Kia ora e te whanau,
Outside the family, there isn't any other youth institution that equals sports as a setting in which to develop character. All of our sports teams help to build the culture of our school and wearing the St Peter’s College crest on the turf, field or court is a positive, character-building experience. The school and sporting culture is the same here. Sport culture is school culture. We value excellence in sports, but we value attitude over aptitude. We reinforce our school's values through sports. At St Peter’s College it is not about winning at any cost, and it is most certainly not about playing for other clubs or entertaining thoughts of merging with other schools to be “better,” “seen,” and “number one.” Our students want to play with their friends, and they are proud to wear our school colours. We see this in the haka before a game, in the practices and through the many warm up hoodies and tops that are designed with our school crest front and centre by our students.
The values we are teaching in our curriculum are complemented by what happens in sports. These teachable moments come when players achieve or fall short of their sporting goals, and when coaches help them process the cause and effect of what they have just done. But teachable moments also come in the interludes, in practice, during team travel, while troubleshooting or even shooting the breeze — when coaches can teach students life lessons in persistence, teamwork, sacrifice, effort, discipline, leadership, and in overcoming adversity.
I have coached many sporting teams over my years in education because I am thankful for the teachers who did that for me when I was at school. I want to pay this kindness forward, but I also have a passion for seeing kids improve and achieve success no matter how small. As all good teacher coaches know, relationships are built on the court, turf or field and the students you coach are always the best behaved in our classes. They work harder for you knowing you work hard for them.
Students might be able to learn the value of teamwork in a lab setting, but it's easier to teach the value of teamwork through sports. You get immediate feedback to reinforce your lack of preparation, for example, or the value of hard work. When you get that publicly, maybe in the media, and on the scoreboard, it brings the lesson home even quicker.
Therefore, sports are a fundamental part of the total curriculum at St Peter’s College, fulfilling our motto of 'Charity Fulfils the Law.’ The objectives of coaches and teachers are identical: to help young people reach their fullest potential intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Accordingly, sportsmanship, the demonstration of appropriate conduct, honest rivalry, and graceful acceptance of the outcome is as important as the full development of athletic skills. Critical to these teachings is the expectation that our community as well as our athletes will demonstrate respect for everyone involved in athletic competition. This is why I am extremely proud of all of our rugby teams this year for ranking highly on the STAG awards this year. STAG stands for “Spectator and Team Award for Great Behaviour.” Rugby Southland put this incentive in place this year to encourage positive team culture and behaviour in our secondary school competition. Our U17 and U15 teams came in second and our U14 team came in third. Culture determines behaviour and this is evidence that we have a fantastic school and sport culture. I would like to thank all of our spectators, supporters, managers and most importantly our coaches as we look towards the end of winter sports season. I wish all of our teams the very best of luck in their semi finals and finals but most of all I wish for them to display our culture with pride and with fair play.
Lastly a reminder that to conclude our community consultation on the strategic plan I would like to specifically invite parents and caregivers of our Maori families to a whanau hui on Wednesday the 18th of August in the staffroom at 7pm to share some kai and have a shared dialogue on the direction you would like to see the school go in over the next three years. All parents and caregivers welcome, not just Maori.