Despite there being many wider community challenges drawing our attention away from the chief responsibility of the pursuit of learning, it is vital we continually remind our students to focus upon the three core values of St Peter’s College: truth, respect, service. Even though our usual way of life may be disrupted, our values remain unchanged. They remain our foundation and we must make a concerted effort to truly live them in times of challenge to ensure they are a compass guiding our actions.
The pursuit of truth begins in our own lives. Honesty in effort in the classroom is the first stepping stone toward maturity in school life and such endeavour builds achievement and engagement. As parents and educators we should not apologise for asking and expecting all students to pursue their best both inside and out of the classroom. As our boys grow and mature they become more capable of pursuing truth in society and the wider world. Our Anglican framework is a gift as it provides the space to question and disagree. After all, truth trumps dogma. Being able to hold conflicting views in tension while the pursuit of truth takes place is a skill we must teach all our students.
Respect should form the basis of all our interactions with others. A respectful tone and manner often leads to constructive and enlightening conversations and helps our students learn about one another and celebrate our differences. It is so much easier to be empathetic and kind when you approach people and situations respectfully. When so many in our community are experiencing difficult times within their immediate or extended families, this tone helps ensure everyone feels a sense of belonging and support. It is our expectation at St Peter’s College that all members of our community, regardless of age, treat others, regardless of seniority or status, with respect. It is right and just that breaches of this expectation are called into question.
Service has been embedded in the School since its foundation and is clearly stated in the School motto Pro Deo et Patria. Our attention is both within and beyond these walls and fields with the School Captains establishing the Blue Group to focus on mental wellbeing and fitness and students phoning isolated old scholars to talk and connect. I remind all students that while the community restrictions prevent us from engaging in many activities beyond our campus, we must remain prepared and ready to give our time and energy when the opportunity presents.
I ask you to start conversations with your sons about truth, respect and service and the pursuit thereof. We are what we continually do and if the habits of our students are not habits of excellence centred upon our values of truth, respect and service, then close scrutiny should be encouraged.
Although it remains frustrating for parents that we are not able to engage as a community in our usual ways, please know that you can make contact with key staff at any time. As we strive to be an exceptional community of learning your engagement with the School is absolutely vital to ensure our strong partnership is structured to bring out the best in every student.