Through the many discussions about why we exist as a school and how that should be reflected in our vision statement, it became very clear there is a high level of agreement in our community that we want our students to be people who influence their world with integrity. When this became clear, the discussion then became centered
around the part we play in that development.
All too often we easily fall into thinking that influence only applies to people who have a platform: opportunity and recognition in a given field to express their beliefs, opinions and values. However, every single one of us are people of influence. This influence is extended when we engage in social media, when we vote in politics, when we participate in local clubs or church, when we talk with our neighbour, in fact, it is extended whenever we connect with other people in every sphere of our lives. Several questions then arise: what influence are we exerting? How are we contributing to the atmosphere, the culture – the very way of being in the spheres we belong to? What influence are we hoping our young people will exert? And, how are we influencing them to become that person?
Most of us would agree that people of integrity have certain qualities. We would usually describe them as trustworthy, honest, just, and consistent in the way they live out their values regardless of the circumstances. It is also equally true that a person of integrity is a person who is being themselves. To be yourself requires self- awareness about your strengths, talents, and passions. It is also necessary to have inner assurance that who you are is valuable and purposeful.
What part do we then play in our young people becoming people who influence their world with integrity? Firstly, we support them through encouragement and through establishing a strong, healthy identity as people who are fearfully and wonderfully made. We build their capabilities and help them identify and apply their strengths. We give them opportunities to explore, face challenges and grow in their passions, skills, and character. We teach them mind sets and habits of thinking that equip them with practical strategies to manage their emotions, form healthy relationships and to think in ways that promote flourishing. We support them in developing agency, particularly in the secondary years, where they learn to make choices about their education and to be proactive in their growth. Along with supporting our students, we empower them to use the voice they have been given to express themselves and to contribute effectively. We empower them to be all they have been created to be and to walk confidently knowing they have been created purposefully and wonderfully by God who loves them lavishly.
The many discussions did bring about a change in our vision statement; a change which I hope expresses more accurately the part we play in our students living the life God has created them for and in doing so influencing their world with integrity.
We exist to support and empower students to influence their world with integrity.