I would like to congratulate all the students who exhibited their work at the Visual Arts and Creative Arts Exhibition which opened on Friday 15 December. The variety of work which included paintings, sculpture, graphic design and photography showcased the talents of many of our students and in particular our Year 12 students, whose work was moderated earlier in the week.
In addition to this work, I enjoyed the results of the efforts of our Fashion Design students who produced an amazing variety of garments which emphasised their creativity, perseverance and technical skill. It was also pleasing to see the teamwork between designer and model in several cases to ensure the clothing was presented the way the designer intended.
As a person who lacks artistic creativity I am amazed by the results of the work of our students but such talent still needs to be guided, encouraged and developed by teachers. We are very lucky to have staff who not only have experience in exhibiting their own work, but a passion to pass their knowledge onto their students. I would like to thank Fashion teacher Jude Depold and Art teachers Natalie Ziedas, Karen Horsell, Dee Barton and Kim Horn for their efforts over the years in creating an environment that encourages students to take risks and attempt new techniques and then have the confidence to show their work in a public setting.
This semester the Year 11 Business class, under the guidance of Ty Cheesman, have been learning about entrepreneurial thinking and how it applies to business. We have partnered with the New Venture Institute (NVI) at the Tonsley Campus of Flinders University, and Chantelle Love from international consulting firm Notosh, to develop creative thinking in the students to investigate products to solve a problem. The desired outcome of the course was for each student to think of a problem to investigate and create a commercial solution that a business could promote to the market place. During the course of the semester there was much thought and reflection before each of the students were satisfied to pitch their idea to others for feedback.
Last Friday the class went to the NVI where each student had to pitch their idea to two entrepreneurs who have been successful in taking ideas and putting them into a commercially flourishing business. Their constant message was that there will be more failures than successes but the ability to reflect, adapt and persevere is essential. The feedback they gave the students was invaluable and provided them with insight in to what they need to do to persuade potential investors to risk their money and invest in their ideas and turn them into commercial reality. I was impressed by how maturely the students presented themselves and how well prepared they were, although, having gone through the experience and reflecting on the feedback, I’m sure there would be changes made to their original ‘pitches’.
I congratulate all the students for what they achieved and thank Ty for establishing this link with Flinders University, which hopefully is the beginning of many exciting opportunities for our students. There is no doubt in my mind that the ability to think in an entrepreneurial manner will be essential for all of our students as they leave school and find their way in the workforce where change will be ongoing.
Tuesday this week saw the end of SACE Exams for students studying Stage 2 subjects and on Thursday we had our annual Speech Day and the Valedictory Service and Dinner.
While Speech Day is a celebration of the achievements of many of the students for 2019 it is also a time for the Year 12 students to reflect on their time at Westminster. The two events which are specifically for Year 12 students and their families are the Valedictory Service and Dinner.
The Valedictory Service in the Michael Murray Centre is the last formal occasion for Year 12 students and their families at Westminster. Each student is presented with a bible by the Principal and is given a letter from their parents as they are farewelled by their Head of House. The Service is followed by the Valedictory Dinner at the Morphettville Racecourse, which will involve in excess of 500 guests comprising students, parents and staff. This is an event where final farewells are said and the students wear their uniform for the last time. They officially become Westminster Old Scholars after the dinner.
This is an important day in the life of Westminster and in particular for the Class of 2019 some of whom have spent all of their pre-school, primary and secondary education at Westminster. As I reflect on this group of students there is no doubt that they are a diverse group of individuals with an amazing variety of talents which they have been eager to share with the rest of the School Community. I have appreciated the way they have led the school and provided examples of positive and caring behaviour to each other and younger year groups. One example of this has been the way they have supported each other and encouraged the school to give generously for causes to which they have a personal connection with and resulted in record funds being raised on Casual Clothes Days in particular.
Often the ATAR is seen by many as the measure of how successful a student has been during their final year of school, and whilst it does allow students to obtain direct entry into University courses of their choice, it does not measure everything that a student learns and achieves during their schooling and the qualities they develop. The ability to take risks, to show support for one another, to be part of a team and to work collaboratively and engage confidently with others cannot necessarily be measured by a score but are very important in today’s ever-changing world. In my experience, these qualities are what characterises a Westminster Old Scholar and are sought after by employers.
I wish all Year 12 students the best for their results and their futures whatever they may do and wherever they may travel.
Head of Senior School