Recently we held our leadership assembly for the new school leaders in Year 12. The following is an extract from my speech to the students. Recently I saw Avengers: Endgame. As I watched it, it had me thinking about leadership. The Avengers – especially Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, were all leaders in their own right, but they all had flaws.
They may have had amazing powers or abilities, but they were not perfect. They needed to work together. One of the statements in the movie is that the Avengers will do “whatever it takes’’ to make the world better. Normally this statement has a bad meaning, as people use it to cheat, or deceive to achieve a goal and say that the end justifies the means. But as the movie shows, “whatever it takes” has a new meaning – in other words, I will do whatever is
in my means to help another, even if it means self-sacrifice… And that is exactly the type of leadership we wish to see students show at school. At AIS, we believe servant leadership is the best form of leadership. In other words, we lead by helping others, and setting the right example. True leaders inspire, sometimes by words, but more commonly by deeds, that is, they set the example that others want to follow. Leaders work together to benefit others. As Albert Schweitzer said, Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
Similarly, all of us can be leaders but all of us need to act. There is another old saying, sometimes attributed to Edmund Burke or John Stuart Mill which says, The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.
This is a wonderful school community and I love leading it. I stand each day and watch students come to school happy to see their friends, and keen to be a part of AIS. But I also see some things that make me sad or disappointed – these things happen in the shadows. Occasionally (not often) Emails or social media accounts are set up and used to make someone else’s life difficult. Sometimes these accounts use the Schools name or have the AIS logo attached. They are not school accounts. Mean, nasty and unkind comments are then added by others as it is very tempting to join a group that targets another student or to add a comment.
My encouragement to all students is not just to stand by and do nothing – this only encourages bad things, but to act. To say to your friends that what they are doing is not right. To encourage them to take down inappropriate posts or accounts. After all, leaders act positively to make our school a better place for everyone.
The challenge for all of us, not just our student leaders is how do we harness the energy and enthusiasm of the school community to help the School be the best we can be for both our community and the world. And we can harness it by combining our own individual gifts for the benefit of others. Just like the Avengers we are much stronger together. When we do this we build community and through that we all build resilience.
This week, our school, and our leaders have been tested in the hardest possible way and I am very proud of them. It can seem overwhelming sometimes. Finally, it is important that we all remember this,
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow.
When we persevere, like the Avengers, we succeed… and our school is better for it.
Dr Roderick Crouch – Executive Principal