teacher.

From the Junior School, both Mr Toby Armstrong and Miss Lara Nicholls leave to start new roles in schools in Canberra (Canberra Grammar) and Sydney (Ravenswood) respectively. They have both brought a good deal of passion and enthusiasm to their classes over the past 2 years and will be great additions to their new schools.

Mr Hugo Catterall departs TAS to move to Sydney where he will be working with a lighting production company, Chameleon Touring Systems.

Ms Sandika Weerakoon also finishes the year as a wonderful teaching assistant in our vibrant Pre-Kindergarten class.

We wish all of these staff and those students who are leaving us the very best in their new ventures.

I would like to finish by wishing you all a peaceful and joy-filled festive season. I look forward to welcoming students back next year for an exciting and rewarding year.


Dr Rachel Horton

02. From the Deputy Principal


We have made it to the final week of the academic year!

I would like to acknowledge all the staff and students who took part in our annual camp last week. The shared experience and challenges faced and overcome by the students is something special and has undoubtedly built connections that will last a lifetime. 

In addition, the Junior School Finding Nemo production was an amazing showcase and reflection of the talent our Junior School students possess. I congratulate Mrs Leasa Cleaver and all the staff involved in supporting students to unlock their talent and to create such a wonderful performance for our community. 

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the students, parents and staff for their support and contribution throughout 2023. TAS is a very special place enhanced by our strong community and the connections we share.

I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas break. Enjoy the time with family and friends, I look forward to welcoming all new and returning students for the first day of 2024 on Tuesday 30 January. 


Mr Ray Pearson
Deputy Principal

03. Calendar of Events

Thursday 7 DecemberJunior School Speech DayGymnasium (9.00 am)
Middle School Final Assembly2.00 pm
Friday 8 DecemberSpeech DayGymnasium (9.30 am)
Term Break
Wednesday 24 JanuaryStaff Day
Thursday 25 JanuaryStaff Day
Monday 29 JanuaryStaff Day / Boarders Return
Tuesday 30 JanuaryClasses Resume


04. From the P&F


Wishing everyone a happy and healthy festive season with family. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported the P&F this year by either organising, contributing to or attending P & F events.

Christmas Puddings 

Please remember to collect your TAS P&F Christmas Pudding from the school reception this week.

Contact P&F Executive

If you have anything you would like to raise with the P&F Executive, please send us an email at pandf@as.edu.au


Mr Paul Gaddes
P&F President

05. From the Acting Chaplan


The Christmas season is often a time when we think more about peace, pray for peace and even sing carols about peace. I’m sure the theme of peace at Christmas comes from Jesus being known as the ‘Prince of Peace’ and that ‘Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end’ Isaiah 9: 6 – 7. Indeed, when the angel announced Jesus’s birth to the nearby shepherds the heavenly host sung praises to God saying: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests” Luke 2: 13 – 14. In student Chapels the last few weeks we have been looking at how Jesus really is the Prince of Peace and that ‘of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end’, despite there currently being terrible war and conflict in the world. While Jesus could end these wars, because as Isaiah 9 also tells us he is Mighty God, this isn’t why he came. Jesus didn’t come to earth to stop every earthly conflict. He came to bring an even bigger, more important peace for humanity – peace between us and God. If God’s greatest commands are to love him with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love others as ourselves (Matthew 22: 34 – 40), when we don’t do this, it is called sin and sin causes a rift, conflict between us and God. But because of God’s great love for us, he sent Jesus to fix this conflict for us, because we are unable to fix it ourselves. This is why Jesus’s arrival on earth is such wonderful news and really is worth celebrating. Jesus didn’t just come to be a special little baby whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas. He grew to be a man to teach us about God and how we can have peace with God and be in relationship with him. And then Jesus made the way for us to have peace with God. It is through Jesus’s death and resurrection, our sins – that part of us that doesn’t want to love God and love others, are atoned for. Romans 5 tells us that it is through faith in Jesus and what he has done for us, we have peace with God. Then through His Spirit’s transforming work in us, that peace will begin to flow into our lives and relationships (see John 14: 25 – 27, 2 Corinthians 5: 17 – 19, Galatians 5: 22 – 26). And as a consequence, rather than working towards a place of peace, we now work from a place of peace and experience the great joy peace with God brings to our lives (Luke 2: 8 – 11).

In regard to earthly wars, the Bible tells us that the conflict and war in our world is caused by the sin that disrupts our relationships with God and with each other—from the personal to international level. As long as sin remains, it will undermine every human effort to achieve long-lasting peace. And yet the Bible also makes it clear that there is a way for us to experience personal peace – through trusting in the Prince of Peace until he returns and brings about an end to the old order of things. On that day he will institute a new order, a new heaven and a new earth, where division, hatred, injustice and war will have no place for God’s people and they will live in his presence and enjoy his peace forever. Until the day Jesus returns, it is right for us and nations to not stop seeking justice, righteousness, peace and to not stop praying for countries at war and for the innocent people impacted by it. After all, Jesus says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Wishing the TAS Community a very blessed and joy-filled Christmas. Please see the fliers in the community notices for Armidale Anglican Church Carols and Christmas service times.


Mrs Joanne Benham
Acting Chaplain

06. From the Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning


As we approach the end of another academic year and gear up for well-deserved summer activities, I urge each student to take a moment to reflect on the achievements, lessons learned, and personal growth experienced throughout the year. It’s in these reflections that we find building blocks for an even more successful journey ahead. A highlight of this week is our upcoming Speech Day, where we will come together to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding achievements of our students. We will recognise those who have excelled not only academically but also in various aspects of school life, and we look forward to applauding their hard work and dedication.

For our 2024 Year 12 students, the holiday season offers an opportunity to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. While we understand the importance of rest and rejuvenation, we also encourage Year 12 students to engage in focused revision and preparation during the break. Many teachers have assigned specific holiday homework to ensure our seniors are well-prepared for the upcoming HSC year. Year 10s have already received confirmation of their Year 11 subjects along with the required textbooks. If you haven’t already, please ensure you have ordered textbooks and materials over the summer ready for Week 1 of the new school year. Additionally, Year 8 and 9 students will receive an email this week detailing their elective subjects for 2024.

To keep parents informed about their child’s progress, end-of-year reports are being emailed this week, providing a comprehensive overview of each student’s academic performance and highlighting strengths and areas for growth. We encourage parents to take the time to review these reports and recognise the efforts and accomplishments of their children over the past academic year. This provides an excellent opportunity to initiate conversations about identifying both strengths and areas that may need improvement.

It is genuinely a pleasure to extend my congratulations to the Year 9 and 10 students who were presented with academic medallions in yesterday’s assembly. This well-deserved recognition is a testament to your achievements and the high standards you have set for yourselves. Additionally, we look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our Year 6 – 8 students during the upcoming Middle School assembly on Thursday. Furthermore, this week Diligence and Sustained Effort awards will be distributed, recognising those students who consistently give their best in every lesson. We applaud your perseverance and determination. These awards are a special acknowledgement of those students who consistently give their best in every lesson and recognise the importance of their sustained hard work in shaping the positive learning environment we cherish at our school.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!


Mrs Donella Tutt
Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning

07. From the Director of Boarding


With the Middle and Senior School Speech Day concluding at approximately 11.15 am on Friday, all boarders have been advised to vacate their respective boarding houses by midday. This will allow all Heads of House to attend the staff Christmas Party, where a number of staff farewells will take place. Heads of House have already advised their boarders that all personal belongings must be removed from dormitories and rooms at the end of term so each House can be thoroughly cleaned over the Christmas break. Boarders should discuss in-house storage options directly with their respective Heads of House.

Heads of House will be in contact with their respective house families in the New Year regarding information pertinent to the start of Term 1 2024, including boarding House opening times on Monday, 29 January, and the Coast Weekend from Friday, 02 – Sunday, 04 February 2024.

Wishing you all a festive and safe Christmas break.


Mr David Drain
Director of Boarding

08. From the Head of Creative Arts


It’s the last TAS Talks for the term, the year, and my last one after a decade of sharing with you all the most wonderful news and updates and praise for the one-of-a-kind Creative Arts program. From epic school productions to spectacular concerts, amazing excursions to unique masterclasses, and group accomplishments to individual excellence – we’ve done it all year after year and enjoyed every second of it. It has been so uplifting to see the Creative Arts go from strength to strength, to overcome the challenges of the pandemic through ingenuity and passion, and for watching and celebrating the individual journeys along the way.

Even as the term was coming to a close the Creative Arts space was still being filled to the brim with activities. The Band Night was a stunning success, showcasing such a range of talent across all year groups. There was something truly heartwarming about seeing authentic vertical integration, with students from Middle and Senior school sharing the stage with such a love of music and performance. Stage 5 Visual Art courses filled the Hoskins foyer with wonderful artworks (the BowWOW exhibition a particular highlight) and the Stage 5 VFX and Screen Magic short film came out looking fantastic, and can be enjoyed here: https://youtu.be/4sMEJ9PVViE

And today the Cash Cup shall surely be a wonderful display of Art, Dance, Drama and Music to celebrate the end of another busy year.

Next year shall definitely be a different year for all of us. But each year is always different – our Creative Arts program has never played it safe and has always looked to change and grow and explore what is new or challenging or groundbreaking. I have the utmost confidence that TAS will continue to lead the region in terms of the passion for, and love of, the Arts and I eagerly look forward to driving back up the hill to continue to celebrate the marvellous accomplishments of the students, staff, and wider community.

Mr Andrew O’Connell
Head of Creative Arts

09. From the Head of Middle School


It is hard to believe that we have made it to this point of the year. As the academic program wraps up and activities for the year completed, we now turn to the final end of year events. I look forward to seeing many of you at the Middle School Lunch and Final Assembly tomorrow and Middle and Senior School Speech Day on Friday.

It was great to see the safe return of all of our Year 6,7 and 8 students from a busy and successful Activities Week last week. Again, special thanks go to the Year 6, 7 and 8 staff for their incredible organisation of the many and varied activities that our students enjoyed throughout the week away. On behalf of all, I want to thank these people for their support of your children not only during Activities Week but also throughout the year. These people, and in fact all the staff who supported them, deserve a long, restful holiday break.

2023 has been ‘full’ and I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support of us. Overall, it’s been a very productive and successful year. As we now look towards the break to come, I hope that it is a productive, restful and safe holiday period for all. I wish you all a happy, holy and safe Christmas and New Year period and look forward to seeing everyone in the new year.


Mr Luke Polson
Head of Middle School

10. Activities Week

It was certainly an action packed Activities Week! Photos and videos from various programs that give just a glimpse of the fun, adventure and challenge, can be found on the website gallery on the Parent Portal.


Mr Tim Hughes 
Media Manager

11. From the Head of Junior School



What an absolute spectacle Finding Nemo Jr was to behold. We are confident that all who were able to attend one of the four shows enjoyed the opportunity to see Junior School students of all ages performing with confidence in front of a large audience. Our sincere thanks to the entire community for their assistance in providing this fabulous extra-curricular opportunity – from the incredible assistance at the various working bees, to the veritable army of parents assisting with make-up before the show, from support at home in learning songs and lines to the incessant encouragement that was likely required to ensure our budding thespians were able to “just keep swimming” to the very end, thank you for your assistance. Photos from the show can be found in the website gallery on the Parent Portal.

Students across all ages have spent this morning at Monckton Aquatic Centre at the Junior School Pool Party. It has been a tremendous opportunity to let our individual and collective hair down after an incredibly busy and successful term and, indeed, year, and we are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate with one another in a less formal environment.

Our community will formally acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our students over the course of this year in the Junior School Speech Day, in which we will also celebrate some of the many successes throughout 2023. We hope that you are able to attend this significant event in the School calendar, and remind our community that students are to wear their formal uniform for this occasion. Families may take their child(ren) home after Speech Day should they so choose, and are asked to sign out through Junior School Reception as normal prior to departing. Those who remain at school will change into either their sport or House uniform immediately after the conclusion of Speech Day before participating in a range of sporting activities throughout the remainder of the day. Given the forecast weather conditions contingency plans are already in place in the event it is deemed unsafe for students to be participating in active pursuits during this time.

In staffing news, we are delighted to announce that Mrs Lauren Haron and Mrs Vanessa Harwood will both join the Junior School teaching team in 2024. Mrs Haron returns to Armidale in the new year after teaching across multiple year levels at Pittsworth State School near Toowoomba since 2016.  She completed her secondary education at PLC Armidale before attending Griffith University in Queensland. Mrs Harwood is already known to many in the community, having lived and worked in Armidale for an extended period of time, most recently at Drummond Memorial Public School, where she has taught across a range of year levels and held a variety of leadership roles. Prior to this, Mrs Harwood taught at both Kelly’s Plains Public School and Victoria Point State School in Brisbane.


Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to the following Junior School students that celebrate their birthdays over the summer break:
Fatimah Alkadi, Hugh Blackwell, Evelyn Brownlie, Buster Bush, Sarah Chittenden, Lachie Chiu, Max Dennison, Joseph Drain, Patrick Kim, Duncan Klabe, Morrie Rylands, Danesh Samadi, Sebastian Abbott, Liliana Bruno, Scout Bush, Baxter Carruthers, Ellie Chiu, Onome Coast, Wilbur Drain, Lachie McDowell, Noah McGinness, Daniel Mo, Sienna Nelson-Straub, Bronte Polson, Dino Rajendra, Sansa Ranawake, Elliott Schaeffer, Lara Thavapalasundaram and Elijah Williams.


Mr Scott Chittenden
Head of Junior School

Upcoming Events

Wednesday 6 DecemberPool PartyMonckton Aquatic Centre (9-4 pm)
Thursday 7 DecemberJunior School Speech DayGymnasium ( 9am)
School concludes
Wednesday 24 JanuaryStaff Day
Thursday 25 JanuaryStaff Day
Monday 29 JanuaryStaff Day / Boarders Return
Tuesday 30 JanuaryClasses Resume


Community Notices