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Celebrating Foundation Day in the year of ‘truth’

On May 19 All Saints celebrated the anniversary of its establishment.

Foundation Day celebrations in 2023 were marked by a special whole-school assembly which featured the awarding of the prestigious Foundation Day and Pegasus Creative Writing accolades.

It also included a very moving and memorable interview with alumnus Craig Costello, a former school captain and student of All Saints, who is currently working as the Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research in Washington, USA.

The interview was a follow up from Foundation Day 2022, when Craig wrote a beautiful letter of thanks to All Saints’ founding headmaster the Reverend Canon Len Nairn.

Reverend Nairn subsequently shared this letter at the assembly, moving many in the audience to tears, for it was he who generously agreed on behalf of the school to sponsor Craig with a full scholarship almost three decades ago.

During Craig’s 2023 Foundation Day interview he discussed this pivotal moment in his education, as well as the valuable memories and lessons he gleaned from his life at school.

Craig’s candid and honest messages throughout the interviews certainly hearkened to All Saints’ theme of truth, and they are all available for viewing in the Week 5, Term 2 edition of Saints Alive

Headmaster reflects on Foundation Day, and his own role in the School's ecosystem

Headmaster Patrick Wallas says that on days like Foundation Day, we naturally tend to ask ourselves what it means to be a member of the All Saints community.

“You start to reflect more on just how grateful you are from everything you’ve received from the school,” he says.

“This is my 22nd year as Headmaster and I still wake up in the morning excited about coming to work and looking forward to seeing everyone, and I love all of my interactions with staff, students and parents.”

““For me, All Saints provides a sense of really authentic belonging.””
— Headmaster Patrick Wallas

Mr Wallas hopes that each student finds the time during the various important days throughout the year to get in touch with their own sense of gratitude.

“I think what days like Foundation Day can do is just remind us that we are part of something rather special,” he says.

“Our journey through all sets will nourish us in future years. That might be through the friendships we make, it might be through those key teachers who've made a difference in our lives, or it might just be that we've been encouraged to be kind and compassionate with each other. But I think the legacy of an All Saints education is something worth treasuring.”

Messages from the Foundation Day Award winners

The Foundation Day Award each year is presented to six extraordinary young men and women, two each from Years 6, 9 and 12, who live out and embody the ethos of our school.

The Foundation Day Award winners this year were Hannah McLachlan and Benjamin Zannakis from Junior School, Saxon Miller and Ava Sutcliffe from Middle School and Tara Sabet and Zachary Stevenson from Senior School.

We asked these students a few key questions about life at All Saints and what winning the Foundation Day Award means to them.

What is it to be an All Saints student?

Tara: To be an All Saints student for me means being able to take a chance and go for opportunities that may seem out of reach, but knowing that you’re going being supported and embraced even if you find yourself falling short. During our lifetime I don’t think there are many environments that invite exploration and achievement while simultaneously celebrating mistakes and recognising their ability to change us into better more moral people. But that can’t be done by staff or students alone, All Saints has this community dynamic where the relationship between the two is prioritised, and as a student you have a role in not just being the best version of yourself for you, but for everyone around you.

Zachary: I think being an All Saints student is something only a very few people will ever get to experience. However, it is an experience which you cannot describe. Rather I believe being an All Saints student is more about what you do and less about what you say. Being an All Saints student allows you to flourish with whatever venture you want to achieve. It allows to explore and dream and pursue desires, it allows you to be you. It’s hard to put into words what it means to be an All Saints student but I can say one think I wouldn’t want to have my education anywhere else.

Ben:  It is a privilege to be an All Saints student. We are immersed in a supportive community of good values such as kindness, compassion, acceptance, truth and faith. This creates a strong foundation for us to grow and a wonderful environment for learning. There are a broad range of learning activities for us to explore whether you like school work, sport, technology, music, drama or chess, there is something here for everyone.

Ava: To me being an All Saints Student is being a part of community that supports whatever you want to do and pushes you to be the best you can. You make friends for a lifetime.

Hannah: To be an All-Saints student means a lot of things to me. Firstly, it means that I am privileged enough to enjoy endless learning opportunities and adventures that I will never take for granted. It means that I am lucky enough to have been gifted with amazing facilities and the support of amazing teachers, family and friends. I am proud to wear the All-Saints uniform and am always striving to represent this incredible school to the best of my ability.

What does the award signify for you?

Tara: The Foundation Day award for me focuses on creating an environment where the values of the school are reflected and practiced. I think it’s so important to notice that the practice of these values exceed far beyond the few people that receive the award and in fact it’s prominent in entire cohorts of students. That is achievement that I think should be celebrated as it’s very hard to come across such big groups of people that all share the same goal, and a very humble one at that.

Hannah: I am very honoured to have received a prestigious Foundation Day Award and am grateful that the majority of my peers believe in the quality of my character. I have learnt so many life lessons in my 8 years at All Saints and have many people to thank for helping me approach every day with truth, faith and compassion.

Ben: I am honoured to have received a Foundation Day Award. I think there are many students who possess the qualities necessary to receive this award and I am grateful to have been recognised by my fellow students. I would like to congratulate the other recipients and thank everyone for the kind comments I received upon being presented with this award.

Ava: The Foundation Day award signifies to me that my peers and teachers believe in me and see that I’ve tried the best I can throughout my years of school just like many of my peers. I think one of the biggest parts however, as being a teenager can be hard sometimes, is that it motivates me to never stop being who I am.

Zachary: For the things I do for the life of the school I don’t need or want recognition. However, being awarded this award is a extraordinary feeling as it shows that my service towards the school doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s a very special and unique feeling, that I am very thankful to have.

What is the best thing about All Saints?

Tara: I think the best part of All Saints is its ability to cater for so many different talents, interests, and weaknesses, and find an important place for them all in the school. I love that All Saints doesn’t discriminate between what is objectively useful or common talent (like sports), compared to more niche interests that students may have. Whether there is a club made or lunch time put aside, there is always a sense that what you love and enjoy is something that will be celebrated, and an effort will be made to ensure you can practice and excel at whatever that may be.

Ben: It would have to be that no matter who you are, or what you love, there are many opportunities and a place for each and every one of you in the community that is our school.

Ava: I would have to say the opportunities you are given. It allows me to expand my learning and knowledge but also have opportunities to lead and follow. I love to learn and ASAS always give me the opportunity to learn something new and I am very grateful for it. With this, the teachers and students, the community, are also the best because without them the opportunities wouldn’t be happening.

Hannah: The best thing about All Saints are the vast opportunities and supportive cohort and staff. At All Saints it doesn't matter what your spark or talent is because every student is nurtured and encouraged to try new things. Heading into Middle School, I know that whatever I end up wanting to pursue, the school will be behind me.

Zachary: I think the ability for every single soul in that school to flourish in whatever venture they want to achieve is something very special and only a very limited amount of schools in the world can offer. It illustrates to us students that this is not just a school that is there to educate you and that’s all it does. Rather it’s a school that wants to see you strive for that illusive dream you have or go for that crazy job venture. That is the best part about All Saints having the support of everyone and everyone believing in your ability to achieve those goals.

How would you see the school grow?

Ben: I would like to see All Saints continuing to offer a broad range of learning activities, to value all strengths and interests and to encourage us to be the best that we can be.

Ava: All Saints is the best school as it is, but I would like to see that from earlier ages we are taught more about Australia’s past and how we can work towards reconciling with Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders.

Tara: I think there are so many signs of it already, but I would love to see All Saints grow internally where more meaningful relationships are made between students, teachers or anyone part of All Saints. I think the idea of belonging is so important especially in a school environment and if we can just push that even further to a point where you genuinely care about the people that are not necessarily in your inner circle. I’d hope that that would make people so much more comfortable both in themselves and in the environment that they come into each day.

Zachary: I would like to see the school grow further into a school that not only produces fine academics but fine individuals whose truth, faith and compassion above all else is what the school and the individual are known for. All Saints is already doing a fantastic job at this and I cannot wait to see what great feats the school goes to in the future.

Hannah: I realise that there are many children in our community that are not as fortunate as I am, and I know that the waiting lists for entry into All Saints are long. Into the future, it would be wonderful if there was an opportunity for children and families that aren't as lucky as the majority of kids at All Saints to be accepted into the school.