On Strowan – Volume 13 // Issue 2 // 8 March 2018
... young people seeking not only to improve themselves, their skills and their future choices, but young people who recognise they are part of a wider community...
Christine Leighton, Rector
Six weeks into Term 1 and classroom learning and co-curricular activities are well underway. Recently students have participated in regional or South Island competitions in touch, volleyball, rowing and Pipe Band, and over 50 students are well underway with rehearsals for the Term 2 Senior College production of Blood Brothers. On top of this are the regular weekend sports competitions and cultural rehearsals. At the recent Sunday evening Middle School chapel, I was once again struck by the sense of community with over 150 parents attending this special service. The music provided by Stacchorus, the stunning duo performance of Pippa McAnergney (Year 11) and Jack Calder (Year 10), and the Middle School singing was very uplifting, as was Mr Morrow’s message on ‘Who am I?’.
This time last year, we were gearing up for our Centenary Gala Weekend, and while there is not the same pressure in 2018, we are looking forward to hosting a ‘60 Years on Reunion’ on our Founders’ Day weekend. We are anticipating the return of approximately 50 Old Collegians for this event… who were together in the third form (Year 9) in 1958.
So many Old Collegians (aged 19 to their mid-90s) feel a strong pull back to their school and this is one of the things that continues to support the positive strong culture of belonging and community which remains very important to us. Our school of 1460 students are all individuals… they have different interests and learning needs, diverse personalities and character strengths, varying preferences for sports and cultural activities. The variety of our subjects and activities should cater for any student’s interests. It is our belief that all students will benefit from being involved and trying a variety of sports or cultural activities.
Three groups who always impress me working behind the scenes are the Technical team, the Community Service team, and the Sustainability Council. With our school assemblies and College events there are always demands made of the ‘Techies’. This group of lighting, sound and camera enthusiasts often go unnoticed, but it is thanks to them that we are able to host such creative and first-class events. They were out and about yet again supporting Athletics Day last Friday, and will be again on Founders’ Day on 16 March, and we are very grateful for their commitment and expertise.
The second group I want to mention is our Community Service team. This group of Year 12 and 13 Service Leaders spoke recently at chapel, encouraging student support for various charities. Their commitment to causes, local, national and global is most impressive. This team will be working together to provide opportunities for St Andrew’s College students to build up their community service hours. Also, a major focus for the group will be to promote the World Vision 40 Hour Famine cause across the College and hopefully raise more than the $22,900 which was raised last year.
Equally impressive is the work and dedication of the Sustainability Council – a group of 30 students (and growing) who work to support global environmental issues around climate change, environmental refugees, sustainable energy, potable water security, and recoverable waste. The Sustainability Council also recognises its socio-cultural role at StAC, that of empowering our young students to ‘tackle’ the significant environmental issues ahead with courage, resilience, and belief in the extraordinary power of human adaptation enhanced by global human interconnectedness. The mantra reflects this: “we will not be denied our future”. Of course, in most cases it is important to start in our own back yard and be more accountable in our own practices and behaviours in affecting positive change.
These three groups within our College are but three examples of young people seeking not only to improve themselves, their skills and their future choices, but young people who recognise they are part of a wider community to which they can make an ongoing positive and longer-term contribution. This is heartening indeed.