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From the Rector

Regulus Address // Issue 3 // November 2021

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Writing this reflection in Wanaka during the term break, I feel very blessed to be able to rejuvenate in this spectacular environment where mountains, lakes, and spring growth helps to regain perspective after what has been a challenging and uncertain few weeks.

My mind, like the thoughts of many others, frequently turns towards those in less ideal circumstances and particularly family, friends, and colleagues in Auckland who have experienced a much-extended lockdown period. My personal reading often takes me back to times in history where adversity has had even more severe impact on communities, such as during the First and Second World Wars. Each year at St Andrew’s College, we reflect upon these times, particularly during the Second World War where 64 young St Andrew’s men lost their lives and so many more were changed forever. In this context perhaps it can seem self-centred to focus on our own emotions relating to the uncertainty of this COVID-19 environment.

However, the distress, anxiety, disappointment, and uncertainty are very real for many of our young people, and it is our job as educators, leaders, parents, and adults to be a positive, consistent yet understanding presence as we guide our youth through these uncertain times. Over the last 18 months, I have seen so many positive actions taken around our St Andrew’s community – supporting others in their sadness and need, bringing joy to those who feel uncertain or lost, and hope to others struggling to deal with disappointment or fear.

Our students themselves continue to be the best example of how best to live with uncertainty. They show gratitude for the things they can enjoy, such as coming back on campus after the lockdown, resuming their sports competitions (even without tournaments or spectators), for the teachers who cared over the lockdown, and the support staff who ensured their online environment worked effectively and that the campus was ready for their return.

On top of this, they continue to demonstrate empathy for others, recognising that the needs of others are greater than their own. During the recent term break, the Year 13 prefects spent a day at Allenvale School taking games and fun activities for the children. By giving of their time, our senior students are building their resilience and leadership skills, while bringing joy into the lives of others.

At a recent chapel service, our Head Sacristan, Abby Jones (Year 13), spoke of the impressive generosity of St Andrew’s students during the latest World Vision fundraiser. St Andrew’s College raised a most impressive $26,000, the most we have ever raised in the annual appeal. Once again, the Community Service Leaders mobilised the support of others at the end of Term 3 as the Community Service and Well-being Committees assisted a group from ‘Uniting Canterbury Women’ to prepare ‘Seeds of Love’ and welcome packs for Afghan refugees. These are but three recent examples of a community that consistently reaches out to support others. It is well documented that the attributes of kindness, generosity, and gratitude go a long way to developing the resilience and strength to cope in times of adversity, and we can be proud of our young people living by this example.

All around me every day I see teachers and students remaining positive in uncertain times. In supporting others, our teenagers feel better not always thinking about themselves. By continuing to play their sport, pursue their musical and creative interests, and prepare for their examinations they retain a sense of purpose, which gives them hope for the future.

Living with uncertainty is a new reality for us all. The most important thing we all have are our thoughts, which we need to manage. While we must weigh risks and consider negative scenarios, we need to balance this against reacting emotionally or feeling threatened, afraid, and unsafe. We are the authors of our own thoughts and each one of us can to some extent, control our response to the inevitable challenges ahead.

Once again, this edition of Regulus contains many stories of wonderful achievements. A thrilling highlight was the success of our Chamber Trio, Vich Perfect in winning the NZCT Chamber Music Contest in August. Samuel Jeon (Year 13), Grace Lawrence (Year 12) and Christine Jeon (Year 10) showed pure joy and delight in their success, which came from years of working towards this ambitious goal. It was a special moment, one which will be spoken of for years to come.

I hope that in reading this edition of Regulus you can share the joy from the stories of our students and extended community who continue to make this world a better place, despite living in these uncertain times.

The Rector's Address from the third edition of Regulus for 2021.

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