Achieving success against the odds

June 9, 2023  
Mr Nick Hackett - Head of Senior School

Winston Churchill is credited with once saying that “success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”.


What this rather bleak view of success may lack in terms of inspirational froth, it makes up for in its tried-and-true pragmatism. Sometimes, when we perceive success, it may appear that it comes so easily, demands so little and provides so much. But the truth is, that real success almost always comes at a cost, and the greater the success the more sacrifices, hard work, commitment, resilience, and time have been demanded in exchange for achievement and acclamation.

After nearly three decades in education, I have had the privilege of observing time and again the significant role played by failure, and its gentle cousin, the mistake, not only in achieving success but also in day-to-day learning. The greatest gains in understanding can be made when a student comes up against a personal misconception and demonstrates the necessary commitment and tenacity to try to understand what went wrong and doggedly grapples with their own understanding of the issue, using all available support where needed, to gain a fresh insight into the concepts at hand. It is the ongoing application of this process – using mistakes to carve out new strengths and activating failures to allow the achievement of new successes in the future, that can bring the greatest gains to the learning journey of any successful student.


At TIGS we are blessed to have such exceptional young people who apply these principles not only in the classroom but also to their passions and interests that lie beyond. What better way to conclude this week’s newsletter than hearing from one such student: Marcelle, who is in Year 10. Marcelle is an exceptional snowboarder who balances the demands of her advanced sporting achievements on some of the most famous mountains in the world, with being a successful learner in the classrooms of TIGS.


“Snowboard cross can be scary. You’re launching off 30–40-foot jumps, fighting against G-forces through tight turns, side-by-side with other riders, all at speeds faster than I can legally drive. Things go wrong. Considering this, it’s understandable why I’ve feared big courses for a long time. However, after having the opportunity to ride on many incredible international courses and race against world-class athletes 10 years older than me, I now love the exhilaration and know I can hold my own. A coach once told me there’s no difference between being nervous and being excited. It was great advice. That mindset has really helped me tackle the nerves issue!

I’ve recently returned to Australia after competing overseas in the North American Cup circuit for snowboard cross, where I won my first international podium. I have been selected for the Snow Australia Emerging Talent Program (ETP) – one of only three female snowboard cross athletes currently selected.

As much as I love snowboarding, I also love to learn. When I’m training and racing, I’m on the mountain over 30 hours a week and my school day doesn’t begin until around 3pm. It’s crazy and a lot of effort, requiring strong time management, but it’s worth it – it’s easy to do anything when you love it! The support from my teachers has been amazing – uploading all of my class work online so I can stay up-to-date and answer emails at all hours, even in different time zones.

What am I working towards? My dream is to wear the green and gold for Australia.”



World Environment Day


Exam preparation webinar