The past few weeks have seen some great successes for College. We have just heard College rock band JJ and the Stingers won the ZM Best Song Award and another group, By Tomorrow, took 1st place in the SmokefreeRockquest Canterbury 1 regional competition, therefore qualifying for the national final selection round.
This year, entrants had to make video submissions – which, although missing the thrill of live performance, added another string to their creative bow. In addition, our senior chess team won the recent Canterbury championship, also qualifying for the next stage of national competition.
We are blessed within College with the variety of talent our boys so often show – and not just in the winning, but in the taking part. This was evident at the Parents’ Association House Music Festival at the Town Hall last Thursday evening. It was a wonderful celebration of House participation in the choir section, and vocal talent and tight teamwork in the small groups. Congratulations to Corfe House who won the inaugural Parents' Association Overall Winner of House Music trophy, as well as 1st place in several other sections of the competition. My thanks to Parents’ Association President Catherine McClean for her work behind the scenes in support of our boys.
The Charles Upham Awards for Character & Leadership
Over the past two years, College has replaced what were known as Merit Awards with awards for character. These awards focus on character strengths – for example, bravery, creativity, curiosity, gratitude, humility, kindness, leadership, perseverance and more – and acknowledge those boys who demonstrate such strengths in their day-to-day life.
Building on this theme, we have now created a new set of awards that further recognise elements of character and leadership. These will be introduced at our end-of-year senior and junior prize-givings. When considering what to call these awards, we could not move away from our much honoured Old Boy Charles Upham, one of New Zealand’s most lauded heroes. You can read more about Charles Upham’s life in the article by College Archivist Jane Teal (see below).
It's time to talk about vaping ... again
In recent months, the issue of vaping as an insidious and unhealthy habit has been brought into sharper focus – and, as College reflects the community of which we are a part, we are also struggling with this new fad. Adolescents are often exposed to and try new things through their peer group. Vaping has in some respects become the new smoking, the beginning of supposed adult behaviour and independence. Regrettably, through sophisticated marketing, vaping has also been presented as a transition away from traditional cigarettes, when in fact the levels of nicotine and consequent addiction are now starting to be recognised as potentially even more harmful. Can I appeal to everyone in our community to be anti-vaping at every opportunity? Any support of the school's initiatives in this area, which involve health education and discipline, would be appreciated.
It's time to talk about marijuana ... once
At times, educators are asked their opinions about certain social issues and this has been the case for me around the impending cannabis legalisation and control referendum. My response is at both a personal and professional level, meaning there is no contradiction between the two. The legalisation of non-medicinal cannabis (marijuana) for recreational use, no matter in what quantity, will make it more available to younger people. This is a matter of fact directly reflected in the change of legal age for alcohol consumption from 20 to 18 years. Given the proven connection between marijuana use and psychosis and the potential negative effects on young people, it is my view that it should remain an illegal substance, other than for prescribed medicinal use and the associated controls that implies.
Student numbers for 2021
Planning for next year is now well underway, therefore we need to know if your son will not be returning to College in 2021. It is agreed between parents and the school that withdrawal or changes are notified a term in advance in order to avoid incurring a term equivalent fees penalty. If your son is leaving, please inform his Housemaster or Admissions Registrar Sarah Fechney no later than Friday 18 September, the end of Term 3.