03/08/2020 - 20:07

Choosing a school is an investment for life

03/08/2020 - 20:07

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Selecting a school is like making an investment, and for many families, it is the biggest investment they will make. For Scotch College Headmaster Dr Alec O’Connell, the return on investment from good schooling is exponential.

Scotch College Year 12 graduating students at March Out 2019, photograph: Rene Greyling

Selecting a school is like making an investment, and for many families, it is the biggest investment they will make.

For Scotch College Headmaster Dr Alec O’Connell, the return on investment from good schooling is exponential.

“You would rarely measure an investment by your short-term returns and education is the same,” said Dr O’Connell.

“There’s a perception that Year 12 graduation is the culmination of your school life but at Scotch College it’s only the beginning.

“We see graduation as the starting line for the rest of your life and our goal is not simply to get you there but to support all our students to arrive confident and equipped to begin their next chapter.”

Supported by three education pathways, Scotch College aims to prepare boys for life.

In addition to the Western Australian Certificate of Education and Vocational Education and Training pathway, the College offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma – a world-renowned and recognised program known for providing the highest quality education.

“While supporting our students to achieve their potential in their ATAR and IB scores is important to us, we believe the values and community that you foster at school is the greater gain,” said Dr O’Connell. 

“At Scotch College, we’ve been developing our values and traditions since the school was founded in 1897 and this is a journey that never ends for us.

“At its heart, the College is a progressive institution that strives for individuality, integrity, excellence, service and respect.”

Known for its traditions, Scotch students’ academic schooling is balanced by a multitude of co-curricular opportunities including community service, outdoor education at the school’s Moray Outdoor Education campus, and a lifetime connection with the Scotch community.

One of these foundational experiences is the Bibbulmun Track.

Completed in stages from Years 7–12, all Scotch boarding students have the opportunity to trek the 1,000km trail from the Perth Hills to Albany in an exercise of resilience, self-awareness and independence known as ‘End to Enders’.

Students’ final rite of passage at Scotch College is ‘March Out’. 

This iconic tradition sees Year 12s greeted by College alumni as they march from the grounds, marking their transition from childhood to adulthood.

The connection between past, current and future students remains strong.

“Scotch had a strong influence on crafting my values which have no doubt helped me with my journey through business and life,” said past student and Perth digital agency Bonfire CEO and Director Mr Clay Cook.

“Scotch also has a strong and active network. When I think about why I’ve chosen to send my three sons to Scotch, these certainly make up some of the reasons why.”

As Perth went into isolation for COVID-19 in March, Scotch College students reached out to past students in their 80s and 90s.

“With support from the school, our Junior School students wrote letters and sent care packages to more than 40 of our old boys who were most vulnerable during this epidemic,” said Dr O’Connell.

“The feedback we received, from both young students, our old boys and their families, was immense.

“For those who are incredibly isolated and at such high risk, to hear from young people and feel connected to your community is without measure. This exemplifies the community for life that Scotch is dedicated to providing.”

At the College this extended community is past families and past students, known as the Old Scotch Collegians. 

Far more than a social association, the OSCs is a significant professional network for past, current and future students, and a community that provides mentoring, professional development and support.

On average there are more than 30 OSC events held each year, from sporting and social gatherings to reunions and networking opportunities. 

Scotch alumni Gavin Bunning said the College had taught him the importance of teamwork – a lesson that has been of great value to him throughout his life. 

“In the business world people often think it is all about them, but the best leaders know how to get the best out of people and how to earn their respect. As a leader you need to learn not to take yourself too seriously – the College instilled that in me,” said Mr Bunning.

“When seeking people for managerial positions, I was always looking for an allrounder – someone who had had a go at variety of things and Scotch provides the opportunities for boys to do that.”

Headmaster Dr O’Connell said: “Now, more than ever, we need to start thinking about school fees as an investment – this is an investment you’re making in your child’s future.”

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