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

Much has been written about what is meant by the term 'a rite of passage'. In particular, a lot of the literature pertains to the importance of such rites for young boys and men. A 'rite of passage' is a ceremony and marks the transition from one phase of life to another. While in many cultures it is often associated with the sometimes-rocky transition from adolescence to adulthood, it also includes any of life's transitions such as births, initiations and endings. There are many moments of rites of passage throughout our lives. Whether or not we choose to celebrate them is up to the individual and the community within which they work and live.

Rites of passage in schools such as Scotch College should never be mistaken for the many inappropriate rituals and rites that, for many years, have dogged institutions under the guise of compulsory initiation ceremonies and making a man of a person. A rite of passage is not an excuse for poor cultural habits being passed down from one generation to another; it is something that should be celebrated and leave a lasting values-based legacy for the person and the community participating in the respective rite.

When we design 'rite of passage' experiences at Scotch College, our driving goal is to ensure that the students come out of the experience with a new and empowering story that helps them take responsibility for the decisions that may shape their future. We also try to link the rite to a story that connects them to their community. These moments of self-exploration hopefully develop students who demonstrate commitment to greater personal responsibility within their own lives and the local, national and global community in which they will ultimately become active members. Our rites of passages build connections between current, past and future students; they are generational experiences.

There are many examples of rites of passage at Scotch College. The very organisational structure to the College into three sub schools is designed to give boys a sense of growth as they move for Junior School to Middle School and ultimately to Senior School. Similarly, our International Baccalaureate programme provides benchmarking projects which signal the end of a stage of their IB journey. Milestones such as the PYP Project (Year 5), the newly launched Community Based Project (Year 8) the current MYP Project (Year 10) and finally the Extended Essay in Year 12. From time to time these milestones may be changed or given a strategic refocus.

Furthermore, we have the three-speech afternoon/nights where there are further rites of passages built into these celebrations. What is most important, is that as a college we will continue to look for opportunities to build in a rite of passage for all boys as they progress through our College.

On Friday night, we celebrated what is really our final whole cohort rite of passage at Scotch College, that is, our Valedictory Chapel and Dinner where we bid farewell to our Year 12s. The graduating class of 2017, like in previous years, will be unique in that there can only ever be one cohort of graduands in any set year. These boys, or should I say young men, have brought with them their unique set of charisms and have made a lasting impression on their college, for which I sincerely thank them. Our Year 12s have now graduated into a 'Community for Life' through becoming Old Scotch Collegians.

On behalf of the whole Scotch community I want to extend our congratulations to our Year 12s, and thank their teachers, families and friends for ensuring that they have reached their last Scotch rite of passage, their graduation from the College.

Good luck and God Bless to the graduating class of 2017.

Dr A J O'Connell

Year 5 and Year 8 Parents' Exit Surveys
All Year 5 and Year 8 parents are asked to respond to the MMG survey request as soon as possible. The 'exit' surveys are to allow us to review our programmes and your expectations at the transition from Junior School and from Middle School. Your participation assists us to analyse how we are doing and areas where we need to improve. Thank you for those who have already responded to the request.