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

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Principal - Edition 16 - 2021

Having just spent the weekend with the Boarding parents in Renmark at a fantastic Boarder Parents’ Association annual gathering, I can reflect on my enjoyment of sharing this time with some of our most committed and stoic parents.

Our Boarding parents face the tough decision of sending their children off to school and having them grow up and mature away from them and their family homes. To give their children the best education they can, they make the financial and emotional sacrifice of sending their children away to school. This is seen as a reality for them - it’s a decision they make to give their children the best opportunity they can to help them for the rest of their lives.

Along with making this tough decision, they also have to manage the complexities of life in regional and rural Australia, where weather variations and climate change can completely and sometimes unpredictably change the economic, cultural and social landscape in which they live. Our Boarding parents and boarders have to face life with a very stoic attitude.

COVID has also forced us to consider a more stoic approach to life and we can all learn the significant value of this from our Boarding community too.

The Roman Philosopher, Seneca the Younger is often attributed with being a founding father of stoicism and his recommendations below are something that we can all learn from:

  1. Work with what we can change.
  2. Be sure: limit your concerns to what you know for sure.
  3. Take an expanded view, things could be worse.
  4. Choose a role model, a positive one!
  5. Premediate the worst, hope and work for the best.
  6. Enjoy what’s in our power - while we can’t do many things right now, we can still do others.

At our staff briefing at the start of the term, we all shared the recommendations of Seneca and we will continue to share these with students across the remainder of the year.

The advice of Seneca is particularly important to our Year 12s as they finish their timetabled lessons at the end of this week and leave for swot vac and examinations. We do hope that for the cohort this is a farewell rather than goodbye and we have been looking forward to celebrating their time at Westminster with them over this week. Following the exam period, we will continue the graduation celebrations at our formal events such as Valedictory and Prize Giving.

We strongly encourage our Year 12s to utilise their teachers’ expertise over the swot vac period. Likewise, it is essential that they remember where Westminster is and know that we are still here for them, even when they have finished their formal education. As a School, we want our Old Scholars to be a part of our strong Westminster network, our Old Scholar sporting clubs, the Westminster Old Scholars’ Association, and the many interest and social groups that are offered both formally and informally throughout our amazing community.

I am sure you will all join with me to wish our Year 12s every success in their upcoming exams.

Simon Shepherd