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In striving to build an exceptional community of learning at St Peter’s College our hope is that every member of our School is placed on a pathway to growth. As our students mature through the Junior and Senior schools their expectation that growth is, in the main, connected to success, is challenged by broader and more complex challenges in their education, life and relationships. As part of our CEO-in-Residence Program it was wonderful to welcome back Andrew Lee, (HWK 1994) to engage with students and help them understand these experiences. Andrew met with students in Legal Studies and History last week and also spoke to the entire Senior School at Muster making the following key points: take inspiration from rejection; seek out perspectives that are different from your own and shape the future. As a very successful student, Andrew reflected on one of the biggest experiences of rejection in his life and explained how this disappointment actually helped him secure a pathway to growth. As a very successful international lawyer he also explained how he learnt so much from uncomfortable situations – wrestling with conflicting truths while representing refugees and individuals who had been a given a death sentence. You can watch a recording of Andrew’s Address here.

These opportunities for old scholar engagement, combined with the presence of grandparents on campus this week, reinforce the importance of generational belonging. Over 600 grandparents and special friends visited the Junior School where our students delighted in welcoming them into their learning spaces to share their work and introduce them to their friends and teachers. I had the pleasure of escorting our guests on tours around the historic precinct to explain not only the founding of the School, but the origin of the School’s mission and values, and why these values remain important to their grandson’s education.

I trust these tours provided our guests a greater understanding of SPSC’s purpose and strengthened their connection to the School and their grandson’s education so they can take their rightful place in our community. This is important because grandparents and special friends provide our students with a unique point of connection that ensures they are known, they are loved and they are forgiven. And as parents, we too are grateful for the broad stability the extra generation provides as we navigate the challenges of raising children in today’s society.

Our National Reconciliation Week commemorations began with a special presentation during Muster by journalist Megan Spencer. She discussed her podcast “Bring His Spirit Home” which tells the story of Private Arthur Thomas Walker, the great-grandfather of Uncle John Lochowiak. Uncle John then led our 1st and Open sporting teams in a Smoking Ceremony in which he called on the boys to connect with country and to draw on the spirit from the land on which they live to perform at their best. Across the past two weekends, all 1st and Open teams have proudly worn sporting tops featuring Indigenous artwork designed by old scholars Leon Connop (S&A 2023) and Nathan Spry (S&A 2023) in 2020.

In the Junior School our classes showcased their engagement with Dr Yunkaporta’s 8 Ways Aboriginal Pedagogy, a learning technique incorporated in their curriculum to foster meaningful cross-cultural dialogue and shared learning experiences. As an educational institution, we are in a privileged position to guide our young people towards a reconciled Australia. Cultural awareness and learning activities are an ongoing priority, not just dedicated to a week on our calendar, as we take meaningful actions to advance reconciliation.

This theme of reconciliation will be significant to our Year 10 students when they depart on Sunday to journey through the Ikara-Flinders Ranges, connecting with people and places. In what will be their final ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ Journey, our Year 10 students are embarking on a transformative experience designed to foster self-discovery. In this modern age, it’s crucial that our students are exposed to experiences and opportunities in which they can pursue personal growth. I encourage all boys to go and discover their hidden powers as they embark on a journey that is an obvious signpost along their path to adulthood. I have no doubt this signpost will be both memorable and liberating.

Our swimmers showcased their talents at our House Swimming Carnival last Friday with an impressive five records set; Max Hewitt (Year 10) set four and James Stockman (Year 12) one. The many House novelty events gave every boy the opportunity to participate. Well done to all our swimmers who challenged themselves in the pool throughout the trials and carnival. Congratulations to Woodcock House for winning the Senior House Cup and Farr House the Junior House Cup. Da Costa House was awarded the Champion House Cup.

Well done to all recipients of Colours and Symbols for their high-level participation in Service and Music. I encourage all students, whilst supported by the resources available in this community, to push hard to really seek the truth in their ability, in their chosen pursuits. While not everyone can be excellent, we can all strive for excellence in our chosen domain.

I wish you an enjoyable long weekend.

Tim Browning