18 June 2018

Building Better Men

Over the last weekend the International Boys' Schools Coalition met in Perth and was hosted by our neighbouring college, Christ Church Grammar. The theme was "Building Better Men: Educating for Character". For the Scotch community the concept of 'Preparing boys for life' must and does include building character. The teaching and learning, pastoral care and co-curricular programmes must be aligned to ensure that we are delivering planned and meaningful interactions geared at the development of character within our boys. We see examples of character development and character in action every day in the school community.

Firstly, this week our Pipe Band travels to Norfolk, Virginia, USA as invitees to a tattoo. This is the culmination of hours of preparation and practice over many years for each member of the band. We are well aware of the role played by our Pipe Band in terms of cultural development at Scotch and places in the band are highly sought after as they are a marker of our heritage and traditions. Being a part of the band develops the character of each member through teaching the value of hard work, practice and commitment to a highly disciplined skill. It is amazing that boys who are successful in the Pipe Band represent an incredible cross section of students. I distinctly remember my first March Out as a new headmaster; and as I watched the front row of the Pipe Band coming towards me I noticed that it was made up of students who were eclectically successful in their different academic, sporting, music, drama and debating programmes. The common thread was a commitment to difference and the willingness to work hard to succeed and become a part of a major college tradition. I will be travelling with the students and parents to Norfolk and will watch with pride as they perform at the tattoo knowing what it has taken in personal effort for each member of the band to be there.

This week we finish Summer Sport and I have no doubt that as a result of winning and losing various games, the character of many of our boys was developed and enhanced through playing in teams and interacting with so many others from our fellow PSA colleges.

Our music students have also been working hard individually on their technique and in their various ensembles. At the Summer Concert this Thursday they will have the opportunity to showcase the fruits of their labour. I encourage parents, students and staff to join us in the Dickinson Centre at 7.00pm to enjoy their achievements.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our students and their families for making this term flow so smoothly and acknowledge the character showed by many of our families this term as we faced a term of disruption and upheaval associated with the construction of our new Middle School and the Town of Claremont road works. I can truly say that the community has been terrific working around the challenges we have faced. The need to remain patient will continue during the holidays and into next term.

Let me conclude by sharing a quote which challenges us about what character means.

"The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do" John Holt.

Have a great break


Dr A J O'Connell