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

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Principal - Edition 5 - 2021

All of a sudden the end of Term 1 is here, Easter is upon us and, hopefully, for all of us, it means some time with our families and friends. Perhaps we can relax and enjoy a little bit of respite from what has been a very busy start to the year.

Following a week of Preparatory School and Senior School Sports Days, our term has concluded with the enormous finale of our biennial School musical, this year being School of Rock. In the program, Director Kat Elliott, Music Director Chris Gould and Choreographer Carolyn Obst have all expressed their thanks to everyone involved – the School of Rock team of students, staff, families and volunteers – and I am in complete agreement with their sentiments. While dedicated staff took on production or ‘acting’ cameos, and the Friends of Music team looked after hospitality, our audiences were there to relish in the remarkable work of the students. Congratulations to all involved with this outstanding production – cast, crew and band. Your efforts have dazzled us and I hope you have found it a truly valuable learning experience. School of Rock provided an opportunity for many students and staff to showcase their talent, dedication, commitment and leadership, and, in return, the audiences have been able to provide positive affirmation for all involved.

Positive affirmation is something that we all thrive on. It is fantastic to get positive feedback, a pat on the back, a thank you or a ‘well done’. Giving positive affirmation costs the giver nothing but it is a massive boost to the self-esteem of the recipient. Often our society works on being punitive – we act on and remember all the things that have gone wrong and all too quickly forget what has gone well. Sadly, I have never received a letter in the mail thanking me for not speeding and giving me back demerit points! At Westminster, we really strive to give students appropriate positive affirmations when they are merited and, of course, this extends to the greater community. At an event like School of Rock, this comes immediately in the way of audience engagement and applause, and then through word of mouth and online channels, but there are other ways too.

Recently, I was asked why the speed sign at the front of the School does not give positive affirmation. It only gives us a red grumpy face when we are going too fast; it doesn’t say thank you or give a green smiley face if are doing 10kmph or below. Following this feedback and working on trying to give positive affirmation where it is merited, we checked the machine. Our investigation was most revealing. The sign has the capacity to monitor speeds from 110kmph down to 10kmph, the lowest speed it will recognise. So if we had the speed set at 20kmph and you went less than 20kmph you would get positive affirmation. Below 10kmph, it doesn’t register your speed so you have a blank screen – no thank you or smiley face. Quite irksome! We have contacted the supplier and there is no solution to this, so the sign is not capable of giving us the positive affirmation we crave. In an attempt to compensate, I will! Thank you to all of you who drive on campus and do keep to the speed limit. Your efforts to keep our School as safe as possible for all of our students is very much appreciated, particularly with our Campus masterplan Stage 3 construction in full swing.

While on positive affirmation, thank you also to all those who attended WestFest and Sports Days. Your support of our School and community only helps us grow closer and stronger. I hope that you can join me in providing positive affirmation and applaud all those who made these events, including the School musical, possible. There is no set time limit for positive affirmation, it’s just about finding the right time and not letting those ‘right times’ pass by.

I hope that you have a wonderful Easter and look forward to seeing you all next term.

Simon Shepherd