• A School in Good Heart

    A year ago, my wife and I attended the Senior Academic Prizegiving at my old school, Tauranga Boys College.

    I recall writing at that time a piece in which I registered how impressed we were at the evidence provided by the ceremony of a school in good heart, excellently led, and serving its pupils so that they achieved to the very best of their considerable abilities.

    This year, we again attended the annual Prizegiving and were again impressed by what it showed us of the school’s excellent spirit and high level of achievement.

    But this year, we had two additional reasons for being impressed. The first of these was intensely personal in nature. We were able to see our grandson, Benjamin Adams, awarded the distinction of becoming Dux of the school.

    His accolade was a proper recognition, not only of his academic prowess, but also of his commitment and application to his studies, and the effort he had put in to achieve his success. It was greeted by a standing ovation from all of those present – a salute to his exceptional abilities in which my wife and I were delighted to participate.

    When it came to the second reason for being impressed, we were able to be a little more dispassionate. It is the tradition at the school that the Head Boy, at the conclusion of his year of service in that capacity, addresses those present with his thoughts on what the year as Head Boy has meant to him and – perhaps even more importantly – what it has taught him.

    On this occasion, the task fell to a young man called Logan Green. It was a task – speaking to the large numbers present – that would have daunted most of us. He discharged it with great aplomb and confidence – but it was not just his manner and assurance that impressed us.

    It was the content of what he had to say that bespoke a young man who had thought deeply and carefully about what he might say. He took as his theme the role and concept of leadership and what constituted its true meaning – a topic that might rightly preoccupy many of us in view of events both at home and overseas, including what is currently happening in the US.

    He described a mode of leadership which he labelled “everyday” leadership, by which he meant leadership that did not depend on grand gestures and flamboyant posturing, but consisted instead in innumerable small, daily interactions, on a basis of common interests and mutual regard, between the leaders and the led.

    He rightly identified such an approach as building confidence between leaders and led, and drawing out the best from both. It is a concept of leadership that rests less on the self-importance of the leaders and more on the service they can render to the cause which they cherish in common with those they serve.

    We were greatly impressed by this thoughtful treatment of a complex subject – all the more remarkable when found in someone who seemed (at least to those – like my wife and me – of advanced years) just about to set off on life’s journey.

    We left the ceremony, not only in high spirits in light of our grandson’s success, but also marvelling at the school’s achievement in producing and developing a young man like Logan Green. The school is clearly doing some – or perhaps many – things right.

    Any school would be proud of exceptional alumni like Logan Green and Benjamin Adams. What was even more worthy of congratulation was the evidence provided by the ceremony that the school was enhancing the life chances of all its pupils by ensuring that, whatever level or range of ability they enjoyed, whatever their background and ethnicity, they were able to take the chances offered them by a school that cared about all its pupils.

    Well done, Tauranga Boys College.

    Bryan Gould
    17 November 2020