Never forget the humans.
When you leave a place, you not only remember the people, but you remember the actual place itself and, on a more profound level, you remember how both the people and the place made you feel.
I am confident that all members of our community who are moving on from Saints at the end of the year – whether they are graduating, retiring or following a new path – are leaving with human connections that will endure the test of time and distance, as well as fond and vivid memories of the physical spaces – the pathways and arches, the walls and fields.
Memorial Hall is one such place for me (and many), not just for what it stands for – as a memorial to those who have gone before us and who made the ultimate sacrifice – but also for its vital function as a space to gather. Thanks to this great hall of St Peter’s College, as much as to those it commemorates, I will forever pay attention to the way schools gather, and I will forever be sentimental about – and inspired by – the magnificent term ‘to muster’.
Boys might think that they blend into the crowd of brothers around them in a muster, but they actually don’t, not from my perspective. In fact, quite the opposite. From my position, I can see each and every one of them. I can see where they are looking and how they are sitting; I can see when they are silent or when they try and talk to the person next to them; I can see if they are singing or not singing; and if they are listening or not listening. I can see if they start to nod off, and I can see if they pick their nose. Unfortunately, some of them do. The point is, from my perspective, the boys are not just a congregation, they are seen by the School quite appropriately – and for your reassurance – as the individuals that they are.
In today’s muster, we heard from our Year 9 students about their recent exchanges with students from schools all around Australia. It was uplifting to hear that the boys achieved the very purpose of any exchange, that is to gain a new perspective on life. We can never underestimate the importance of considering the views of others nor making the commitment to see things through another’s eyes. In a similar way, it was pleasing to hear from our Summer Sport leaders, who not only provided a progress report on their seasons to date, but also articulated the point of any co-curricular activity, that is to revel in and embrace the rewards of endeavour.
As well as a wrap-up to the year, the theme of our final Muster of the year was gratitude. In this regard, I would like to express my deep thanks for the support I have been generously provided by those staff members with whom I have worked most closely over the past three years; and for the privilege of being part of a great many personal discoveries and accomplishments of a great many young men; and finally for the lessons in leadership that I take with me – essentially those on balancing the needs and priorities of an institution with the needs and priorities of the humans within it. In leadership, we must never forget the humans.
With great thanks and in your support, as ever,
Deputy Headmaster / Head of Senior School