The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

From the Head of Middle School

I spent last week on the Bibbulmun Track with a group of Year 10 Boarders, a group I have been walking with since they were in Middle School. The nights were cold and damp and the ground was hard but the walking through the spectacular jarrah forest was rejuvenating both mentally and spiritually. Spending a week device free, as did the students, was also the chance for a much richer experience and set of interactions with the environment and those walking with me. We had conversations ranging from who would win the football this weekend to the meaning of life. One of the features that has impressed me each time I accompany this group is the growing degree of self-management, the assumption of responsibility and the commitment to doing the hard tasks, such as setting up camp and cooking and cleaning after a long haul along the trail each night. The race to get to the end each day has been replaced by an enjoyment of the experience and a genuine interest in those walking with them. My observation over a long time has been that with boys, if you continue to offer them the chance to do something difficult, hard, something where success is not assured or that there will be a material reward, if the challenge is accompanied by encouragement and support and if the outcome is the feeling they have done something worthwhile or helpful, they will will rise to and set new bench marks for themselves each time.

On the weekend I accompanied a group of Year 6 boys to Rottnest with Reverend Wright for three days of community service activity and friendship making. Once again the device free programme was appreciated and offered boys extended opportunities to interact, chat, explore and work together in a face to face manner. It was another reminder that underpinning happiness, underpinning a productive time at school is a network of strong supportive relationships, relationships that are developed in person and in an atmosphere of collaboration and challenge.

Mr Richard Ledger
Head of Middle School