15 October 2018

Throughout the year there are many times when one can sit back and reflect on the level of participation by students and staff in a whole range of activities. Last week at Scotch was no exception.

Each year I hold a series of lunches for Year 2 parents. These gatherings are geared at providing an opportunity to hear from some of our newer Junior School parents as to how their son has settled into the School and whether or not we are meeting, or more importantly, exceeding the expectations they had in choosing Scotch. The level of participation in these lunches and the ensuing positive feedback has been very encouraging. It is also great to get some new suggestions on how best we can shape the opportunities provided to our boys.

Sharing in the teaching and learning journey of our boys is a critical part of the Scotch journey. Last Thursday night I was very fortunate to observe an amazing array of projects in the Middle School that were part of a unit of inquiry into medieval life. The top floor Middle School classrooms were turned into a learning street highlighting ingenuity, hard work and learning diversity. It was clear that the boys had responded to the tasks set and the quality of the work on display showed just how well their teachers had prepared their boys for this activity.

Finally, anyone lucky enough to be on the Scotch playing fields on Saturday was treated to an amazing morning of First teams PSA sport. By 1.00pm the students, staff, OSC, parents and families in attendance had experienced something that doesn't happen every year.

The huge crowd that came to support the Rugby team in pursuit of our first outright rugby win since 1990 were not disappointed. They were treated to one of the best games of schoolboy rugby for which one could wish. Back this up with the finale to the First XVIII claiming a resounding victory on the day, culminating in sharing the 2016 PSA Football trophy. While not in the hunt for a trophy, our First XI Soccer produced a fantastic close to their season by claiming victory over a strong Trinity team. Away from the playing fields our Badminton team, which had already secured the PSA title, cruised to a resounding victory and the First XI Hockey finished their year off with a hard fought victory to claim second place overall. Earlier on Saturday morning I also had the pleasure of seeing our Cross-Country team give it their best over a 7.8km Kings Park course.

Notwithstanding the actual results on the day, it was actually the sense of community that struck a chord for those in attendance. The solidarity and support from everyone, and the sportsmanship of our boys, made the final day of PSA Winter sport very special. Well done and thanks to everyone who turned up on Saturday.

Community, solidarity and support are not just restricted to our current student population. On Sunday 14 August our OSC along with the CCGS old boys, held the second annual Festival of the Boot. Old boys from both colleges played each other in Soccer, Football, Hockey and Rugby. Thanks must go to the OSC President, Michael Silbert for his drive and energy and to Lance Quartermaine our OSC Manager who, in conjunction with CCGS, were involved in organizing the day. For the record Scotch took out the trophy for the second year in a row.

Over the last couple of weeks, many of our Year 11 students have attended first round scholarship interviews for the PC Anderson and WR Dickinson scholarships. Over the coming week I will be interviewing the shortlist of candidates. In conjunction with Michael Silbert, President of OSC and Julie Dickinson, wife of the late Bill Dickinson, one boy will be selected for each of the respective scholarships.

While it will be difficult to come down to only two successful candidates, the process reminds me of the depth of talent and genuine commitment we have in our boys. I would like to finish by sharing just a couple of small quotes taken from two of the ten shortlisted applications that I have had the privilege of reading. There were similar reflections in all of the applications. I believe these show the level of understanding our boys have of their college.

'Scotch College thrives because there is a critical mass of staff and students who display, exhibit and support the common goals of the school to grow good men who have passion, courage and know how to make a difference in the world in which they live'

'Scotch College's proud history has been heavily dependent on strong leadership from staff, students and key community support groups such as the OSC. The way that these groups collaborate and support each other drive our culture and tradition and makes the Scotch experience so meaningful for the boys lucky enough to experience it.'

With reflections like that from our boys, is it any wonder that we continue to experience great moments that will last in our psyche forever?

Have a great fortnight

Dr Alec O'Connell