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

Every now and then you realise that a group of boys are about to achieve something special - and this was the case last Thursday when our Junior School swim team came from the clouds to win the JPSSA Inter‑School swimming trophy. As an annual onlooker, the event appeared to be progressing as expected, but one could sense that something special was already underway. The team spirit, the passion of our coaches, the staff and the support from our parent body, all added up to an exciting outcome. Well done to everyone, especially to the boys who no doubt have trained for many months to achieve their success. As the old saying goes "the harder you work the luckier you get". This is the first swimming trophy, at any level, which Scotch College has won for many years. The exciting part is that the result hopefully reflects the start of things to come via our Learn to Swim programmes under the direction of Deb Jones. Well done boys.

On numerous occasions throughout the year, I write and speak about what I believe is the 'Scotch difference', that is, our deliberate focus on the concept of community. On Thursday last week, one of our largest year camps took place at Rottnest. Our Year 9s, along with their Heads of Houses and support staff, converged on Rottnest for their annual House camp. As a college with an already dedicated Outdoor Education Programme, this event is not simply geared at more outdoor activity. It is focused on providing the boys a chance to more deeply engage with each other and staff at the House level. Why? Because in Senior School the House system is seminal to all that we do; the boys will be together in their House until they graduate in four years' time. We want our boys to understand that through knowing each other well, care and support should become integral core factors which are central to our wellbeing and pastoral strategies at Scotch College. The boys should see their House as a safe place through which they journey while in Senior School. It is the place where they will traverse their many rites of passage.

As many of you are aware, last weekend was the boarders' long weekend. Residential Life at Scotch College is something we are proud of, and, in the ever increasing complexity of rural living we pride ourselves as being a place where our boys can grow and flourish. The programme is a partnership between home and school. On Saturday, 14 of our Year 12 boarders walked into Albany to signify the completion of their years of walking the Bibbulmun Track. With this simple act of arriving at Albany they become what we call the 'End to Enders' and receive formal recognition of this achievement from the Bibbulmun Track administration. As an International Baccalaureate and Round Square school, such activities align intricately to our goals and aspirations for all boys. Completion of this activity is just one of the many opportunities for our boys to engage in while at Scotch College. Thank you to all of the staff who have walked the Bibbulmun Track with this group since the boys commenced in boarding.

In the last Thistle I wrote about our partnership with FORM. The official opening took place last week and if you have not yet read about this programme you can do so here as it is going to be a part of many initiatives over the coming two years.

Finally, on Tuesday night I will be attending an important Town of Claremont Council meeting which will review our submission for the new Teaching and Learning wing. This state of the art facility will be the new home for the disciplines of Mathematics and Business and will also include a new Year 12 common room and associated facilities.

As usual the last fortnight has delivered much to celebrate. Enjoy the next fortnight, which, believe it or not, will mark the end of Week 7 of this term.

Have a great fortnight.

Dr Alec O'Connell