Today our honoured guest and speaker Mrs Betty-ann Hiem delivered our Speech Day address. Betty-ann shared her St Peter’s College journey as a staff member across the past 21 years. Thank you Betty-ann for your address and for being a passionate advocate for the arts who has inspired many a student to explore their creative talents.
The following is an extract from Mrs Betty-ann Hiem’s Speech Day Address:
Headmaster, staff, students and guests. I am honoured to be here with an opportunity to recount the highlights of my time at St Peter’s College.
Years before I started teaching here, my husband and I flew into Australia and into Adelaide to buy a home in Eastern Adelaide. St Peter’s College had a wonderful international reputation and, believing that one day we would be living in Adelaide, we were making plans for our son’s education.
In 2003 my son Nicholas and I started at SPSC. Nick was in Year 8, and, by coincidence, that same year, I started teaching in the Art Department. I saw the School as both a parent and teacher, and I liked what I saw.
Nick was a happy student, and I was a happy mother.
I, as a teacher, was in awe of the calibre of the teaching staff. They knew the curriculum, knew the boys, and knew how to share knowledge. Teaching here was like educator’s heaven. 20 years on – I still like what I do.
In 20 years, I have seen many changes, and I would like to recount a few of my highlights.
In the early days a SPSC boy:
Never wore a cap with his winter uniform.
Took his summer hat off when in a classroom.
He recorded his own homework in his homework diary and had his parent site and sign the homework diary every week.
Old scholars often returned (and still do) as paid coaches, and only coaches of 1st teams were paid, externally hired, non-teachers.
I was involved in the winter sport of Basketball and (pre-internet)… every Friday, team lists, venue locations, maps, and game times for every sport were posted on large peg boards in the main hallway of Old School House. All basketball information had its allocated corner. After school on Friday’s a mob of boys jostled to find information for the following day’s play.
I was a mentor in Farrell House, with the caring Mr Jehle as Head of House. Our mentor rooms were in historic old classrooms located below what we now call The Year 12 College. I treasured my time as a mentor in what my boys called Heim Time.
In 2003 the Burchnall Sports Centre opened, honouring our then Headmaster.
Mr Burchnall, lived with his family in Oval House, in the middle of the grounds. In 2005, the new headmaster arrived with his wife and young daughters. Oval House was not going to be a convenient place for the Grutzner family to live so they lived off-site, and Oval House became the administration space that it is today.
In 2010 SPSC began the transition to a fully lap-top based Apple School. Boys no longer had to remember their homework diaries because computerised information from staff kept the students organised. Work could be submitted electronically. No longer could the dog take the blame for eating one’s homework.
Martin Seligman arrived from the United States with his Wellbeing Program, and Positive Psychology. We learned our character strengths, and I believe that because of this work we are now a gentler school.
The Pentreath Building, which curves gently around the Main Oval, became the slick, state-of-the-art, Year 7 and 8 hub that it is today.
And more recently the Big Quad, and the surrounding buildings had a major face lift. I watched as trees were removed to make way for our new Year 12 College.
I love the convenience of technology, but I confess that, after 20 years, I can say that I like modernism most as an art movement. I like conversation instead of emails.
I thank teachers, administration, grounds and maintenance workers, and the students. This fine institution is a diverse blend of personalities – and that is a good thing. We discuss our magnificent grounds, but without the people who come here every day, this is just a beautiful, empty, park. People are the heart of what we are, and conversations are key.
I hope one thing for you students who are returning next year… my moment of Spruiking…
I hope that you get involved in art as a subject or co-curricular. Be it visual art, drama, music, dance, or a language. It is good for your brain and good for your soul.
I end by wishing you a happy holiday, and I look forward to overlapping with you in the future. This is not a good-bye.