26 November 2018

As highlighted in one of my newsletters last term, the College Council and Executive met on 24 September to commence discussions and information gathering in preparation for the next strategic planning phase of the College. While there is still a lot of work to be done before this process is complete, there is no doubt that a recurring theme on the day was the strength and unique qualities of the Scotch community. Emanating from this is a clear desire to ensure that the next plan maximises the capacity of our community to continue providing a truly value adding experience for all boys and their families. With almost 15,000 students having passed through Scotch, the ability to connect far beyond Year 12 is unlimited.

Why do I mention the above? The answer is simple. The concept of what the Scotch community offers is something to which our boys also constantly refer. Over the last couple of months we received applications and held interviews for the PC Anderson and WR Dickinson scholarships. A common theme throughout these applications was the boys' reflections on the concept of a community. This was particularly relevant in the PC Anderson applications given that this scholarship is for current students who have had a family member attend the College. Having said this, students who had joined Scotch without any prior connection through family reiterated the same comments as part of the WR Dickinson applications.

In referring to community, I found some of the analogies provided by a number our boarders between their experiences growing up in a country town and what Scotch has offered them, as very insightful. Following are a couple of extracts from two of the applications I received from our students. One is from a boarder and the other from a day student.

Referring to his hometown one student highlighted that:

This close-knit community played an influential role in developing important qualities in me, such as independence, resilience, responsibility and dedication. These character traits have transitioned seamlessly from my regional district into the rich and vibrant community of Scotch College. Each and every day I aim to display these traits within the various areas of school life. I relish the privilege of being a Scotch student, and do my best to be an enthusiastic participant in every activity that I am engaged in.

While coming from the perspective of a day boy the following statement yet again highlighted what the Scotch community has meant thus far:

I quickly realised that this was not just a school. It was an intricate network of student friendships, teacher-student relations and an overwhelming support towards one another that classed it well above anywhere I had ever been before. It was a community.

In 2015 the process of transitioning Keys House from a boarding house to a day house began. Mr David Kyle was appointed to head up this House and in conjunction with the Director of Residential Life, Mr Marcus Wilkinson, is charged with ensuring this transition progresses as smoothly as possible. Keys House has Tom Gooch as its House Captain. Residential Life (Boarding) is an integral part of who we are at Scotch. As part of the transition process we now have a new student leadership position as the Captain of Residential Life that has been filled by Flynn Taylor. The focus on this change in our House system is to ensure that the day and residential community are fully integrated during the day, however, after school there should be unique experiences and benefits that the boys should experience as a result of being part of our residential community.

I would like to mention a significant event that brings our College and the wider community together each year and highlights what I mean when I speak about our boys graduating into a community for life. This event is now fondly known as Tim's Ride. As many of you may know Tim was an OSC from 2002 and was tragically killed while riding his bike along Curtin Avenue. Each year our College joins the family and many other supporters to keep Tim's legacy alive in our hearts and minds. This year the ride is on Saturday 14 November. If you have the time, I encourage you to join this event and show your support for this worthy event. https://www.registernow.com.au/secure/Register.aspx?E=17679

Finally the Year 12 WACE and Diploma exams have officially commenced this week. Please keep our boys and their families in your thoughts and prayers. I know our boys are well prepared and wish them all the very best and look forward to seeing them at our Chapel and Valedictory dinner on Friday 27 November.

Have a great fortnight

Dr Alec O'Connell