All Aboard

By Peter Clague, St Leonard’s College Principal

The final weeks of the College year often feel like the bustling platforms of a busy railway station, with throngs of people coming and going at various stages of their St Leonard’s journey, and all the attendant excitement and emotion.

New arrivals appear on schedule for the embrace of our many induction events. Personal welcomes for families new to the College. Transition classes to entice students with a taste of what awaits them. On-boarding sessions to share our culture with new staff. All designed to instil confidence and a sense of happy anticipation over the summer break before we reconvene in the New Year.

Perhaps the most poignant of all is the welcome to parents whose children will be joining the ELC. As they prepare to embark on a 12-year journey with us, the apprehension they may feel is entirely normal. How reliable is this train? Is it on the right track? Will the conductors keep a careful eye on their loved one? We obviously believe so, but we are also at pains to reassure them that they are not packing their child off on this excursion alone; they are coming along for the ride.

I often think that a glimpse over at the terminus would reassure them. As the graduating Year 12s and their families alight at the end of their journey at the Valedictory Dinner, the rewards of their time with us are self-evident. Fine young individuals step out of that carriage, resilient, independent, and armed with the blend of confidence and humility that their travels through the College have honed. Most heartening of all, the entire cohort are a tight knit group, united by bonds that only those who have shared an adventure can know.

The St Leonard’s Express will depart once again in January, stopping at a thousand different destinations of challenge and opportunity before ultimately delivering each of our young people to their own Valedictory Dinner. Before that whistle blows though, I join with my colleagues in wishing every member of the College family a joyful Christmas and a restful summer break. May every student find time to reflect on their travels this year and look forward to where the rails will carry them in 2024.