4 February 2019

National Sorry Day is an annual event that has been held in Australia on 26 May, since 1998. On the same day in 1997 the report entitled 'Bringing them Home' - the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, was tabled in Federal Parliament. Sorry Day commemorates the tabling of this report, and is an annual day to commemorate and remember all of those indigenous people who have been impacted by government policies or forcible removal that resulted in the stolen generations.

On Friday 26 May, our College acknowledged Sorry Day and our boys represented the College at an appropriate commemoration. As a modern and progressive College, with 38 enrolled Indigenous students, it is our role to ensure that we take this day, and other times such as NAIDOC week, to celebrate the strength and resilience of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to reaffirm Scotch's role in committing to healing and reconciliation.

With the tragic events that took place in Manchester last week, it highlights an even greater importance for our College to develop and graduate internationally minded citizens who are in a positon to make a difference to our world, thus serving the future generations of young people.

It is hard to understand and explain to our own students the psyche behind a person who is born in a city, lived there all of their life, engaged in what their community has had to offer and yet is still driven to carry out a despicable, spineless act of terrorism against his fellow youth. This is why at Scotch we remain strategically committed to offering curriculum and co-curricular opportunities, such as the Round Square exchanges, that lifts the sights of the boys beyond our shores; teaching them to think, challenge, discern and act, not just to remember and recall facts.

There is a saying that 'Knowledge is Power'. What really counts is how we teach our boys to maximise and share their knowledge to make a difference in their world, not just to simply use it to get into a course via the simple recall of such knowledge at the end of Year 12.

Last week was one of those great times at Scotch when we are reminded of the difference between being just a good school and a great school; it was the week we held our annual Seniors' Lunch. To qualify, the attendees must have graduated from Scotch at least 50 years ago. I had the privilege of being seated with the longest serving graduates, mostly from the 1930's, including Dallas Hamilton, who finished at Scotch in 1933 and has just turned 101 years old. Events such as this remind our current students that their College will still be there for them for many more years to come.

In an educational climate where even the State Government's most promoted prestigious Independent Public School, the merit select Perth Modern, is now under siege to relocate, is it any wonder that parents would choose to come to Scotch for our history, longevity and predictability.

In this, our 120th year of existence, we are going nowhere but forward.

There is a lot happening over the coming fortnight across our three sub schools and I urge you to read about these events in the rest of The Thistle and take the opportunity to come along and enjoy everything that is on offer for your boys; especially our regular assemblies.

I am pleased to share with you two newly developed digital platforms, the Teaching and Learning website and Headmaster's Blog. Our Teaching and Learning site is designed for current parents and provides access to the most up to date information regarding the Teaching and Learning programmes at the College. The Headmaster's Blog is a platform in which to share my reflections on a number of topics relating to our boys and their education.

Have a great fortnight.

Dr A J O'Connell