The ‘culture’ of a school is often a difficult concept to define. It takes into account ‘how things are done around here’, the expectations of all involved, and the set of norms that the individuals live by. Culture can make or break any organisation; it can feel as if you are swimming successfully in the same direction as everyone else or swimming upstream on your own against the flow. I believe that culture can create an environment where everyone is encouraged and supported to be their best, where individuals contribute by using their skills for the benefit of the whole and success is acknowledged and celebrated.
I have seen a huge shift in the culture at St Peter’s in the last couple of years. Aiming for excellence is largely shared by all and students and staff support one another to do this. This attitude has seen us punch well above our weight recently. For a relatively small school, it is the efforts put in by many committed people that ensure this happens. Last year some of the more public highlights were winning the Senior Sports’ Quad and the Bishop’s Shield competition. This year, we celebrated some excellent NCEA results – 100% at level 1 doesn’t happen by itself! –and a very pleasing ERO report that has just been confirmed.
One group of students that have their own very special culture and who contribute very positively to the larger culture of the college is the 1st XV. I have been closely following this team during the last two years and have thoroughly enjoyed watching this group of individuals develop into a strong group of supportive, forward thinking, positive and committed young men. This team has developed an impressive culture during that time and have proven that you don’t need to be a team of stars to become a star team. We have some highly skilled and very talented players but the difference for them is the way they work together as a group, believing in one another, encouraging and supporting each other and keeping their collective eye on the goals they set for themselves at the start of the season. This year they achieved every goal. What excites me now is that this culture is flowing down through the grades and the Year 7 and 8 team have also spent time setting goals, talking about their vision and looking up to the older boys while being supported at games by 1st XV when they can.
As always, for any successful culture, there are a group of people who greatly influence that culture; thank you to Dylan Ditchfield, Hayden Byars, Fraser Given and Tony Wilkins for being the wonderful role models and ‘influencers’ that you have been to these young men during the last two seasons, and along with Aaron Horrell, Paul (Porky) Smith, Craig Dempster and other members of our community who have contributed to the team environment, you have created something pretty special. Runners-up last year and winners this year of the Southland-wide Under 18 Rugby competition, we are very proud of these boys and what they have achieved. The team now look forward to competing for the Otago-Southland co-ed cup against South Otago next weekend at home. You can read a summary of their season below.
Meanwhile, the Bishop’s Shield team head to Dunedin this weekend for the competition at Kavanagh College. We look forward to a real challenge on the stage and we hope to bring back a few of the trophies we won last year.
Kate Nicholson - Principal