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Connected through similarities. Empowered by differences

It has been a wonderful start to 2021 as Sam and I well and truly settle into our roles as School Captains.

I want to express how appreciative and humbled I am by the way I have been welcomed back into the Saint’s community as the School Vice-Captain. It has been a privilege to engage with the boys, both in the Senior School and Junior School, at a level that wasn’t possible before and I feel more connected to the community than ever before.

This was especially apparent at the recent McGrath Foundation fundraiser, where boys purchased pink socks to wear at school or sporting fixtures on the weekend as a way to raise awareness and fund Breast Care Nurses.  I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support that was shown by staff, parents and students. It reaffirmed in my mind how special and close the community is, both within and outside these walls and fields.

Initiatives like the ‘Pink Socks’ remind me about the intricate balance between similarities and differences. On a macro level, it is remarkable how everyone is connected through our humanity, allowing us to relate and empathise with our peers. We are enthralled by and invested in the lives of others, being deeply moved by emotions of both joy and sorrow, even if it doesn’t directly impact our lives. An example on the small-scale being the power of movies, books and music where we relate with the thoughts and emotions of the creator. This shared humanity, enabled by empathy, is why the feats we achieve are so high and great when we come together. Even on a scientific basis, we are connected, with 99% of every human’s genetic information being identical. However, the significance of that 1% difference should not be overlooked. Our differences, our unique traits and identities are what empower us to contribute to our community in a meaningful way. It is our special talents, traits and characteristics that are valued and appreciated by those around us.

I implore the boys and the Saint’s community to appreciate the humanity of what connects us to our neighbour, while also considering what their differences are, what they can personally and uniquely contribute towards positive change. The idea of being connected through our similarities but empowered by our differences is a foundation that Sam and I wish to lead upon in our roles this year. We have both had a very different experience and journey at Saints, with Sam experiencing the life of a boarder and fostering a love of team sports and Saints’ athletic development, while I have experienced Saints as a day-student and felt engaged in the academic program. Thus, although we both harbour a deep love and connection to the Saints’ community, our different perspectives and experiences will allow us to contribute to the community in our own unique and specific way, hopefully culminating in a brilliant 2021 for St Peter’s College.

However, positive and progressive social change for the betterment of our boys doesn’t stop at the Hackney Road gates but must go beyond to a national level. For this reason, the 10th National Student Leadership Summit this Friday is a brilliant opportunity to connect with the wider community. More than 100 Year 12 student leaders from schools across Australia will be attending. Sam and I are honoured to be co-hosting this event alongside Louka Parry, who is an exciting educator in Australia with a record of sweeping change in schools he has worked with. Louka was promoted to Principal at only 27 years old and is a recipient of the South Australian Inspirational Public Secondary Teacher of the Year. The Summit will be a fantastic outlet for our leaders to interact with other like-minded Year 12s, to discuss and debate issues and challenges being faced in a broader social context. The aim is to empower students in their roles as leaders and for them to impart innovative ideas for improving our community.

I harbour immense gratitude for the continued support shown by the St Peter’s College community, and I am ardently awaiting the rest of 2021!

Rushan Khurram
School Vice-Captain