2017 Speech Night Address - Board Chair
Pulteney students, families and guests; Pulteney staff; Board of Governors; Pulteney Friends, Old Scholars and Foundation members: it is my absolute pleasure as Board Chair to welcome you to our 2017 Celebration Night.
Tonight we celebrate another year of achievements by all of our students in so many different ways at Australia’s fourth oldest Independent School.
I am sure that every single student here tonight can reflect on individual special school achievements during the year. Congratulations to all of you.
Congratulations also to the students being awarded prizes for special achievements tonight and to the teams who have very recently won impressive State and National competitions.
In particular, tonight we say goodbye to our year 12 students as they move confidently into another exciting phase of their life. We congratulate you all and wish you well with the values that Pulteney and your families have given you. We celebrate your success in achieving this important milestone in life by graduating from school. We are very proud of you.
We welcome you to our inclusive Old Scholars Community, which you will find to be just as supportive as the Pulteney community which you enjoyed and supported you during your Pulteney education. Good luck to every one of you. It’s a very exciting, rapidly changing world out there and you will enjoy the next steps, no matter what you choose to do. Take your time if you are undecided. Have fun and a few laughs with every step. I guarantee you will remember your Pulteney days and your school friendships for the rest of your life – and mostly with satisfaction and a smile.
Just a few weeks ago I met Brian Hagger at the Remembrance Day lunch. Brian was a popular teacher at Pulteney in my time a few decades ago and I haven’t seen him since I was 18. It was wonderful to chat at length with Brian as if it was just yesterday. Brian, although long moved on from our School and now retired, is here tonight. Such is his loyalty to Pulteney.
Not long after that I was chatting to Fernley Schuster, the First VIII rowing coach, who said that he is still involved with a very active email chat group of about 80 of his old rugby and rowing mates from Pulteney in the 70s.
These are examples of the joys ahead of you as a member of the strong and inclusive Pulteney community for life.
Tonight is also and importantly about expressing gratitude: To the people who did so much of the work towards your success, your wonderful teachers and support staff; the School Board of Governors says thank you very sincerely. Teachers are amazingly dedicated people and are one of Pulteney’s strongest asset.
Albert Einstein, the German Physicist, Global citizen and Nobel Prize winner said; “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”. Our teachers excel in their work.
The Board knows and appreciates our teacher’s involvement, hard work and commitment in implementing the new progressive educational style that is evolving at Pulteney to keep us at the forefront of independent co-education in Australia.
To all the teachers and support staff; here and not able to be here: THANK YOU
To our students’ parents, families and friends; the School Board also values your support and the enormous efforts that many of you are able to provide to the school. Thank you for trusting us with your most important possession: Your Children. We have all tried very hard to give each student the best education and support that all parents want for their child.
I would like in particular to acknowledge a true navy blue-blood old scholar, Fred Priest - and his wife Shirley, who have recently made a very significant bequest to the school, which will fund up to 10 disadvantaged students to attend Pulteney. The first of these scholarships has recently been awarded. Fred and Shirley are here tonight. In addition, Ian and Pammy Wall have been great supporters of the School in similar ways for many years and are also here tonight. Please join me in thanking Fred, Shirley, Ian and Pammy.
To our Principal, Anne Dunstan, and her Executive team the Board congratulates you and we are enjoying working with you and supporting your vision and efforts for modern, forward thinking global education with global connectedness. We understand it is not easy being a Principal and it can be lonely at the top.
Mrs Dunstan is about to enter her fifth year as our first ever female Principal. Your school Board supports you entirely and we will continue to work together successfully with you on our shared vision for Pulteney’s future.
This brings me to the work of the School Board of Governors.
In my first year as Chairman, the Board has worked tirelessly. The three new Board members announced at this function last year immediately fitted in to our Board and contributed their considerable skills from day one. Board Members and co-opted members give their time gratis to the school. Thank you.
We have continued to implement the School’s Strategic Plan, which was initiated and developed successfully by my predecessor, Tim Goodes, and I thank Tim for his four years of Board leadership.
Our Board Committee work involves the usual but extremely important Governance and Financial things that are often unnoticed unless something very serious happens. Marketing & Strategic Capital Works are more visible but all are important.
A very big thanks to those Board Committee Chairs: Brooke Willshire, Alan Candy, Allan Brideson and Andrew Phillips. And of course, to ALL Board members, co-opted members and School Executives who work on one or more of these committees.
My job has been made easier by our hugely supportive Deputy Chair, Colin Dudley, who also Chairs the Pulteney Foundation. A very big public thanks to you also, Colin.
In just the last few years we have delivered the new Centre for Senior Learning (which has won three awards), a refurbished Allan Wheaton House and the new, VERY exciting Middle School building, which will come on stream mid-2018. Other significant minor works have also been achieved.
We have not forgotten the Performing Arts building on South Terrace that we announced several years ago. If there is anyone who would like their family name on this very impressive building for a hundred years come and speak to the Board.
We continue to work very favourably with the Adelaide City Council on a future Sports Pavilion similar to others that you have seen in the West and North parklands. We have recently had our Guardianship of Park 20 (the parklands we use) favourably extended by Council as the first step in that process towards a pavilion.
We are negotiating the purchase of the road and ‘right of way’ from the Council, which will enable us to secure the whole North West corner of the school for the safety of our students and staff and provide room for our Master Plan expansions.
There are other projects in the pipeline all aimed at providing our teachers and students with the very best modern educational facilities available in keeping with our Infrastructure Master Plan. Your Board is busy and the future of the School is exciting.
Another element of the Board’s work is fostering a close supportive relationship with Parents & Friends of Pulteney, Pulteney Old Scholars and The Pulteney Foundation. I am pleased to say that we have worked on these bonds this year in true blue ‘One Community’ Pulteney tradition.
Pulteney will continue to excel in the future as the best city based independent co-education school with its vision firmly focussed on providing your children with a globally focussed education to help prepare them for a successful and enjoyable life.
I would like to finish with advice for our year 12 graduating students using some of the words of our School Chaplain, Rev Michael Lane, at the recent Remembrance Day Service.
Michael was reflecting on humanity but these are good principals that also reflect Pulteney’s strong Anglican values of respect, tolerance and community.
As you enter this next wonderful phase of your life remember Michael’s words;
“Be very considerate to others. Be able to be generous to others. Be able to negotiate peace and solutions. Have the ability to empathize with and learn from people of other races, creeds and colour.”
So, in closing, congratulations to everyone here for being a successful part of Pulteney’s 170th year.
Enjoy your Christmas and New Year break and we will see many of you again in 2018.
Dr Greg Keene