DR RACHEL HORTON
This week finds us all in a situation that we had hoped would not happen this year, but at TAS we were prepared for the possibility if required. Although we are not together on-site, and the campus is eerily quiet, the School is far from closed. Learning continues online in homes across the region. Our staff have flipped their teaching with very little notice, students have adapted with good grace and enthusiasm and advisor groups are running with themes ranging from “bring your pet(s)” to “summer hats”.
I find very little time to read for pleasure these days, but over the past week I have been dipping in and out of Julia Baird’s book Phosphorescence: on awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark. In the chapter on friendship, there is a wonderful line about friends being the crossbeams of our resilience. Friendships are what sustain us particularly through challenging times and for our students who are used to spending almost every day with their friends, it is important to ensure that they remain connected even through this short period apart. I am heartened by the fact that so many of the Year 12 students I have spoken to during lunches over the past few weeks have mentioned the friendship and support of their entire year group as something that stands out about their time at TAS.
While speculation abounds and social media often runs a little ahead of official announcements, I ask that when changes occur you are patient and allow us to wait for the official information before we communicate with our community. At the time of publication, we certainly anticipate that we will be able to return to on-site learning at the conclusion of the lockdown on Sunday and will send out relevant information as far in advance as we are able. At any time our current operating procedures alongside some useful links can be found in the parent portal.
Finally, while this news seemed inevitable, the AAGPS Winter sports season has now been officially cancelled. For TAS students this means that our talented shooters will not be able to compete in the AAGPS Rifle Shooting Championships this year and the final three AAGPS rugby fixtures at TAS will also not take place. Meanwhile Athletics has been postponed until later in the year, most likely towards the end of Term 4.
I am grateful to our families for their support this week and in particular, our boarding families who dropped everything at short notice to collect their students on Saturday. We all look forward to welcoming the students back onto the TAS campus as soon as possible.
Dr Rachel Horton
MR RICHARD NEWTON
MR LUKE POLSON
I’d like to offer my thanks to everyone for the way that they have embraced the online learning period. The learning packages and online components of the Junior School have been well received and I know that teachers put a lot of time into preparing these over the weekend and I thank them for that. Our Middle School and Senior school staff are to be thanked as well – moving content online is not simply just taking what would have been done in the classroom and doing it via Zoom. It takes careful planning, scaffolding and preparation of resources to ensure that it can be done remotely and I thank them all sincerely for that.
MR PAUL GADDES
Back to Zoom-learning for a little while. TAS staff are doing a great job of keeping parents informed on a timely basis. P&F Liaison Parents are doing a great job of sharing necessary information & answering questions for their year groups. We will get through this.
Ever the optimists, we will go ahead with TAS Golf Day as planned. Please book tickets at
Should the event get stalled by Covid we will organise refunds.
Details are on the banner below. Come and play or just for lunch. It’s certain to be fun!
Reserve the date for the next P&F meeting on Wednesday 8 September from 7 pm.
If you have anything you would like to raise with the P&F Executive, please send us an email on [email protected]
Mr Paul Gaddes
MR DAVID DRAIN
A big thanks to all those boarders’ families who were able to collect their children in a timely manner, at short notice, on Saturday afternoon. We are currently living in unprecedented times and your continued support of the school’s decision making regarding COVID-19 is greatly appreciated.
All going well in Armidale, over the coming days we will have the boarders back on-site as soon as practically possible. Any decision regarding will be circulated to all families once finalised.
The small number of boarders remaining on-site are being well looked after by the staff in Abbott House and the Girls Boarding House. Boarding routines have remained relatively unchanged including all meals continuing to be served in the Dining Hall. I am regularly checking on those boarders during meals and of an evening and all are in good spirits considering the circumstances.
Mr David Drain
Director of Boarding
MR HUON BARRETT
Last week I referred to the Olympics and how it highlights the wonderful celebration of sportsmanship, diversity, comradery, and athletic ability.
On that front, I felt privileged to witness the amazing story that unfolded in the Decathlon 1500m event. When Cedric Dubler sacrificed his own personal best to encourage and support the success of his mate and fellow competitor Ash Moloney.
It was priceless to see the satisfaction and sheer excitement from Dubler as he realised what he had enabled Moloney to achieve. Dubler’s support, encouragement and willingness to sacrifice his own result enabled Moloney to push through the pain and set a personal best time to ensure he secured a Bronze Medal, a first in Decathlon for Australia.
We all have that ability to support and encourage each other and putting others before ourselves can be just as rewarding as winning a medal.
Given our current situation in Armidale, sport is on hold, and we will be guided by the authorities as to when we will return to play, including organised training. However, as the week progresses, I encourage each of you to keep active. Physical activity helps us to achieve better sleep patterns, engage more productively when we are studying and releases endorphins which helps us to feel good about ourselves. Parents, please encourage your children to participate in 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity every day and I urge students to keep a record of their activity each day.
Currently, the guidelines for physical activity in the Armidale region include:
You can take part in exercising or outdoor recreational activities that comply with the gathering rules (no more than 2 people outdoors – training with ONE friend or your whole family).
Currently, no community sport (training or matches) is allowed in the local government areas where the stay at home rules apply.
For further information see the guidance on sport and recreation.
Mr Huon Barrett
Director of Co-curricular
MR MARK HARRISON
Hello Middle School families. This week is an unusual one – I decided to send you the letter I sent to your children for this week’s assembly. Some of it will be instructive for you; some of it will be informative.
I thought I’d write a letter rather than have an assembly in the traditional sense (despite the fact, I freely admit, that a Zoom assembly would be different for you people). However, I’m also thinking that on any given day in a lockdown scenario, you’d be having your fair share of hours and hours of screen time. Screen time (visual and audio) can be exhausting, whereas silent reading can give you some time to breathe, to do, and take in things, at your leisure, really. I’m a lucky person: reading (and speaking about reading) basically is my job, and it has been most of my working life!
Well, the last time I wrote to many of you was Term 2, 2020 – the previous isolation period. I remember feeling a bit strange: the place was eerily quiet (as it is today); empty buildings seemed somehow redundant, useless (as they are today); everyone was absent (as you are now). The only active thing that occupied my mind on any given day was an especially unintelligent peewee, foraging for scraps when Middle School people weren’t even here to provide them. Believe it if you will, but I think it’s back – still crazy and clearly hungry, but it is company after a fashion. It even looks challenged, this bird.
Well, you’ve flown the coop (but, I hasten to add, I don’t think you’re anything like peewees) and we’ve not even had the opportunity to wish you well as we did the last time. It all happened very quickly but I’m reliably informed by Ms Crozier and Mr Brauer that you boarders did as you were required and that you helped one another – and us. Thank you. Because of the swift nature of the Armidale lockdown, people were caught unawares: day students may have left chargers at school, for example – if you need (emphasis on need) something from here, please contact Mrs Frost by email, and we’ll do our best to meet a family member at the Brown Street gates and pass the item through the car window. You are now where you need to be and at this stage, you are there for the whole of Week 4. Be safe and well: get up during you ‘off’ times; walk around; offer to help your families. In a sense, being at home is a bonus for you, so make it a pleasure for them – you’re all old enough now to ‘help out’, so just do helpful things – without having to be asked to do these things.
As well, I want you to do your best during Zoom times: be punctual; be sure to be respectful of all others; get as much of your work done as possible in the required time frames. As I’ve implied, be sure to look out for (and after) one another. Some people’s internet service will be sorely tested, and connections may lapse or collapse completely. If this is the case, and it’s likely to be in households where more than one student must complete online learning, do what you can by assisting us with other students who, for whatever reason, can’t complete some work requirements. In short, help others as much as you can. If you’re prepared to do this, you’ll be helping us in a major way. While we have learnt to navigate online learning systems, we don’t do this kind of work all the time. So, help teachers wherever possible. This would please me very much. I’m reasonably easy to please: the times when I like my job most are those one when staff tell me about how happy they are with you and your efforts. Just do as you are required, and we’ll all be happy.
I’m fortunate – TAS Talks will be sent out in a few days. I had a glitch last week and the ‘visuals’ from our last assembly in Week 3 couldn’t be published, so I’ll be sure to do that this week. The assembly was a good one, largely because you people ‘drove’ it. In a way, I’m sorry we didn’t Livestream it. Some staff helped us, too. Mr Collett, again, provided musical accompaniment during the Art segment and Ms Zeros happily volunteered to oversee the actual completion of that segment. Neither member of staff was required to help us out, but both did. I wonder whether there’s anyone out there who appreciated the voluntary efforts of both these teachers. At the very least, there must be someone. Why don’t you send these members of staff an email – simply thanking them for their time since they were so generous to fill yours with worthwhile, not to mention entertaining, activities.
As you’ve been informed, we’re all online and we’re here to assist your management of this period of learning. As indicated, if you need to contact us, simply send an email and we’ll do what we can to help you.
Most of our regular assemblies feature a musical, artistic, or dramatic element but that’s not so easy for me today. However, during the isolation period last year, I sent you a poem I wrote (I don’t do this often, mind you). It’s not an especially inspired one but it could, as a one-off, substitute for the otherwise cultural/creative aspects of our normal assemblies. The fact that it can also be seen as a reflection on the ‘natural world’ also constitutes my awareness and acknowledgement of the upcoming Science Week (14 – 22 August). So, for these philosophically blended IB reasons, I’m going it include it again, here. If you read it before, there’s no requirement for you to do so again. But there are many who’ve not read it, so ‘feel free’…to do as you wish.
Mr Mark Harrison
Head of Middle School
The horizon ends with its poplars,
A line, sentinels, all quiet,
Just touched by the breath of a breeze,
And ignorant, or perhaps oblivious
To the frenzied undertones of the House.
A car occasionally perverts the silence,
And temporarily humbles boisterous frogs,
Cavorting in the unseen, mud-luscious ponds
That spill from Croft Dam.
The nets are quiet, too.
Not boasting of the in swingers
Or the cover drive
That usually people them
A birth-marked moon
Glances as its sheets of cloud disperse,
And it palely competes with the indifferent
Toilet lights that shed feathers of moths.
The dog track, ringed with its insidious gems of light,
And patronized by its dutiful four-legged sprinters,
Distracts me from the natural.
And the dogs, with tongues, pink and wet,
Eager to jump from their jaws,
Drop saliva onto dry dust
Pocked with paw prints.
A vintage garbage bin at the cricket pitch dully glints,
And alone, it waits for morning
With its team of starch-white admirers,
Eager to hit it with red leather balls.
Quiet night, tranquil, humanized, calm,
Sanctuary for all dreamers
Keep your mysticism.
What we don’t understand, we can know in our own way,
MR IAN LLOYD
Being in lockdown has a sense of déjà vu for us all, I’m sure. While we have been here before, the challenge of remote learning presents differently from one family to another and so we must all be patient and manage the best we can. I am so impressed with the way our teachers, families and ultimately students are coping in these early days of staying at home and there has been ample evidence of this. Please be assured that we are all available to assist where needed and those of us at school can be reached by email or phone through the Junior School Reception.
Having said that, we have had some wonderful photos sent in, evidence of the work being done at home and I include some here for you.
Best wishes to you all….
Congratulations to the following students that received School Spirit Awards last week:
Talon Allsop, Maggie Wood, Mishkah Alrdadi, Patrick Kim, Bronte Polson, Duncan Klabe, Paddy Bourke, Ruby Rice, Ethan Downes, Lachie Wood, Maya Slade, Evelyn Brownlie, Layla Abu Assab, Toby White, Arabella Hodges, Minnie Chick, Zana Ross and Lucas van der Werf.
Wishing Paddy Bourke, Freddie Post and Archie Tonkin many happy returns for their birthdays this week.
Mr Ian Lloyd
Head of Junior School
|Wednesday 11 August||Year 4 Assembly – Hoskins Centre 2.45pm (postponed)|
|Thursday 12 August||Year 3-4 Kayaking and Swim & Survive (postponed)|
|Friday 13 August||Activities Day (postponed)|
|PSSA Athletics (postponed)|
|Wednesday 18 August||Year 1 Assembly – Hoskins Centre (2.45pm (streamed to parents)|
|Wednesday 25 August||Book Week Assembly|
|Thursday 26 August||Year 3-4 Kayaking and Swim & Survive|
|Friday 27 August||Book Parade|
What a great performance by the TAS Tigers on Saturday.
Daniel and Rory both had birthdays through the week and really showed their maturity on the pitch. Daniel scored a goal just before the halftime break, to tie it up. The Westside Blues, who were clearly influenced by Matilda’s great performance, were relentless in the second half. The Tigers skills have significantly improved, and we will come back after the break, bigger and better than ever.
Thank you cakes by Anna for the halftime treats.
Mr Ken Secker
On a picturesque Saturday morning at Rologas, the Tornadoes took to the field to take on the North Armidale Red Devils. After a fairly tight opening few minutes, the Tornadoes opened the scoring through Toby ‘Thunderfoot’ Whysall, who unleashed an unstoppable thunderbolt of a shot from all of 30 metres and left the Red Devils keeper standing still.
From that point onwards, the TAS Tornadoes really took control of the game and displayed the tenacity and teamwork that we’ve been working on in training. The path to goal began to open up and Oliver ‘Oliverinho’ Maxwell took full advantage, scoring four goals to complete a very comfortable 5-0 win for the Tornadoes.
The boys should be very proud of their efforts this week. The teamwork is really starting to pay off, with lots of passing and movement starting to creep into their game. It’s a pleasure to watch them all enjoy the game and continue to improve their skills and the win is an excellent reward for their efforts.
Well done boys!
Mr Darren Maxwell