Over recent months, the College has hosted both the Hon Rob Stokes MP and Mr Jihad Dib MP at dinner to thank them for their bipartisan work that resulted in the St Paul’s College Act of 2018 – the first new legislation for St Paul’s College governance since 1857.
The St Paul’s College Bill 2018 passed State Parliament without opposition or amendment in either Chamber. Mr Stokes, then NSW Minister for Education, and Mr Dib, then Shadow Minister for Education, worked closely with the College last year to secure this governance reform (both men have moved to new portfolios since the 2019 State election).
At the College’s invitation, Mr Stokes addressed students in Hall earlier this year, and Mr Dib did so this month.
Mr Dib is a renowned education reformer, and spoke to the students about his transformative years as a teacher and later as Principal of Punchbowl Boys High School where, it is widely acknowledged, he transformed a previously embattled school into a highly successful one through a deliberate process of cultural renewal.
Mr Dib’s gracious and inspiring address encouraged our students to be the best they can be, in whatever it is they pursue, and to believe in themselves. He noted the exceptional opportunities afforded to St Pauls’ students, and encouraged the pursuit of positive change in the community.
Like Mr Dib, Mr Stokes also spoke inspiringly and powerfully about the importance of leadership, public service and respect. Mr Stokes gave as examples the disruptive leadership of William Pitt and William Wilberforce in instituting positive change in the United Kingdom in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Mr Stokes encouraged the students to never give in to comfort and cosiness, but to embrace uncomfortable topics and seek out opportunities for character development and for making a difference for good in the world.
Perhaps emblematic of mutual respect, both Mr Stokes and Mr Dib in their respective speeches sincerely thanked the other for working together constructively on the new St Paul’s College Bill.
Both Mr Stokes and Mr Dib have made clear that they will continue to watch with interest progress on cultural renewal at St Paul’s. The College has recently published a detailed progress report on implementation of its Action Plan for Cultural Renewal.
The Warden, Council and the community of St Paul’s are extremely grateful for the time invested by both men on the Bill, for taking an interest in the College, and for inspiring the next generation of outward-looking, community-minded Paulines, many of whom they recognised will be leaders for tomorrow.
– Rob Stokes MP and Jihad Dib MP addressing students in the Hall