In the lead up to the College's 50th Anniversary, Anne Hunt, our Foundation Co-ordinator, has been writing a series of articles for the local paper. In case you haven't spotted them in The Ensign, or if you live out of town, we'll be sharing them with here on our Foundation Blog. This is the fifth and final article.
Half a Century on...
In 1969, Father Lance Hurdidge, an English priest from Huddersfield, became the first of eight principals of St Peter’s College. His staff were all priests and brothers of the Rosminian order and nuns from the Sisters of Mercy. Today, fifty years on, the staff reflects a changing world – all lay teachers and the school’s first female principal, Kate Nicholson.
As with all her predecessors she brings a different emphasis to St Peter’s. Fathers Hurdidge, Willett and Hill set the agenda for the school’s Catholic Character. While adhering to this special ethos, principals also placed an emphasis on sports, culture and academic success in the pursuit of providing a holistic education.
Reflecting on his tenure from 2009 –2013, John Hogue observed that the challenge is to model the Gospel values in action; to practise the college motto ’Charity Fulfils the Law’.
As the school approaches its 50th anniversary in January 2019, Kate Nicholson reflects on St Peter’s College today...
“Our role as a Catholic College continues to have a dual purpose. Catholic schools throughout New Zealand are highly regarded in terms of academic achievement, but our purpose continues to be more than that. We have the responsibility of ensuring that our students experience a faith-filled education through our school culture, our living of the gospel values, and the emphasis we put on positive relationships that reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ.
In my opinion, our young people are seeing themselves and their place in the world very differently to even ten years ago and much of this is due to the often-negative pressures, expectations and role modelling created by social media – something that wasn’t an issue for my generation growing up. This means that our role is changing, and we are very aware of the need to bring an alternate view to the table for our young people so they can grow up with a balanced view of life interwoven with the Catholic faith.
St Peter’s College has always been forward thinking and the Rosminian priests and brothers of the 1970s established a progressive educational philosophy that we keep in mind in our future planning. We are currently very conscious of the need to change from a knowledge education to an ‘application of knowledge’ education and include deliberate teaching of 21st century learning skills. Of course, Catholic education already has a strong emphasis on people, relationships and what is known as the ‘soft skills’; in a way, we continue to shine the light on these same skills and work to ensure that our graduates can create positive personal and professional relationships in whatever community they become part of.”