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‘The triumph of high achievement’

Inside Memorial Hall, on its western wall, there is an honour board for Schubert Scholarships. This particular Scholarship is named after Frank Helmut Schubert, one of the longest ever serving members of staff at St Peter’s College, from 1937 to 1979. During Mr Schubert’s tenure, he served a number of roles, including Head of English and Modern Languages, First Assistant to the Headmaster, Deputy Headmaster and as Acting Headmaster several times. In this regard, the Schubert Scholarship is an award in perpetuity that pays respect and attention to the positive influence that all staff can have in the lives of students and indeed on the course of history of the wider institution.

In the first term each year, I have the privilege of being part of the interview process for the Schubert Scholarship. It is a day on which I meet an exceptional group of human beings back-to-back, one after the other, from 8.30 to 3.30pm. It is a day like no other, and certainly not the typical day of any Deputy Headmaster in any school. The process of application is designed to be intentionally rigorous, demanding depth of thought, intellect and insight – allowing no chance for students to skim the surface. Along with other panellists, the experience is one that resembles a deep and meaningful conversation with some of the most impressive Year 12 students that St Peter’s College has to offer. In this regard, the day is a window into what can happen when a school works at its best.

As a profound supporter of the boy in the middle, and of any young man in Roosevelt’s ‘arena’, I am mindful of the complexity in meritocratic ideals and, indeed, of the emotional impact of selection in any form, related to awards or otherwise. What I appreciate about the Schubert Scholarship – other than the fact that it memorialises the contribution of a former staff member – is that the criteria balances achievement in a range of settings, including academic, co-curricular, leadership, and service. It is not about spotlighting the top academic achiever – or, in fact, a top achiever in any other setting – it is about celebrating those rare students who show truly exceptional qualities broadly.

The 2021 recipient was our current Vice Captain of School, Aidan Hughes. The excellent work that Aidan is doing in his leadership role this year (alongside School Captain, Chirath) is the mark of the character of any Schubert Scholarship winner. I am pleased to announce that the Schubert Scholarship for 2022 has been awarded to both Nicholas Koh and Daniel Jesudason – jointly. Throughout the process, and in their final interview with the Headmaster, both Nicholas and Daniel articulated, with both intellect and range, their connection to the criteria, just as Frank Schubert would have wanted.

I look forward to sharing future student and staff achievements in future newsletters.

Marcus Blackburn
Deputy Headmaster / Head of Senior School