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The opportunity to celebrate Thomas Worrall’s life in Memorial Hall last Friday was indeed a privilege and the voluntary attendance of over 550 students was deeply respectful. The service was an uplifting acknowledgement and thanksgiving for Thomas’ life through his family and his participation in St Peter’s College. Thomas’ uncle, and old scholar Dr Jamie Harris (SCH 1973), delivered a beautiful eulogy in which we fondly reflected on the young man we had the privilege of knowing – Thomas the rower, Thomas the kind and loving boy who loved everything to do with cars and Thomas the friendly, gregarious, jovial young man who was always smiling.

I wrote to Senior School students on Monday morning to express my appreciation for their voluntary attendance. For your reference, I include my words of thanks to the students below:

Dear Students

I write to convey my deep appreciation to each of you who chose to attend the funeral and memorial service for Thomas Worrall on Friday 3 March. It is difficult to overstate how meaningful your presence and solidarity was prior to, during and immediately following the service. The Worrall family were deeply moved by your participation in the service, particularly through your singing and wholesale demonstration of respect. The fact that your peers felt comfortable expressing their emotions openly is a credit to all.

Community is possibly one of the greatest challenges to our nation in the 21 century. Understanding how to belong and how to participate respectfully in the lives of others is proving more and more difficult for members of our wider society. Community flourishes when we place others ahead of ourselves and the conduct of our School on Friday illustrated that even the most difficult moments in life can be shared, embraced and celebrated with deep respect and integrity.

In my role as Headmaster, I can confidently say that your purposeful and meaningful presence in choosing to honour the life of another was a proud moment for SPSC. The soul of SPSC was on show on Friday and if you can carry this culture through and beyond SPSC when you graduate, your family, your peers and the wider community will benefit from your presence and influence.

Please reach out for support from key staff, Chaplains, School Counsellors or myself if you require extra support. Thank you for your attendance.

In another wonderful display of community, the Junior School Movie Night and Fun Fair held on Saturday was a resounding success. With over 1,000 in attendance, families were treated to a spectacular autumn evening that helped create a wonderful, connected community atmosphere. Across the coming months there are several events that I encourage parents to actively engage in: the Alfresco Concert on Friday 17 March, individual year level coffee dates and bottle and plate evenings and the traditional St Peter’s College Community Day on Saturday 29 April.

None of these community events would be possible without the tireless efforts of our volunteer groups, namely the Junior and Senior School Friends of Saints, Friends of Music, Friends of the Chapel and the Mission Guild. These passionate groups of volunteers are instrumental in organising these events aimed at promoting and fostering a sense of community among parents and families.

It was a pleasure to welcome old scholar Hugh Dawson (S&A 2015) back to the School last Thursday as part of our CEO-in-Residence Program. Since graduating Hugh has worked on Beetaloo Station, a 1,050,000ha property in the NT. His work as an advocate for Australian agriculture has seen him receive a host of awards including the NT Young Achiever of the Year in 2021. More recently Hugh became the eighth SPSC old scholar to receive the C.A.S Hawker Scholarship – one of the most generous privately funded scholarships in Australia. Hugh is now enrolled in a Bachelor of Business (Agribusiness) at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong and is residing at the College.

Across the day, Hugh spoke candidly with students, in a range of forums, about his journey through agriculture, his experience with mental fitness and the importance of self-awareness, personal balance and the importance of leaning into challenges to achieve growth. His Muster address was particularly inspirational and demonstrated his commitment to a lifelong journey of learning.

Launched in 2022, the CEO-in-Residence Program is designed to connect our students with dynamic industry leaders to bridge the gap between the taught curriculum, industry and the wider world. I am delighted to announce that old scholar and former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Dr Guy Debelle (SHT 1983) will participate in the program on Thursday 30 March. A special parent/son breakfast featuring a Q and A with Guy, will be held before school that morning. Bookings can be made here.

22 St Peter’s College Track and Field athletes competed in the three-day Athletics State Championships. Congratulations Andrew Maenda (Year 11) for breaking the Under 18 State 100m record, making him the equal fastest 100m time in Australia, putting him on the qualifying list for the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games. Congratulations Andrew, Gman Paye (Year 11), Lawson Jones (Year 10) and Orlando Grantham (Year 7) who received gold medals in their events and the 18 SPSC Track and Field athletes who competed throughout the three days.

To round out a busy fortnight, today our School Captains Thomas Hamilton-Smith and Aidan Hua are hosting over 150 students from across the nation at the 12th National Student Leadership Summit. Thomas and Aidan will lead students from Independent, Catholic and Public Schools in challenging, vigorous debate centred around the pressing global issues of our time. I am sure it will be a transformative experience for all involved.

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend with your family.

Tim Browning