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Leadership requires strength and love in equal measure.

If there were ever a week in South Australia in which I could get away with writing about rugby, this was the week. If you have any interest in this global game, as an SPSC supporter, you will appreciate that an Intercol and Wallaby win, in the same week, is pretty special. That the Wallaby win was also on Kaurna land – at the remarkable Adelaide Oval – bathed in a Spring sunlight, in front of over 30,000 grateful fans, makes it rarer still and even more memorable. And if you have no interest in the game, hopefully you will value a story about the hard work, discipline and commitment of the School’s most senior rugby players to secure a hard-fought victory.

From the coaches’ box, I was most pleased that the players took their opportunity to prove to their peers not just the quality of their teamplay, but also their grit and character in holding on to a lead in the face of unrelenting pressure. Through this, they reflected the positive and supportive training environment that had been prioritised all season. For all of our Winter Sport Intercol competitors – in all arenas – we saw great qualities forged alongside friendships, and I am confident that both will prove to be lifelong. The week of Intercol competition strengthened my belief that some of the best education takes place out of the classroom.

A special mention must be made to the student leaders across all Intercol teams, including those from Prince Alfred College. The culture of both schools is better for student leaders who model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act and encourage the heart. This is leadership, and we saw it in the efforts and heard it in the speeches of our Intercol leaders. Indeed, with the Winter Sport Intercol behind us, attention turns to our formal student leadership process to select our student leaders for 2023.

In declaring the application process open this week, I spoke in the Year 11 Muster about the responsibility of leadership. I encouraged the students to consider deeply whether or not they felt they could deliver on this responsibility. I shared with the boys my learning that leadership is about balancing advocacy and accountability. Our expectations on the 2023 team of student leaders are linked to this – simultaneously looking out for the wellbeing of their peers whilst also holding them to account on their standards and conduct.

Leadership, in this regard, requires strength and love in equal measure. This message is prominent in our School Prayer – which all of our boys aptly know by heart. It is important to note that leadership is not a position, but a set of behaviours and, in this regard, it can and should be expected from all. In referencing leaders, I would like to highlight the outstanding work this year by our School Captains, Chirath Lekamge and Aidan Hughes. Both have taken seriously their role as leaders of learning and culture, and they have achieved that most vital balance of serving the needs of the institution and the humans within it. We are individually and collectively better for their service.

I look forward to providing a further update on student leadership in the weeks ahead.

Marcus Blackburn
Deputy Headmaster / Head of Senior School