Since the beginning of term, I have been conducting enrolment conversations with families who hope to enter College next year. This is the final phase for many families of a process that began some years ago. These 20-minute interviews – this year being conducted online rather than in-person – reveal so much about what boys are interested in and what parents value in education for their son(s).
The boys are all about friendship and fun. When asked “What was your favourite part of school today?”, the most popular answer falls to playing and/or learning with friends – be that at lunchtime or in the classroom. They talk of doing things, being active and ‘hanging out’. When asked “Why College?”, they simply reply with ”more opportunities to do stuff, be active and hang out”. These boys have lives full of activity in families who seem to be genuinely finding ways to enjoy life in a New Zealand sort of way – outside and into it.
Parents are, of course, a little more circumspect. It has been encouraging over the years to see how most parents have let their sons speak to their own aspirations. Few now seem to feel the need to tell me of their son’s ‘credentials’ but rather let their boy speak for himself. Some, I can see, find themselves surprised by the answers but always with genuine love and concern. It is this love that always comes through the parents’ expectations of a College experience. They want their sons to be known and loved at school and enabled to grow in a caring and nurturing environment. Their son’s health and wellbeing through the journey of adolescence are the highest priority and they see College as a lead partner in achieving that outcome.
I sense, quite rightly, that they know our academic programme will be ‘first amongst equals’ and our co-curricular programme comprehensive and well-conducted and that our ‘classrooms’ will be leading edge. At times, they ask about specific elements, but it is the culture of the school where their interest most lies, for they are first and foremost looking for a school that will see their son happy (most of the time) and, therefore, able to learn (most of the time).
I am fortunate in these conversations to be able to lean on our College mission and our faith-inspired core virtues. The clarity of our culture speaks to our structure of support for our students. I am also able to reinforce how secondary school is such a time of growth in identity for each boy and how we, the school, promises to walk alongside parents as 13 turns into 18 in the ‘blink of an eye’.
As I look into the eyes of the College of the future – through these conversations – I am both excited by the energy and enthusiasm of the young people and motivated by the trust and expectation that lie inherent with the next step.
Christ’s College Old Boys’ Association and Christ’s College Parents’ Association transitions
In recent years, College has never been more closely aligned with two of its key stakeholder groups, the Christ’s College Old Boys’ Association (CCOBA) and the Christ’s College Parents’ Association (CCPA). Both organisations have recently conducted their annual general meetings where this alignment in purpose has been celebrated and further embraced. The past few pandemic years have challenged the connection and actions of both organisations, yet both have continued to thrive as they have served the needs of their members and supported College as the primary part of their stated purpose.
I take this opportunity to particularly thank immediate past Presidents Richard Polson (CCOBA) and Catherine McClean (CCPA), who have both been such wonderful servants in their leadership. They have, like us all, been forced to compromise plans at times but have always responded with such positivity, knowing that ‘this too shall pass’. As I farewell and celebrate the contributions of Richard and Catherine, I thank their committees for their exceptional work over the past two years and wish both the new Presidents, Angus Dysart-Paul and Megan Lamberg, well.