Twenty years can be a long time I am sure but it seems like only yesterday that I walked into Somerset College on 17 February 2003.

Somerset is a very different place now to the institution I entered then  – when students still wore boaters!

So much has changed and been built:

  • The Ray Building
  • The Knowledge and Information Precinct
  • Design Centre
  • Refurbished Performing Arts Centre
  • Student Services Hub
  • ELP Version 1
  • ELP Version 2
  • Pool Grandstand
  • New Learn to Swim Pool
  • Fitness Centre
  • Indoor Courts
  • Athletics Track
  • Arnison Air-conditioning – certainly visible from the moon!
  • 1,100 to 1,720 students 
  • Staff increases to account for the growing student numbers – in 2003 there were 48 Support Staff – 2022 a rough count of 104 not including Peripatetic teachers and sports instructors of which there are many!
  • The Aitkenhead Building
  • The number of Second Generation Students has gone from 7 to 171

So much has been achieved by so many – true team work has made Somerset the success it is today.

We have all had the opportunity and the capacity to have a positive influence and make the Somerset Experience bigger and better!

As said, a lot has changed but many important things have not!

  • The friendly smiles which greet us each day
  • The Community Spirit which is so evident in all aspects of College life
  • The Somerset Experience!
  • On a personal note: 
    • My desk and bookcase
      • My guest chairs, and the one of which I am most proud, 
        • My keyboard

I did visit Somerset at some stage between 1983 and 1986. All I remember are muddy tracks, portable buildings and rough wooden fences. It was a giant leap of faith to send your children to Somerset in 1983.

Even if was not until 2009 that the last of the portable buildings were removed.

One element of College life which has improved markedly for students has been our Service programme. I have been delighted to see this growth. Service has always been an important part of my life both as a student and throughout my working life. It has been an honour and a privilege to have been able to serve at Somerset and see our College grow to be one of Australia’s pre-eminent independent co-educational schools. We should all feel proud of this.

Please take time to reflect on this and look around you to see all that has been achieved through, and in some cases, despite our efforts. It really has only been since my retirement was announced that I have taken the time to reflect on this. It has been time well spent.

We can all be proud of our achievements because we can all make Somerset better.

I have had many challenges to overcome at Somerset, three spring to mind:

  • Spelling Baccalaureate - tick
  • Spelling Bassingthwaighte - tick, and 
  • Spelling Entrepreneurship - failed

It must be time to leave!

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