When December arrives it’s time for celebration, and late last week our community came together for our junior and senior prize-givings and Carols on the Quad.
Carols on the Quad is an annual highlight for boys, staff, families and the wider community. This year’s event was held in perfect conditions and I would like to acknowledge the commitment of Organist Nick Sutcliffe and Director of Music Robert Aburn who prepared the choir so well.
Prize-givings are always memorable – from the musical interludes, to the wonderful citations prepared by Deputy Principal Rob Donaldson, to the demeanour of our prize winners and the palpable sense of pride in our community. I would also like to acknowledge Teacher-Librarian Lisa Trundley-Banks, Classics teacher Olivia Austin and Director of Sport Rob Clarke, who prepare the prizes for presentation, as well as College’s communications team who prepare all associated documentation.
On Friday we held our special Year 13 Leavers' Chapel Service to acknowledge and celebrate their five years at College, followed by the Leavers' Ball on Saturday at Wigram Air Force Museum. I made special mention of this group because they arrived at College when I did and we have journeyed together. Two wonderful events celebrated with parents, boys and staff.
In the midst of all this joy we were acutely aware of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care which is looking into what happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in State and faith-based care between 1950–1999.
On Monday the witness hearings included the very upsetting statement of a former student of Christ’s College. He detailed an historic incident of abuse that he endured from other students during his time boarding at the school in the 1970s. We were grateful to have recently met with our Old Boy to personally offer our sincere apologies and determine how we can support him. Both Board of Governors Chair Hugh Lindo and the Bishop of Christchurch and Warden of Christ’s College the Rt Rev. Dr Peter Carrell attended Monday’s hearing.
College, like many schools and organisations, has undergone immense change over the years. We have clear protocols and policies in place for dealing with such complaints today. We do not tolerate any form of abuse.
You know that the wellbeing of the boys is our primary concern.
We fully support the work and purpose of the Royal Commission of Inquiry.
If you have any concerns please come and talk with me, or contact me by email. For further information about the Royal Commission of Inquiry visit https://www.abuseincare.org.nz/
While we look forward to an enlightened and exciting future, it is also important to look back and consider the experiences that shape us as people and as a community.
The terror attack of 15 March 2019 serves to remind us to make a good life for ourselves and those we love now and will come to love in the future. My advice is to be the intentional designer of your own life in a way that serves you and the community of which you are a part. Too often what is heard is complaint and blame attribution about what is happening in one’s own circle of influence, rather than gratefulness for all that one has, and a clearly understood purpose for self.
Your future, your place in the world, your relationships, your wellbeing and your legacy is your responsibility. Be informed, be thoughtful, be kind and by your own considered actions use your strengths to be your best self.
It is with this thought that I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and safe holidays. I am looking forward to the 12 months ahead.