By Richard Hall | Posted: Sunday June 28, 2020
I am pleased to report that your old school, and mine, continues to develop in these difficult times.
Term 2 2020 will go down as one of the more unusual in my time as Rector. The quick move into lock down, mid-March saw us all scrambling to move all of our learning online. The pedagogical theory of the '21st century learning', where supposedly students will be able to access all of the answers that they will ever need at the push of a button; was well and truly laid to rest. Boys enjoy the physical and social interaction of the classroom, where ideas and conversation can explore learning topics and theories - it is often in this area that we see the best learning. As the lock down period went on, teachers noticed a marked decline in the numbers interacting, boys simply wanted to be back in the classroom.
What covid-19 did expose was a real willingness from all of the teaching and support staff to walk alongside the boys. I was very proud and humbled by the efforts that were put in daily to ensure all aspects of the school were still up and running. No one person or group should be singled out, but I must mention the staff at the hostel, led by Matt Markham our Director of Boarding, a kitchen staff member, a cleaner and 4 housemasters who looked after 14 international students during this period of time. These boys have not been able to return home since January. I am very proud to report they are staying for the full year and their families are very happy with the level of care and support they have received.
A hole that the pandemic exposed was the digital divide in our school, where, even though we are declie 9 a number of our students have no suitable device. I was contacted by an old boy at the end of the lock down, he donated $10,000 towards fixing this issue and I am very pleased to say it is helping our learners.
The return to school saw a return to sporting and cultural activities, with debating and basketball first to get started. In fact we have noticed no decline in numbers keen to be involved in extra-curricular activities; something that I was concerned may fall away. This is a very important facet of our school life and I think it helps to make us a stronger community.
As old boys I know you remain interested in the work that is done behind the scenes. I remain indebted to Mr Geoff Bates (1972-76), Chair of the Old Boys' Society and Mr John Blaikie, (1987-91), Chair of the Foundation for their leadership on behalf of the school. If I had a plea to the Old Boys it was that they got involved in their old school and they made an effort to reconnect through these two groups. This is especially so with the Hostel 150th Reunion in February 2021. I encourage you to register and join us for the celebrations.
As a school we look forward to the return to 'normality' in Term 3, where we will have some inter-schools and the push towards examinations.
Recti Cultus Pectora Roborant.