This was the first full Founders’ Day and Highland Games to take place since 2018, with the previous two Founders’ Days disrupted by unexpected events. In 2019, Founders’ Day was marred by the tragic events at the two Christchurch mosques, and in 2020, the day was cancelled altogether due to the uncertainty around COVID-19.
This year’s events began with the Founders’ Day Assembly, where all the traditional Scottish elements were on display, along with outstanding entertainment, inspirational guest speakers, a spirited Address to the Haggis, the presentation of various awards, and the announcement of the new Board Chair.
Guest speaker, Lizzie Stevenson (Head Girl 2017), delivered an exceptional address on ‘The Power of Giving’, while Year 13 students, Isabella Galvan and Oscar Bloom, spoke with good humour about their ‘pseudo tour’ of Scotland as the 2020 Robert Burns Scholars, and shared some excellent messaging around unity and community. They were unable to travel to Scotland in 2020 due to COVID-19, and with the rescheduled trip not able to take place in 2021 as well, Isabella and Oscar will instead soak up a taste of Scotland at home in Aotearoa, with a week-long Presbyterian tour.
The packed assembly enjoyed wonderful entertainment from the orchestra, which performed Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca, and Staccoro, performing Mairi’s Wedding, a traditional Scottish folk song. Catelin Riordan (Year 13) became the first ever student to deliver the Address to the Haggis at a Founders’ Day Assembly with a dramatic flourish, and Estee Wilke (Year 12) beautifully sang a Scottish song, Love Lilt.
Old Collegians Association President, Meg Black, presented some special awards, and retiring Board Chair, Bryan Pearson, announced that Felicity Odlin, who has served on the Board for five years, will become the new Board Chair at the College’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 1 July 2021.
After the traditional sharing of the haggis in the Secondary School Quad, the whole College gathered on the front field in the afternoon for the Highland Games, where there was enthusiastic participation in a range of activities from Highland dancing to wheat sheath throwing. House spirit was to the fore with rousing House chants, renditions of the College Haka, and singing of the Flower of Scotland.
The well-drilled Pipe Band delivered a polished performance to end the day on a high note.
Founders’ Day is always a highlight on the St Andrew’s College calendar, and the 2021 event was a great community occasion, and a fitting way to celebrate 104 remarkable years of St Andrew’s College. Rector Christine Leighton said the College’s long history is well documented and she hopes that today’s students will listen to the stories, absorb the culture, and that events, such as Founders’ Day, help them to understand that they are part of a special community at St Andrew’s. “These events remind us why our College values, which are deeply embedded at the heart of St Andrew’s, are so important.”
The College community, including guests from their 60 Years On Reunion, gathered for the 104th Founders’ Day, which was a wonderful celebration of the heritage of St Andrew’s College.