A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school on Kaurna Country, Adelaide, South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Acting Principal - Edition 3 - 2023

It is hard to believe that we are already halfway through the first term of the school year!

Already in 2023, we have seen so much activity return to the School after a challenging couple of years. As Principal Simon Shepherd has communicated to our families, it is my privilege to be Acting Principal in his absence for the remainder of Term 1. I have been warmly welcomed into the Westminster community and am excited for what the future holds.

During the Senior School assembly this week, I spoke to the students about my brief experience at Westventure last week. I have heard a lot about Westventure but seeing it firsthand, I was struck by the simplicity of the set-up and incredible access that the students had to so many different land and sea activities. I was very pleased to see our students working together as a team to overcome the physical challenges in front of them. The students are faced with activities that they may think are impossible: a 17km run; 12 nights away from social media; going without a favourite home cooked meal! It was wonderful to see and hear about the enjoyment and satisfaction the students are experiencing by completing these tasks. Overcoming these challenges, individually and together as a group, builds fantastic camaraderie and lasting memories that clearly stay with all students who complete this amazing adventure.

So, I wondered what would happen if we took away all challenges in front of our students? Would the idea of attending a camp that had Wi-Fi, less rules or no physical effort required be as rewarding? I suggest not. The same applies at School. If we gave all students the answers for their assignments, would the satisfaction of receiving a high grade still be there? If learning a musical instrument was easy, perhaps we would all take up an instrument without necessarily feeling what it means to passionately play from the heart. We want our students to appreciate that nothing in life that comes easy to them is truly satisfying. When students are required to put in effort, the satisfaction is longer lasting than something that comes as an easy win.

The long weekend marks the first compulsory boarders’ exeat for 2023. I recently spent some time with our Boarding families and was pleased to hear their positive feedback on the start of the school year. Our Boarding students and their families add a wonderful element to our community, and I really appreciated getting to know them better. Leaving home to attend a Boarding school is not an easy path to take but I was happy to hear that our students had settled in well. I am sure they will enjoy their time back at home or having a break with their family over the weekend.

Please enjoy the long weekend and I hope you find some time to relax and recharge for a busy second half of the term.

Andrew Whiteman
Acting Principal