The last two weekends in Canterbury have brought tragedy to our door. A traffic accident resulted in the deaths of five young boys just over a week ago while last weekend, a party – seemingly out of control – led to three boys being injured through violent action, with one losing his life.
Our hearts go out to the families, and to the boys’ friends who will have felt the impact of this trauma. On both occasions, our school community would have initially been praying that none of our boys were killed or injured. For me, it is a strange waiting game at these times as I contemplate what might need to be the school’s response. I find myself harbouring the emotions of a parent, as well as the expectations of a principal.
In Chapel on both following Mondays, we paused and prayed for the people involved and reminded our boys that if they had been affected, College staff could provide support. Like you, I shake my head with anger and frustration that these tragic, preventable events still occur, despite all the efforts to educate boys to make good decisions that place their safety and wellbeing at the forefront of their actions – both in the immediate and longer term. However, we are reminded that there are no guarantees, only the best of intentions. I hope families have taken the opportunity to speak to their boys about what preceded these events and how they can protect themselves from random, ill-considered action that puts them and others at risk. While these are difficult conversations, they must continue and be updated.
With our College programmes, we do all we can to help boys learn how to make good decisions and reflect on past actions and consequences to develop dispositions that demonstrate self-regulation, courage and leadership when tested. We also work hard to empower boys to have the strength to speak up when their voice is most needed.
In a similar vein, this week we have added to our child protection processes by introducing Stymie. An anonymous online reporting system, Stymie lets boys speak up in support of others who may be suffering in any capacity by empowering the bystander and adding a deterrent for potentially inappropriate behaviour. Stymie helps boys consider the consequences of their actions and, in doing so, makes them stop and think before they act. It has proven to cut levels of such behaviour between students in schools. I am pleased that this initiative adds another layer to the protective behaviours of our boys towards each other.
1st XV rugby final in Nelson
We know that boys, family and our wider College community will want to support our 1st XV team in the Miles Toyota Trophy final against Nelson College on Saturday. However, we strongly advise against driving in wintry conditions to the game and we do not want boys to compromise their own co-curricular commitments. The 1st XV boys know that you will be with them in spirit on the day. Instead, we suggest that you gather friends and family together to watch the game on Sky Sport 3 from noon on Saturday in the comfort of your own home.
A wonderful opportunity to contribute to the College community
The Christ’s College Old Boys’ Association is seeking to appoint a Board member onto the Christ’s College Board of Governors. If you are interested, you can learn more here.
Giving Day 2021 – your chance to give the lifelong gift of opportunity
We have all had moments in our lives that on reflection make us think, “I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today if not for that.” For our boys, many of these defining moments happen at Christ’s College. That’s why this year’s Annual Appeal takes the form of a special ‘Giving Day’ fundraising event, with donations used to add to our scholarship funds specifically for boys who may not otherwise be able to attend College.
As you know, a College education is a life-changing opportunity for these boys, and, in turn, College benefits by enriching our community with the perspectives and experiences of people from all walks of life. The College website features video stories from such people.
Jeremy Johnson (Peer Year 2002) earned a full scholarship for general academic excellence.
He says his time at College allowed him to fully explore his passions and talents – including debating – which, ultimately, helped him along the path to becoming one of New Zealand’s brightest young lawyers today.
Likewise, Dr Uddaka Wijesinghe (Peer Year 2010) was always a high achiever, but College also gave him values he still holds strong today. His story covers his commitment to serving the good of others.
Vaughan Smith (Peer Year 1984) talks about how his College years were pivotal steps in reaching his potential. Now a technology and global impact specialist, and a former vice president at Facebook, he was a recent recipient of a Senior Honours Tie.
And Lee Nicolson, a past College parent, shares a story of how despite a family tragedy, new beginnings opened up. Attending Christ’s College was her son’s dream and being able to make it happen through our scholarship funds was like “winning Lotto”.
Watch the videos here to see what your generosity on Giving Day means to not only our boys, but their families too.
Giving Day takes place on Wednesday 25 August online via a dedicated giving page. What is special about this one-off event is that all donations made on the day will be tripled thanks to contributions already pledged by matching donors. If you are in a position to help, we hope you will choose to support this scholarship fund and future students.
Your gift will make a world of difference.
We are also seeking volunteers to help out on the day. If you would like to be involved, click here.