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

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Senior School - Edition 18 - 2021


Over the course of the year, staff provide opportunities for students to visit various organisations and facilities around Adelaide to enhance their learning. These excursions have included visits to university departments, businesses, art galleries, museums, field trips along the coast and in the CBD. Often they provide real-life experiences where the theory and practical come together and the students see the relevance in what they learn at school.

One such example is when our Stage 1 Digital Technologies students had the opportunity to participate at Flinders Uni Tonsley Precinct. Students worked on creating their own Flinduino expansion (micro-controller) board by gaining knowledge and understanding of preparing electrical circuits and the soldering required to complete the micro-controller.

The middle session provided students with the chance to display their knowledge of coding by interfacing their micro-controller expansion card and an Arduino Nano. All students displayed knowledge and interpretation of code, with many providing an advanced level of interaction which was identified by the Flinders instructors.

Each student was able to remotely connect to their own designed and created board, connect wirelessly through to their phones and manipulate the code to create an outcome. Well done to all Westminster students for participating in these very hands-on experiences.

The last session was a special visit and interaction with a Boston Dynamic robotic dog, thanks to Link Zero for allowing us to have this close experience. Students spoke with the operators about the best type of study to end up in his job. He explained that his initial study was in mechanical engineering and how on the job training through Link Zero (and BAE systems) allowed him to expand his knowledge and now work with Spot the robotic dog. The robotic dog is being tested to complete a variety of tasks in a confined space and to quality check work.

Chinatown Excursion

The Year 7, 8 and 9 students studying Chinese had an excursion to Chinatown recently, and their reflections on the excursion can be read below.

‘The Year 8 Chinese students went on an amazing excursion to Chinatown in the city. We all enjoyed a traditional Chinese meal and were able to bring the language learned in the classroom into the outside world. This excursion was one to remember.’ – Evie Hart (Year 8)

‘The Chinese excursion was a really fun experience. We all felt in the Chinese culture and everyone enjoyed it. Overall, it was really good and would love to go again!’ – Milla Liptak (Year 8)

‘The Chinese excursion to Chinatown was a fantastic experience for all. It was a chance to get immersed in Chinese culture and practise our character recognition. We tried lots of popular Chinese foods and drinks and challenged ourselves to speak Chinese as well. Overall, it was a great experience.’ – Eliza Maloney (Year 8)

‘The Chinatown trip was an amazing cultural and language experience. We were able to try different Chinese foods and converse with other people in Chinese. Overall, it was one of the best excursions.’ – Suhavi Sethi (Year 8)

‘I really enjoyed the trip to Chinatown, because we got to enjoy many aspects of the Chinese culture. One of these amazing aspects was the Chinese architecture, this was very prominent throughout the Chinatown area. It included the delicate detailing of the rooves and things such as pillars and gates at each entrance. I also enjoyed eating Chinese food and drink, this being Peking Duck dumplings and peach bubble tea. I tried eating my dumplings with chopsticks but found them too slippery to eat quickly! Another aspect that I loved was getting immersed in so many people speaking Chinese. As well as browsing in the Chinese Shops. Also, I was very surprised by how many Chinese characters I could read!’ - Mia Argent (Year 7)

‘It was a great excursion. We recognised many characters. We ate lots of yummy Chinese food and snacks. We experienced the Chinese culture firsthand.’ – Abbie Cross (Year 8) and Talulah Kovacic (Year 8)

‘Chinatown was a great opportunity to experience Chinese culture. I really enjoyed this experience because there is so much Chinese architecture displayed on the buildings and all around. The Chinese food looks so delicious and brings everyone together to enjoy a meal. Throughout this excursion, we noticed many Chinese characters, this made us realise how many we had learnt in class! Every shop that we went in, we managed to say “Ni Hao!” and “Xie Xie”. Overall, this experience was amazing and can’t wait for more to come!’ – Isabella Barnes (Year 7)

‘I think the excursion to Chinatown was very exciting as we walked through the markets and discovered China's cultural foods and decorations. There were also opportunities to try and identify some Chinese characters displayed around the area, and attempt activities like using the chopsticks. Overall, the day was super interesting as we got to experience the culture while also learning it in class.’ – Larni Vo Nguyen (Year 9)

‘The excursion was very fun. It was a good experience to be able to see Chinese culture. It was so interesting to look at a Chinese food packet and see characters I know! It was an amazing experience and I would do it again 10/10.’ - Leo Cretan (Year 9)

Visual Arts and Creative Arts Exhibition

I would like to congratulate all the students who exhibited their work at the Visual Arts and Creative Arts Exhibition which opened Friday 12 November in the new Art Centre located in the Carter Studio. The variety of work which included paintings, sculpture, graphic design and photography showcased the talents of many of our students and in particular the Year 12 students.

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 the staff for their efforts 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.

Farewell to Year 12

Friday last week saw the end of SACE Exams for students studying Stage 2 subjects and on Thursday 18 November we had our annual Prize Giving Ceremony as well as the Valedictory Service and Dinner.

While Prize Giving Ceremony is a celebration of the achievements of many of the students for 2021, 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 is the last formal occasion for Year 12 students and their families at Westminster. Each student is presented 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 Entertainment Centre involving students, parents and staff. This is an event where final farewells are said and the students wear their uniforms 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 2021, 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 with which they have a personal connection, which has resulted in record funds being raised on Casuals 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.

David Wallage
Head of Senior School