15 February 2018
We’ve had an excellent start to the year. Students and staff have settled into the routines well. I have been particularly pleased with the capacity for our new staff and students to feel comfortable with their new surroundings and keen to contribute to the life of Pembroke.
In this edition of Thursday Times, you will notice mention of a new initiative: The Boarder Buddy Programme. Dr Miller and the Heads of Boarding are keen to encourage greater connection between our day students and their families with our boarders. To develop this, they have devised a programme that is simple and straightforward in design. It encourages our day school family community to share an evening meal or weekend lunch with a boarder who has a friendship with a day student at School. In return, boarding students will be able to reciprocate the offer of support by hosting an activity in the boarding house.
We often talk about one of our school strengths is that we are a welcoming community. Supporting a programme like this commits to action all we believe to be appropriate and I would love to see it fully subscribed. Please take the time to consider your possible involvement. I know many of you would welcome the chance to connect with our boarding community.
Speaking of welcomes, I am reminded to thank those of you who attended the P&F welcome drinks. There was an excellent number in attendance on a hot Friday evening. It was a good chance for parents old and new to mingle. I especially would like to thank the P&F for hosting the evening and Dr Miller and IB students for helping with logistics.
We received the news that Matt, Year 12, has made the Australian Commonwealth Games team. Matt has been selected to dive in the one and three-metre spring board events. What a remarkable achievement. Well done Matt. All that hard work and dedication is paying off.
I attended the SACE and IB merit ceremonies last week. They were fine events. I am astonished and excited each year by the number of students from Pembroke who achieve so well academically. We do emphasise the importance of personal best achievements and try hard not to overburden our Year 12 students with expectations. It is important all students feel they can do their best independently and be well supported in their endeavours. It is true that this realistic view helps to encourage a culture of excellence – a culture the students develop for themselves. They mature a great deal as young people when they take full responsibility for their efforts. We encourage it, to be sure, and the intrinsic motivation each student brings to their senior studies to do their best and in so doing, do well, is a delightful consequence.
The part teachers play in this culture cannot be underestimated. Providing the knowledge, guidance and technical advice required for success in Year 12 is a professional skill that is hard won and constantly challenged. We should all be very grateful for the outstanding contribution our teachers make and acknowledge that every student in their class brings their own unique demands and experiences that challenge how a teacher can shape their approach to help support the student’s endeavours. Schooling is a fascinating idea. It holds in balance the needs of the individual with the practical requirements to achieve, as a school, a class, and as a cohort. While we are often refining our approach at Pembroke, we are also prepared to acknowledge what we have achieved and continue to do.
At both Middle and Senior School assemblies we have been entertained by some superb student music. We have heard Chopin, listened to a moving boys choir and had individual solo singing. It is a treat we all enjoy, and I would like to thank the Music Department and associated teachers for undertaking the work it takes to bring it all to fruition.
All the best
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