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Lux Lucet in Tenebris Iterum

 Is it the pandemic that makes the years feel so long now? In January, we were in its grip and midst, with people being frowned at for not wearing a face mask in the supermarket aisles, to where we are now, in December, when Covid earns only a rare mention, and anyone wearing a mask in the aisles feels only the burn of a discriminatory glare.

Indeed, the start of the 2022 academic year seems so very long ago now, but, despite its unpredictable beginning, we can put it down as one of great progress in the life of the institution and the humans within it. Given the lingering and latent stress of the pandemic will not yet allow us to shed our tenterhooks, any personal achievements that have been made – or milestones reached – in the past year are only a credit to the character within each individual as much as to the team of support around us. It goes without saying that the Class of 2022 have endured a great deal on their educational journey and, from my perspective, such adversity forged not only a stronger collective, but also a very personal sense of resilience and versatility for life ahead. Indeed, it was a pleasure to both passionately support these young men and confidently send them on.

In any given week at St Peter’s College, we see students show their passion for sport, choir, debating, Maths and more. Invariably, we see great qualities forged alongside friendships. We see impressive performances in a range of settings, with students competing at the highest level or just against themselves – both of equal value. Across this year, we have marvelled at artistic, athletic and academic feats of our young people; stirred by brilliance on the page, moved by a powerful drama, and bowled over by a great sporting effort.

The 21-day journey remains the pivotal milestone in any given year at St Peter’s College, and 2022 was perhaps its greatest yet, with a hand-picked and highly accomplished team of staff at its helm. Whilst the world continued to rage in its unpredictability, in the Flinders Ranges, even the weather went to plan. For the melted chocolate bananas on the campfire, even the ones that caught the ash; for the stargazing at 2.00am; the device-free, people-free solo time; and the breathtaking burnt-orange sunrise at Aroona Ruins. For these, and more, are the reasons why our Year 10 boys are more prepared for life than they were beforehand. We can all wax lyrical about comfort zones and personal growth, but I am confident that this particular cohort of young men returned inspired by their experience, and this is what education should be all about.

In 2022, our School Captains have instigated a relevant and exciting project that is sure to positively impact the culture of the School broadly. The Saints Student Association has reinvigorated and mobilised the student voice around our provision of clubs and societies. In a nutshell, there will be more to do at lunchtimes and more places to go. On a deeper level, the aim is to provide a greater number of boys with a greater sense of belonging. We know that this leads to wellbeing, and wellbeing leads to learning.

I would very much like to thank all staff across the Senior School for the role they have played in supporting your sons (and mine) to stay on course to becoming the best versions of themselves this year. From my position as a Deputy Headmaster, I have seen their passionate investment in the home-school partnership and I am immensely grateful. Special thanks and best wishes to staff who are retiring or departing at the end of this year.

I would also like to acknowledge the many visitors who have enriched our environment this year through their words and deeds – as coach, collaborator or CEO. To Uncle John Lochowiak, in particular, whose lessons on culture cannot be ignored for their universality and their relevance to us as a community. In all of Uncle John’s visits, our learning has deepened, not only on cultural inclusion, but on the importance of respect and connection more broadly, and of walking alongside each other, in every sense.

I do hope there have been some bright highlights for your son to look back on this year, and that St Peter’s College has been a light in any darkness that your family has experienced away from school. This was the message in the nine lessons at our Carol Service this week, appropriately accompanied by inspirational words from Father Theo and the excellent singing of both our Chapel Choir and our community: Lux Lucet in Tenebris.

I wish you a safe and happy Christmas, and hope that 2023 is both more predictable and prosperous for all.

Marcus Blackburn
Deputy Headmaster/ Head of Senior School