Term 2 - Prefects' Assembly Friday 16 June 2017
Sunday 27 November 2016
E nga nana
E nga reo
E nga iwi o te motu
Tena koutou katoa
How does one acknowledge and celebrate 100 years? There should be, and is, a feeling of wonder and celebration when someone or something is 100 years old. Because there is something valuable about time, experience, wisdom and deep connection… Deep connection comes with time and wisdom results from experience…
So I stand here with you this evening and wonder how the first Rector Sydney Dickinson felt at his first prizegiving ceremony at the end of 1917.
I suspect he would have stood in front of his students and parents feeling well pleased with the progress of his fledgling school. The original 19 boys had grown in numbers to 30 and the original rugby team managed a draw against Christs’ College in that first year. But most exciting was the bequest from Mr Duncan Rutherford who left a sum of £5, 000 to the College allowing them to purchase 28 acres of Strowan House and surrounding grounds.
The first edition of Thistledown (now the St Andrew’s ‘Collegian’) published at the end of the first year, records how St Andrew’s College prepared to leave the original site of the St Andrew’s Church and moved to the elegant Strowan residence at the beginning of 1918.
In Sydney Dickinson’s words:
“The highest possibilities imaginable lie before our College in its new home. These can be realised by Board, staff and scholars, uniting in one common effort to make it a true home of learning, character-building and service in the highest interests of national well-being, and the Kingdom of God.”
I imagine it would have been at the official move to Strowan early in 1918 that the real vision for St Andrew’s College was cemented.
Alexander Thompson (the College’s founder) exclaimed in 1917 on first seeing the beautiful property at Papanui Road:
“There is only one place for St Andrew’s College and that is Strowan”.
And from there the vision grew. It is significant that despite earthquakes 100 years later, Strowan House remains at the heart of our beautiful College campus. AT Thompson would no doubt be somewhat amazed to see what has developed around Strowan today.
On Saturday 22 February 1918, a St Andrew’s flag presented by the students of St Andrew’s University in Scotland, was unfurled by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church and Strowan was officially opened.
At the launch of our Centenary earlier this year I asked Pieta Bayley (yYar 6) to present her poem – written about this Saltire flag and our College’s links to Scotland.
It seems appropriate that Pieta read this poem again on the occasion of our 100th Prizegiving.
‘The Saltire Flag’ by Pieta Jan Mackle Bayley, age 11, 2016.
A breath of time
ripples through the cloth.
Together an instrument,
ready to play.
United like the bag,
chanter and drone pipes who
skirl ‘Badge of St Andrews’,
together they strike hearts with the million songs
held in a soft flutter.
Strowan stands behind,
guardian of the school.
A Rector in her ivy gown.
An ensign to greet
with a solitary
wave of white cross
interlaced with navy legacy.
It’s 98-year-old silk
woven with memories
A Scottish endowment.
Frozen in a photograph.
Preserved in archival tissue,
St Andrews sons in Scotland send
To you St Andrews sons afar
This symbol of a common faith.
This ensign of a common war.
Still flies the cross.
So, still flies the cross – 100 years later. Every student who has attended St Andrew’s College has proudly worn this cross on their blazer. The cross flies high in front of Strowan and is a symbol which clearly identifies StAC students and associated activities.
Today the saltire cross is joined by the thistle as a symbol of pride and passion… the thistle worn on a badge, a sports top, a rowing suit, a cap… Thistles etched in glass or branded on cards and memorabilia.
There is no doubt in a StAC student’s mind what symbolises their loyalty and commitment to their school.
How has that vision of 100 years ago developed into the school that we know and enjoy today?
Each and every one of you has played your part. You, and every one of the 13,000 Old Collegians before you, each former and present teacher and staff member, every parent past or present, rightfully claims part of the special StAC spirit and feels connected to its soul.
Something very special has gone on here and has been doing so for 100 years… I hope you can feel it.
We are all driven by our own dreams, passions and preferences but something is binding us and guiding us in the same direction. In the words of the fourth Rector Les Stewart, “There is an atmosphere, a spirt which haunts St Andrew’s, I have often wondered where it came from. I think it was planted by the men who launched St Andrew’s”.
I don’t know exactly what those men planted but what I do know is that it included our guiding values: Truth, Excellence and Faith. There were other values of being welcoming and inclusive, celebrating diversity and striving for personal best. There was resilience and determination and passion and compassion.
There were symbols that would become traditions – the pipers, the Ferguson kilt, the flag, the Memorial book and the Chapel artefacts.
Whatever they planted grew and flourished, thanks to the care and cultivation of all those who have come to this place over 100 years. And for that we are truly grateful.
This evening at this special celebration we honour prize winners and achievements but I also acknowledge each and every one of you who has given of your best. This is the St Andrew’s way.
2016 has been another amazing year in the life of our school.
During the year we have celebrated many outstanding successes.
In sport the following would rank as top achievements;
• Trapshooting team: Won top team at Nationals;
• Mixed tennis: New Zealand Secondary School champions;
• Rowing: Gold, silver and bronze at the Maadi Cup;
• Athletics: 16 South Island titles;
• Boys First XI Hockey: 4th Rankin Cup – New Zealand Secondary Schools;
• Ice Hockey: 3rd South Island Championship;
• Senior A netball: 3rd South Island Championship;
• Cricket Years 9 and 10: National Tournament runners up.
Two StAC teams and two individuals were winners at the Canterbury Zonta Awards and 14 students have this year been awarded their New Zealand representative badges.
A busy year in cultural activities also has seen exceptional achievements:
• Chamber Music top six in New Zealand;
• Jazz Band: Gold medals at Ara and South Island jazz festivals;
• Pipe Band: Winners of grade 2 nationals;
• Debating: Top senior team in Canterbury;
• Ballet: Five New Zealand scholarship nominations and yesterday we were treated to a wonderful end of year production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’;
• Cabaret and A Midsummer Night’s Dream both outstanding productions;
• Cultural celebrations: Film fest, Dance Revue, Winter Music Festival and Kapa Haka festival;
• Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award: Six Year 13 students have gained their gold.
Academically both the Secondary School and Preparatory Schools have enjoyed success at a National level:
• At the beginning of this year we recognized outstanding achievements in NCEA and Scholarship with 49 Excellence Endorsements at level 3 and 36 scholarship awards;
• Olympiads: two Year 13 students represented New Zealand on the world stage in Chemistry and Geography;
• Business Studies: Young Enterprise Regional winners – to compete at Nationals in December;
• Cantamaths: Year 7s were the winners and Year 8s runners up;
• Tournament of Minds: Preparatory School competed at Nationals;
• Future Problem Solving: Year 7 are New Zealand Champions and Hamilton Martin (year 10) won the individual New Zealand title;
• ICAS: Akiko Omori (Year 5) gained top mark in New Zealand;
• Tertiary Scholarships: 51 scholarships have been awarded to 32 students.
Our staff too have enjoyed some national recognition with several presenting at national or international conferences. Lori Haisty and Tom Adams have joined the list of recognized innovative educators by Microsoft.
As has become the tradition over the last seven years, this evening we are recognizing one of our Secondary teaching staff with the Marily Scanlon Award for Teacher Excellence.
This award was generously donated by Jay, Maris and Francis Scanlon in memory of their wife and mother, Marily.
This year’s recipient has been teaching at St Andrew’s College for nine years. She is a wonderful teacher and her students over the years have achieved some outstanding results in NCEA and scholarships.
As Head of Social Studies she has lead a team of staff in curriculum and assessment – and also cross curricular work through the Middle Years.
A passion for Positive Education has led her to study for her Masters in this area.
Many students also connect with this teacher through her management of rowing and the popular Geography excursions to Tanzania. This teacher is of course Ms Kerry Larby.
Congratulations Kerry. With your new role as Head of Positive Education and Wellbeing, I am sure this award will support your further study and influence at StAC.
The end of the year always sees a number of people leave our school community – some to retire, others to take up new opportunities both within and outside teaching. 100 years ago there were three teaching staff and four ancillary staff. Today this number has grown to over 250.
This year we farewell and thank eight permanent teachers from the Secondary School and three from the Preparatory School.
Ms Jeni Curtis and Mrs Anne Fletcher are retiring and we thank them for their 23 and 10 years of service respectively.
Sam McNeil has lead our school for the last five years with distinction through many initiatives in ICT and is moving to an educational services position with Microsoft.
John Quinn leaves after 13 years as our College Guidance Counsellor and Beverley Rose after 16 years as Head of Pre-School. Francesca Eathorne has recently left as Head of Communications.
Other teachers leaving are Mrs Jac Yoder, Ms Tam Yuill-Proctor, Ms Anna-Maree Asare, Mr Bevan Jones, Ms Susie Stewart and long-term relievers Mr Steve MacIntosh, Mr Blair McHugh and Ms Virginia White. Mr Owen Foster, is also retiring after 22 years first working as a groundsman but known by most now as the high vis traffic warden in the carpark.
Leaving from the Preparatory School are Ms Melissa Rennel and Ms Rachel Barker. We sincerely thank them, and indeed all our staff for their contribution to StAC in the classroom, in co-curricular activities and as people who care and make meaningful relationships with students and their families.
There are two other people, very significant to our community for whom this is their last prizegiving ceremony. Mr Roland Burrows has announced his retirement from the end of term one next year.
Mr Burrows first began teaching at St Andrew’s in 1977 and at the end of this year he completes his 40th year. For the last seven years he has held the position as Head of the Secondary School and as such has been a key influential leader of our College… I cannot think of a more loyal, trust worthy, reliable and wise colleague with whom to share all the ups and downs of a busy school life.
In 40 years I am sure there are many highlights of Mr Burrows’ time at St Andrew’s, but his year would have to rank as one of the best with the trapshooting team winning the National title.
Mr Burrows has been teacher-in-charge and manager of trapshooting for the last 22 years and as such has been honoured this year with an award from the New Zealand Secondary School Sports Council for service to sport. He has also coached and managed rugby, water-polo and cricket during his time at the College.
I am pleased to present him with this award this evening and thank him on behalf of the hundreds of students he has coached and managed over 40 years.
There will of course be opportunity to share more about Mr Burrows’ contribution to StAC at the time of his departure but this evening, Roland at this the College’s 100th and your final prizegiving ceremony as Head of the Secondary School we Honour you and thank you for your outstanding service.
The other person for whom this is a final prizegiving is our Chair of the Board of Governors, Mr Garry Moore. Garry first assumed the office as president of the PTA in 2004 and later that year was elected as a parent representative onto the Board of Governors.
In 2006 Garry assumed the position as Chair with one of his key tasks being the appointment of a new Rector to the College. Since I took up this position in October 2007, Garry has been an advisor, confidante, challenger, problem-solver, supporter and friend.
No-one could have had St Andrew’s College’s interests more at heart. A grounded, intelligent, insightful businessman, Garry has an exceptional financial acumen.
He has an uncanny ability to spot a financial discrepancy or an opportunity. During his tenure he has advised on building and development matters and overseen the College make healthy annual surpluses that have enabled an $80 million investment in the campus, finishing the 2016 year with the College debt-free.
This is a story that any other independent school in New Zealand would dearly love to tell.
He has also been an unwavering supporter of the College’s fundraising, particularly for the Strowan Club and the Centennial Chapel as epitomised by his stunning brick suit.
During the challenging years of 2010–2013 when St Andrew’s College, like all of Christchurch, was responding to emergency measures, Garry was always on call, often the first on site after an unsettling tremor, checking up on the boarders and inspecting the campus in the middle of the night.
Garry will be remaining as Chair of the Board until after our Centennial weekend in March, at which time Mr Bryan Pearson will become Chair.
This evening, Garry, we honour and thank you at this, our 100th prizegiving. When you presided over the 90th celebrations, probably little did you imagine that you would still be here.
I for one, am so very glad you have stayed. St Andrew’s College has never been in a better position; we are truly grateful for your remarkable 11-year tenure as Board Chair.
And so at this, our 100th prizegiving for St Andrew’s College we remember that history is the result of events and decisions that are made on a day to day basis.
And of course at the very heart of these events and decisions are people… people who come and go… who make their mark and who hopefully feel a connection even after they have left.
This year 175 Year 13 and eight Year 12 students are leaving St Andrew’s and completing their school years, and just like every year, those leaving have helped to write our history.
Thank you to each and every one of you for contributing to StAC… I know that you are leaving as a person of character, that you have the courage to stand up for what you believe and the confidence to try new things and seek new opportunities.
Thank you to all our teaching and support staff who give so much of their own time to guide and support our young people through class, co-curricular activities and personal development. To Dianne MacDonald and the boarding team, the fact that our boarding house is full for next year is testimony to the quality care and guidance you give to all our boarders.
To all those in leadership roles across the College, particularly Roland Burrows, Jonathan Bierwirth and David Evans, thank you for the trust and confidence we all share… often there are no right answers in the decisions we make, our strength is in our collective capacity.
Anastasia McIntyre and the PTA, Ngaire Power and the Ladies’ Circle, Mark Mulholland and the Old Collegians Association, Roger Finlay and the College Foundation… you all represent various groups within our College community who together, with strong trusting relationships, ensure our collective success.
To the Board of Governors thank you for your vision and commitment, the combination of long standing members and new talent amongst you, I believe puts our College in an enviable position as we are set to launch StAC into our second century.
To our parents, thank you for your many varied contributions. Your support of sports and cultural activities, as volunteers and fundraisers and your generous support of our Development office – along with the support from so many Old Collegians, has been critical to the successful position we find ourselves in today.
An embodiment of this generosity and commitment, was surely the Dedication of the Centennial Chapel last month. Everyone was smiling on that day as we were able to feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for where we have come from and the positive road ahead.
Our last 100 years have been written… beginning with those words of the first Rector Sydney Dickinson in 1917, “The highest possibilities imaginable which lie before our College”.
You know, Sydney Dickinson was right when he said these possibilities can be realised when board, staff and scholars unite in one common effort.
Without that unity, no community can achieve success…
And so as we celebrate our 100th prizegiving, we each must make our own personal commitment to that united front. The next 100 years will at times be challenging and disappointing, but let’s take lessons from the past 100 years and back ourselves for the next 100… combined in our commitment to Truth, Excellence and Faith.
Our second century is a story yet to be written.
Ma te atua me te wahi ngaro tatou e
Tiaki e manaaki
May God and the origins of which all things come from, bless and keep us.
No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou, katoa.
Nau mai, haere mai, tena koutou katoa.
Good morning and welcome to this year’s eagerly anticipated Prefect’s assembly.
A special welcome to parents, friends and family members who have joined us this morning.
First up this morning, I would like to commend you all for the way you supported the Timaru / Craighead exchange on Tuesday.
A special congratulations to all those who participated in the games – over 350 StAC students were involved – either here or in Timaru and from what I saw or heard, all games were played in great spirit, competitive and great attitude… Well done. These big sports fixtures are an important part of our school culture and have been for 100 years…
Thank you to Mr Jones, Mrs Power and all teachers, coaches, managers, grounds staff, support staff and parents who supported the exchange.
The observant among you will have noticed that at the end of last week there was a significant new addition to our campus. This came by way of a gift from a STAC family whose son is a prominent architect and sculptor.
Old Collegian Angus Muir, is only 28 but already he is making a name for himself in New Zealand and overseas with his sculptures – particularly those dealing with reflection and light…
The sculpture, now proudly standing beside Strowan House, is built around the St Andrew’s Saltire cross at its base… A cross which is illuminated at night.
The sculpture is named “The Cross he never knew”, which are appropriate words from our school song… The “he” referring to St Andrew – a disciple of Christ…
It has been great to watch you taking an interest in the sculpture and noticing the way it reflects the different moods of the day and the weather patterns.
This sculpture is another way to recognize and celebrate our Centenary year and another example of the amazing generosity of people within our St Andrew’s community.
And now it is time to hand over to our 2017 Prefects… Unfortunately I have another urgent appointment and sadly this morning will need to leave them to it… Please enjoy!