Partnering for academic excellence

Thursday, 5 Aug 2021

Dear Parents, every term the staff and I take an aspect of our mission statement and try to be intentional about it in our teaching practice. This term our focus is ‘academic excellence to the glory of God’. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the adjective ‘academic’ as ‘of, or relating to, performance in courses of study’. It is also interesting to note that ‘academic’ can mean ‘of, or relating to, literary or artistic rather than technical or professional studies’.

The Bible is a literary work with references to the arts, health and physical education, learning other languages, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences and technology. It is therefore important for us that our students develop an excellent understanding of all of the subject areas that they engage with to ensure they develop a proper understanding of who God is.

We also emphasise to students that being excellent does not mean being the best in the class but rather ensuring that each one of us always do our best. Since God has made each one of us differently, it does not make sense to compare ourselves with others but rather to reflect whether we have done our utmost for His highest.

The Bible is filled with many examples that show that not only has God made us all differently, but we all have a different purpose in His Kingdom. You just have to look around: there is no-one else like you! It is therefore counter-productive to compare ourselves to others.

A great example of Biblical excellence is demonstrated in Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). He said, “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability” (Matthew 25:15). Note how Jesus makes the point to His audience that we all have different abilities (not the main point of the story, but worth noticing). In the parable, the servants who have received five and two talents have doubled their master’s money and are praised for their faithful stewardship (Matthew 25:20-23). The servant who receives one talent, buries it in the ground instead of trying to invest the master’s money – Jesus calls him lazy and wicked (Matthew 25:26).

This parable teaches us an important principle of excellence: we need to make sure that we do our best since our best efforts come with a reward, i.e. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21, 23). When we demonstrate to the Lord that we are good stewards of the responsibilities He gives us, He knows that He can trust us with even more responsibility that allows His Kingdom to grow and expand.

We believe that each one of our students are called to make a difference in the world. We want to work with you to encourage them to always do their best. Research and experience show that high expectations in a loving environment lead to transformed lives and communities. We are excited to partner with you for your children’s education this term!

Barend Blom – Principal

Striving for excellence in oral presentations

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