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 - 2021

The School term we have just lived through has to have been one of the most eventful of my career. While we started in July with the trials of a South Australian lockdown and a period of quarantine for our School, we have ended Term 3 with a run of amazing successes. At the ‘beginning of the end’ of our winter sports season, we hosted Pembroke in a fantastic Intercol that brought out the best from both Schools. I can proudly say that overall Westminster came out on top this year, retaining for the next twelve months four of the First Team cups – football (boys and girls), netball and basketball. Our talented female athletes then continued their winning streak by winning the Years 8/9 Netball Statewide (Knockout) Competition as well as the Basketball Statewide (Knockout) Competition. These competitions are considered to be the highest level for students in South Australia so we can be incredibly proud of the State champions in our midst. On top of this, our Open Netball team made the final and won the IGSSA Cup. The wrap-up of these outstanding achievements and more can be found in the Head of Senior Sport’s article within this eNews.

At the Cross Country event, our runners did a fantastic job to win the Junior State Cross Country Championship. Our Running Club is the grassroots from which this great Cross Country team has grown. Then we moved onto athletics with our teams competing with enormous courage in both the Co-Ed Cup and the Achilles Cup.

Meanwhile, back in the Michael Murray Centre for Performing Arts, the huge number of students involved in Drama, Music and Dance, excelled in terms of performance and entertainment. The Year 11 Drama students won over audiences with their ambitious ‘70s take on Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Music Night focused on 60 Years of Music at Westminster with superb instrumental and vocal arrangements of some of the biggest hits from the past six decades. The Dance performance of ‘Vincent’ wowed audiences with its stunning projections and production (thank you AJ Sound and Tech Crew) to complement the fabulous choreography and effort of our students, particularly those being assessed in SACE Stage 2 Dance.

As the term concluded, the Years 12 and 11 students were able to enjoy their ‘rite of passage’ Green and White School Formal. It was done within COVID guidelines and enjoyed by all in attendance. Congratulations to the Formal committee who did such a fine job to bring this important event together.

I have said before that in times of adversity, the real strength of a community shines through. The challenges faced this term have absolutely brought out the best in our School community. From the Year 12s, who organised events ranging from Canoe Polo to Interhouse trivia quizzes, to Year 8s who hosted their Gala last week, our student body has rallied together and ensured that their year has been as ‘normal’ as possible. Of course, we cannot forget at the end of Term 3 the huge amount of work done by our staff at Westminster to make all of this happen for the benefit of our students. Whether courtside or on the stage, our staff were there every step of the way to guide, train, coach and encourage students, bringing out the best in them in a world that could change with little notice. Uncertainty can be very taxing for everyone and our staff have made every effort to ensure that our students’ education, school and sporting experiences have been as unaffected and rewarding as possible. While we have had to cancel a number of excursions and trips, our staff have continued to find meaningful alternatives for our students. Of course, all of this has happened while staying on high alert should there have been another lockdown and a switch to online learning. Next term, we are looking to share even more exciting news about digital learning opportunities at Westminster.

Despite travel restrictions, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Thinking of my own family too, I am certain we have all deserved this time to stop and recharge. I look forward to seeing you in Term 4 as we complete the School year, especially if you can attend our prize and award ceremonies.

As we are approaching the end of another year, I sincerely thank you all for your support. As restrictions and guidelines are likely to remain fluid in response to circumstances over the coming months, I know we will continue to rally together as a strong community. You are encouraged to keep looking for ways to be involved at Westminster in any way you can. My idyllic dream is to still have a boating and fishing social gathering in Port Vincent next term and a ride and lunch for the motorbike riders amongst us. Please let us know if you have a particular interest and idea for a community event and we’ll do our best to make your dream a reality - if not this year, in 2022. Wouldn’t we be grateful if we could not only achieve but maintain that perfectly elusive life balance between work and play? I know our Boarder Parents will happily prove what’s possible when they kick off Term 4 with their annual weekend gathering, this year in the Riverland.

Have a great break, have fun with your family and please stay safe and well.

Simon Shepherd