Mr Stuart West extended a belated welcome to our Removes and new boys’ who joined St John’s College this year at the New Boys’ Induction Service.
This special service, a rite of passage for all new boys entering St John’s College, was unfortunately postponed a few times since the start of school in Easter Term. The service went ahead today without our parents as to delay it any further would undermine our appreciation of these young men as Johannainas. We were fortunate to be able to live-stream the service from the Memorial Chapel for our parents view from home.
Entering high school is a significant step in a boy’s life. Remove presents a brand new start – a second birth - for you all. Your start at the College presents a brand new opportunity for you to establish yourself as a young man, explore your passions and interests in fresh, new ways. This is the moment to begin your unique journey to grow into a positive, confident and capable young Johannian, who will step out from our gates after Matric in 2025.
It might sound obvious, but a boys’ school like St John’s specialises in the teaching and care of boys. St John’s is a place where boys can simply be boys, where the business of boys is our sole focus, and where that sense of acknowledgement, validation and belonging for each and every one of you is of enormous significance for your teenage years.
The Remove Orientation Day, while not quite the Remove Camp, was your first real induction into St John’s. Your enthusiasm and respect on the day was a delight to behold, and it was clear that you have started to develop that vital sense of belonging to the College and, importantly to your House.
The House system has been a foundational structure of care and belonging at St John’s since its beginning. It is your tribe, your clan, your family within the larger St John’s family. Your Houses are named after strong, pioneering leaders, who all played a key role in the history and formation of our magnificent College. When you encounter Old Johannians, the first question they will ask you is, “What House are you in?” Your house is your family and safe place within the College.
Removes, you have made such a good impression on me with your spirit, your perseverance and your manners, despite the challenging times. I see you greeting people, smartly and with enthusiasm. Don’t lose this respectful and engaging manner. We expect all St John’s boys to look adults in the eye and greet everyone: the security guards at the entrance gate, the ground, maintenance and catering staff you encounter daily, the teaching staff in each lesson, any adult who may walk past you in the corridors, and any guests who may come onto our campus and who may need your help or just a warm smile and welcoming greeting.
St John’s is a school of immense tradition and splendour. You are surrounded by it every day. It is a place of great beauty and sacredness, amongst the most beautiful schools in the country (and the world).
It is an extraordinary environment in which to teach and learn. I hope that you too will find it an inspiring home of learning, in which to work, explore, perform, play and grow.
This magnificent Chapel is the focal point of life at the school. Over the next five years in your journey from boyhood to manhood, you will spend a significant amount of time in this beautiful place. Soon we will be able to have our Chapel times together as a College. Take the opportunity to find times of peace in this Chapel and allow God to speak to you, in your St John’s journey. If you open your heart, God will speak!
You know that the more you put into the next five years, the more you will get out of it, and a lot of this will be determined by your attitude.
Removes and new students, I give you three challenges to guide you on your St John’s journey. Your G-P-S, if you like:
- G – Get involved
- Many opportunities to try new things and discover activities, interests and new passions.
- And to find like-minded friends
- Experience has taught me: An involved boy is a happy boy!
- P – Plan ahead
- This is busy, bewildering and demanding school
- You will need to get know the routines, practices and landscape
- Be proactive > Be organised > Keep ahead of the diary > even one day ahead is good enough
- S – Seek support
- You are part of many support networks
- When you are unsure, overwhelmed and anxious > ASK for help
- House Mentor > House prefect > Tutor > House Master
- Teachers > support teachers and counsellors
- Parents, siblings, guardians
- All wanting you to settle and succeed > ASK!
To conclude: Your teacher and coaches can and will open doors for you, but you must embrace each opportunity. Ann Landers: “Opportunities are often disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognise them.”
Get involved, try things and learn the St John’s way! It is a joy to welcome you to the College!