26 November 2018

At this time of the year the producers of the Academy Awards usually write to request that we change the Year 12 Ball date until after their night of nights so as to not take the gloss off the Oscars. Alas they were again too late with their request.

On Saturday night we hosted our Year 12 Ball with all of its grandeur and elegance. From the red carpet arrival of the boys and their partners, through to the entertainment, beautiful catering and of course the unbelievable ambience of our Dickinson Centre which was transformed into a fire and ice palladium and dance studio; the 2016 Ball was simply a resounding success. I cannot speak more highly of the way the boys represented their College and showed care and respect to their partners throughout the five and a half hour extravaganza. In particular, I would like to thank our School Captain Denver Quantrill and his partner for the Ball Lucy Banks, for being part of our welcoming party and doing such a great job making everyone feel so special.

My sincere thanks goes out to the Ball Committee, every parent helper, and of course our dedicated staff for ensuring our boys had a night that will remain in their memory for years to come. As I said to many of the boys as they departed, see you Monday for a reality check; and here we are back to reality and ready to commence Week 4 of Summer Term.

One of the main issues I believe we face across all years of school is avoiding what we refer to as a culture of distraction, especially as the boys get older and become more and more committed to multiple activities. By now the boys should have all settled back into their pre, during and post school routines. At the most simple level it is critical the boys get the required amount of sleep each night. This needs to be coupled with healthy eating and regular exercise. Also try and ensure that device and screen time does not dominate their recreation space. There are so many opportunities for our boys. Given the availability of activities each day, including inside and outside of school, that we have to ensure that in pursuit of the notion of balance that we do not cross the line and place our boys in an environment that promotes distraction rather than balance. This includes you as the parents who are then left trying to get the boys to a multitude of venues and commitments. Remember it is all right to say no to some things.

In the coming weeks I will be advertising for a Director of Student and Staff Wellbeing. This strategic and senior role will be responsible for ensuring that the College continues to lead in pastoral care and well-being so as to maximise opportunities for students and staff to study and work within a balanced framework. The position will also oversee the types of programmes we offer to families as part of the College's support for educating and raising their sons.

In closing I ask that you put Thursday 10 March in your diary as an opportunity to attend a unique and uplifting evening with Dr Jonathan Welch AM and his Choir of Hard Knocks. We are hosting one of their performances while they tour WA. There is an item that follows in this edition of the Thistle providing full details.

Have a great fortnight.

Dr Alec J O'Connell