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

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Principal - Edition 8 - 2019

Reflecting on a week of events, the resounding highlight has been Westminster’s sense of wonderful community, caring and belonging.

We sadly farewelled Year 9 student Erin Kennealy (’22) last week at a moving service in the Sir Shirley Jeffries Memorial Chapel. Family, students, friends and staff packed the Chapel to celebrate Erin’s life in a beautiful tribute, and be there for the Kennealy family. Last night in the ‘Dance Allsorts’ show, Erin’s Year 9 Dance class performed a heartfelt piece in her honour as an expression of their feelings towards losing their classmate.

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending two fantastic events involving our Old Scholars. The first was at the University of Adelaide where Hannah Wandel (’06) received the prestigious James McWha Rising Star Award for founding the Country to Canberra program that provides leadership, mentorship and education for young women in regional and remote Australia. Hannah is now also the Acting Director of the Drought Taskforce, while steadily building Country to Canberra to an organisation that has helped more than 3500 girls. Making it even more remarkable is that Hannah was only 24 years old when she started this organisation. Along with her family, I was delighted to see Hannah’s outstanding work, drive and passion recognised in this way.

Following the awards, I returned to Westminster to join the Class of 1989 at their 30 Year Reunion, a very well attended and seemingly much enjoyed event! There was a terrific sense of pride and community on display and it was a pleasure to meet so many of our Old Scholars, back from as far away as Perth to visit their old School. Quite a few of the Class of 1989 are Westminster parents who backed up their reunion by being at sport the next day at School – well done!

In a terrific show of weekend sport, all of our teams played with great commitment and enthusiasm. Our basketball teams won their home matches and our First XI maintains their unbeaten run in soccer, as does our Year 10 Football Team. Our Girls’ XVIII posted a solid win on Friday night and it would seem they inspired our First XVIII to a one-point win over Scotch. Great sportsmanship, determination and courage were on display at every match. Some of our teams are working very hard to improve and, while not yet winning matches, they are learning many of the lessons that sport can teach. Resilience, teamwork, perseverance, the value of hard work and training, and how to cope with not winning, are skills to help our students become better people.

Our Westminster Old Scholars’ Football Club convincingly showed the bonding capacity of sport on Saturday at Glandore where the Dragons’ held their major supporters’ luncheon, recorded a great win for the A team before a huge crowd of supporters, and honoured Tom Easton (’07) and Brock Kay (’06) as they each played their 200th game. With more and more of our Old Scholars becoming involved in the Dragons and Westminster Old Scholars’ Association, it is important that we all support these groups, as they will support our students when they finish school.

Moving from one arena to another, this time in the Murray Centre, it was terrific to see so many people supporting our Year 12 Drama production ‘What Rhinoceros?’ in which the students did an incredible job with a complex, reflective script.

Last week showed yet again that, no matter the circumstances, our community is one of our greatest strengths. On Thursday 20 June, we have our first Giving Day to help us build a new Sport Pavilion. In the Westminster News on its way to you now, Giving Day is explained in a feature on the new Sport Pavilion. It will be a lot of fun, involving our students too, and there are some great opportunities to have your family honoured within this new project (think of a bench seat with your name on it for starters!).

We would be grateful for your support on Giving Day so that we can build an exceptional Sport Pavilion. Working together, let’s go for gold and bring it home or our students and community!

Simon Shepherd