This has been a particularly rewarding year as the old collegians president and it has been pleasing to see the strong support through the various events during the year by the old cols community.
One of highlight for me this year has been the annual Old Collegians dinner. There was such a great atmosphere with around 130 old collegians from a wide range of year groups and it was a pleasure to see some new faces in attendance.
It was a pleasure to be able to recognise the achievements of Alastair Cameron by awarding the Cockram Cultural Award for his work with many of New Zealand’s high-profile events such as the World of Wearable Arts to his current role as Technical Director of Cirque Du Soleil in Japan. It was also great to be able to recognise Carlos Garcia-Knight with the Maginness Sports Award for his achievements in the Winter Olympics in South Korea competing in the Big Air and Slope Style Snowboarding events.
The Alister Newton Award was this year awarded to John and Jill Irving both of whom need little introduction due to their service to the college over 37 years. It was an honour to be able to recognise Jill as an Honorary Old Collegian and having them both accept the award.
An important aspect of the yearly alumni activity are the year group functions and over the past year we have had the 10, 40, 50 and 60 years on functions. I would like to thank all the year group representatives for driving those events – without you the reunions would not be as successful. Unfortunately, the 60 years on event on Founders day was shortened by the tragic events on the Friday afternoon.
The 10 Years on function was held in October and this was another well attended function and it was great to see so many of our more recent leavers eager to reconnect.
I was unfortunately unable to attend the Gentleman’s Lunch on the 12th October. Having attended the event in the past I know that it is such a special occasion and by all accounts, apart from the weather, this year was no exception.
The major reunion for 2019 of course was the 100th for the StAC pipe band and as a former pipe major this held special significance.
Online Alumni Roll
A great addition to the StAC web site has been new online Alumni Roll. There has been an enormous amount of work over the past few years to improve the records held on our old collegians, and Old Cols now supports this fantastic resource.
College Prize Giving
The prize giving held at Horncastle Arena was once again a celebration of the amazing talent at StAC. From the Kapa Haka to performances from the ballet, jazz band, choirs, orchestra and Pipe Band and dancers – it was a delight to watch. But at the end of the day, StAC is about learning and it is always fantastic to see the special recognition given to the dux of the college including the three cheers. Well done Russell Boey.
2018 Leavers Dinner
It was a privilege to welcome the 2018 leavers into the Old Collegians Association and present them with our badge. There was certainly a sense of excitement that this was the final official function for the students. The speeches by Di MacDonald and Natasha Derry (Dean) were inspiring and reflective, challenging the students to be the best they could be and to make the most of the opportunities they have been afforded. And the standing ovations they both received demonstrated the strength of their message, and the respect of everyone in the room.
The Founders Day assembly is one I have always enjoyed and as highlighted by Christine Layton on the day, it was fitting given the 100th Pipe Band celebrations there were three former Pipe Majors on stage with the presentation to Richard Hawke for his outstanding contribution to the Pipe Band, Ben Murray as guest speaker and Pipe Major of the winning juvenile band at the world champs in 2013, and myself as Old Collegian president and pipe major in 1987.
The Anzac Day service is another key date in the calendar and a chance for the school community to recognize the sacrifice of former students and teachers. The addition of photos as Christine and I read out the roll of honor was a welcome inclusion.
I would like to thank Christine Layton and Brian Pearson for their continued support of the executive and old collegians. Your attendance at the many functions held during the year I know is highly appreciated.
Thanks to Russell and the catering team for all their efforts in ensuring all our events are well catered especially for our annual dinner.
To the executive, thank you for all your work over the past year. I would like to highlight the support of Nick Letham for his legal guidance and Gideon Copper for bringing our handbook up to date.
Lastly, I would like to especially thank Kate Stanbury for all the work you put into supporting the old collegians executive and ensuring all our events run smoothly.
Jonathan Wells (1983 – 87)