One of the great strengths of this community is our diversity.
Our College is a microcosm of the world – we are a mini representation of the richness of diversity that makes our world so beautiful.
As a Catholic College, we celebrate and recognise the unique reflection of the face of God that each and every one of us is. We believe firmly that we are made in the “image and likeness of God”, a God who is all that is good. This means that, as the image and likeness of God, we too are inherently “good”. And that God has deliberately made us who we are and holds us preciously in the palm of God’s hand.
As a Berry Street Education Model school, we respond to this by practicing “unconditional positive regard”. Carl Rogers, one of the world’s most influential psychologists, coined this term with the following cornerstone:
A general definition is the attitude of complete acceptance and love, whether for yourself or for someone else. When you have unconditional positive regard for someone, nothing they can do could give you a reason to stop seeing them as inherently human and inherently lovable. It does not mean that you accept each and every action taken by the person, but that you accept who they are at a level much deeper than surface behaviour (Rogers, 1951).
It is imperative that we, as a community of over 1400 people in one place at any given time of the school day, practice unconditional positive regard. It is important that we do not fall into the trap of “tolerating” those who are created differently to us, but that we take an “attitude of complete acceptance and love”. And it is important that we recognise the face of God in all our students, in all our staff, and in all our families.
This position of unconditional positive regard is at the heart of our classroom practice. The Thomas Carr College staff work hard at recognising and celebrating the richness in the diversity of the students who sit before them in the classroom. They adjust the learning activities and ensure multiple engagement points to ensure all students are able to learn. They form strong relationships with their students and learn about who they are, where they come from, and where they are heading, celebrating this diversity. And, as a broader community, we too celebrate this diversity and richness. Through our curriculum, through our Luminosity Program and through our whole school activities and events, we recognise the strength in our diversity. It is this diversity that gives us a glimpse of the face of God – a collective expression of all that is good.
So, I encourage us all to contemplate what this means – to live life with unconditional positive regard for all who we meet along the journey. It is my experience that through engaging with the world in this way I receive more than I give. I am blessed beyond imagination because I live and work in this richly diverse community. I am shaped by this experience and, my hope is, that our students too will be enriched because they are part of the intricate pattern that is Thomas Carr College.