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From the Rector

Regulus Address // Issue 2 // August 2021

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A recent event, held to farewell two longstanding Board Members, gave me an opportunity to reflect upon community and the interconnectedness of people past, present, and future.

Bryan Pearson and Sandra Wright-Taylor were recognised for their 12 years of service to St Andrew’s College as members of the Board of Governors, both assuming office in June 2009. A group of 60 guests attended the dinner held in their honour including four previous Board Chairs: Neil Thomson (1979–1988), Brian Gargiulo (1996–2002), Hugh Matthews (2003—2006), Garry Moore (2006—2017) and outgoing Chair Bryan Pearson (2017—2021). Also present were OCA Presidents, Neil Thomson, Guy Gunn, Mark Mulholland, Nick Letham, Jonathan Wells and Meg Black, along with Foundation Trustees and Board Members from the last 12 years. The tenure of Neil Thomson as Board Chair began when Ian Galloway was nearing the end of his 21 years as Rector and ended four years before girls were officially admitted into the Senior College in 1992.

The years represented by those present, have witnessed much change both in society at large and at St Andrew's College. Some of this change has been deliberate and planned and some a response to unexpected events. It is the task of a historian to record these changes in detail, but we are all capable of personally reflecting upon events and how they have shaped who we are today.

In the span of 40 years from 1980–2020, the College has expanded from 768 students (all boys – 571 in the Secondary School and 197 in the Preparatory School) to 1580 students (1120 in the Secondary and 460 in the Preparatory School) with 40 per cent girls. Next year marks 30 years since the College set upon the journey of becoming fully co-educational. The educational offering has exploded during that time, with subjects and learning pedagogy adapting to reflect societal change, not least the rapid advances in technology and digital communication. Such adaptation is reflected in new learning opportunities at St Andrew’s College including Digitech, Design and Visual Communication, Robotics and Coding, Enterprise Education, Te Reo Māori, Athlete Development and Sports Performance programmes, Digital Technology, Media Studies, Travel and Tourism, and Agribusiness. Other more traditional subjects have been modified to ensure they remain relevant and responsive to the changing demands of knowledge and competencies of today’s learners.

Unexpected events have also changed the way we view and prepare for the future world. In Christchurch, our thinking has been shaped by the earthquakes of 2010–2012, tragic Mosque attacks, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Added to these are further societal challenges of racism, equity and privilege; sexual harassment and abuse; mental health and well-being; gender identity and diversity; the influence of social media on relationships, perceptions and reality; and growing awareness of the effects of climate change on our sustainable future.

Some of the ways St Andrew’s College has responded include evolving Health and Religious Education programmes, Te Waka and decision-making guidance, a well-being strategy, leadership voices of staff and students in assemblies, chapels, speech competitions and debates, and Future Problem Solving challenges. In their educational journey, our young people are confronting these issues and finding ways to form their own opinions about what is right, wise, just, and good for their future.

In our St Andrew’s College Vision Statement, ‘Together growing better people, for Life’, we aim to strike the right balance between knowing our history, responding to the present and preparing for their future. The decisions we make today will affect the world our young people inherit, and which is theirs to influence.

We all understand that change is inevitable and the disruption it causes brings both inconvenience and opportunity. The last 40 years at St Andrew’s College have seen the College enjoy much progress by adapting to change in a considered and deliberate way. Our investment in our campus with our new boarding houses, Preparatory School, Gym2, the Stewart Junior Centre and Pre-school, The Green Library and Innovation Centre, Centennial Chapel, StACFit Fitness Centre, and the soon to be started Ben Gough Family Theatre, are all designed to support this change both now and into the future.

Knowing our stories and our history, acknowledging both successes and failures, disappointments and celebrations, helps us to make wise decisions for our individual and collective future. I have no doubt that our Well-being programme, curricular and co-curricular opportunities, committed and dedicated staff, and connected community of parents and Old Collegians, remain an important part of the way forward. The College values of Truth, Excellence, Faith, Inclusivity and Creativity, alongside wise leadership and governance, will continue to guide us as we navigate our way through the next 40 years.

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

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