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

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Principal - Edition 15 - 2020

In any given year, the start of Term 4 is busy, particularly with Year 12s finalising their classes before heading off for exams. This year, however, the start of Term 4 has been busier than usual.

Last week we hosted a successful Open Day for prospective families, socialised with our fabulous Boarder Parents in Wudinna and officially opened the Thomas Pavilion on Sunday 18 October. In a year where large gatherings have been sparse, we welcomed our community to this milestone event. If you attended, thank you and I hoped you enjoyed seeing another impressive development in our Campus Masterplan become a reality; to the many volunteers who helped out – thank you; to our staff who worked tirelessly on, at and around the event – thank you! If you weren’t able to attend, you may have noted that we announced the new name of our Sports Pavilion as the Thomas Pavilion. The Thomas family, with Old Scholars Darren Thomas (’90) and his sister, the late Kylie Thomas (‘92), has been extremely generous to Westminster and we are proud of our association with them. The Giles family, led by Crawford Giles (’86), was equally excited to have the northern grandstand named after their father/grandfather/great grandfather, Mawson Giles, a tireless volunteer when Westminster was little more than a green field. We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Thomas and Giles families and, of course, our community. It was a magnificent occasion to mark an incredible new facility, which will serve our students, families, staff and Old Scholars extremely well.

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Chairman of Council, Phillip Styles ('66) and wife, Robyn, with the Thomas Family.
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The Giles Family in front of the Mawson Giles Stand.

Milestones of this stature are rare and in 2020 we have three celebrations with the Thomas Pavilion, Inquiry and Innovation Hub and Solar Energy Project. While they create their own milestone peaks on our timeline, there is much more happening on a daily basis. We’ve had two fantastic Dance co-curricular concerts in the past week, witnessed the Governor of South Australia present Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Awards in the Adelaide Town Hall exclusively to 24 Westminster students and Old Scholars, and are now on the cusp of farewelling Year 12s from daily school life. Furthermore, the Carter Laboratories refurbishment is underway to become our new Carter Wing, home of Creative Arts and Digital Media. In a few weeks, Music will move while we rebuild the back of the Michael Murray Centre for Performing Arts over the coming year to create an amazing community hub.

Of course, this year we have had to be mindful of the pandemic and every event we have hosted has been compliant with SA Health COVID-19 guidelines. Our commitment continues to these health directives so some ‘normal’ Term 4 events, such as Speech Day, Christmas Lights and the Preparatory School Nativity, will be different. Christmas Lights, as we know it, cannot run under the prevailing restrictions. Instead, we are planning an outdoor evening of Christmas carols for our School community on the lawns around the new Thomas Pavilion. Details outlining all event changes will follow and we will need to work constructively together in the face of this new paradigm. As a School, we are doing all that we can to encourage students to have a Term 4 as close to ‘normal’ as possible and your support in this is greatly appreciated. As the global pandemic continues to disrupt the lives of many, let us take time to appreciate that we are living in ‘the lucky country’, specifically South Australia, where we have been more fortunate than our eastern neighbours. Consequently, we will continue to do our best to ensure Westminster is a vibrant, welcoming and safe place to be for students, staff and community.

Simon Shepherd