Technological change is sweeping the world and, although many are being overwhelmed by its disruptive nature, St Andrew’s College is taking the technological opportunities with both hands. Rather than simply teaching its students how to be technology users, it is preparing students to control and create future technology, and investing accordingly in this area.
Last year St Andrew’s expanded its Technology programme, appointing Wilj Dekkers to the newly created role of Head of Innovation and Information Services. Wilj has been tasked with leading the development of the new Green Library and Innovation Centre, which was officially opened last month.
This has seen the extension of the existing Secondary School Library, which now features innovation, design and construction spaces with access to modern tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters.
Current student projects in the new Green Centre include the development of virtual reality content to help Allanvale School students learn to cross the road safely and
a new, online ordering system for the
St Andrew’s College cafeteria allowing parents to ‘top up’ their child’s account and keep track of their purchases.
St Andrew’s College also has a strong robotics programme and younger students participate in various coding clubs and Lego Mindstorm.
Rector Christine Leighton says the Green Library and Innovation Centre is the College’s response to the changing face of education. “We are mindful technology will bring the inevitable disruption to our educational landscape and are conscious of being adaptable and responsive to change,” she says.
“The new Green Centre provides a space where inspiration, innovation, creativity and collaboration are at the heart of how our students learn.”
With a wonderful year of Centenary celebrations now behind St Andrew’s College, Rector Christine Leighton says the StAC community has its sights set firmly on the future. “We look forward to new horizons, as we honour many of our old traditions, yet also create new ones which will inspire future generations. The essence of being a St Andrew’s College student, however, remains the same. The pride of wearing the thistle, the stirred emotion in hearing the pipes, the sense of belonging, and the shared values of truth, excellence, faith, honesty, generosity, compassion, hope, respect and responsibility, which underpin everything we do at St Andrew’s College.”
Christine became the first female Rector at St Andrew’s College when she was appointed to the role in 2007. She is proud to lead the only independent co-educational school offering boarding in the South Island, with its vibrant, engaged learning environment. “I was educated in a co-educational school myself and believe it is the best way to prepare young people for their future. After all, life is co-ed.”
Students at St Andrew’s are encouraged to strive for excellence in their academic, sporting and cultural pursuits, with their many successes widely celebrated. However, the students’ well-being and helping them to flourish are equally important at the College, Christine says. “The latest research shows learning is profoundly affected by well-being. We guide our students to not only cultivate their intellectual minds, but to develop a broad set of character strengths, virtues and competencies, which together support their physical and mental well-being.”
These values are also part of the High-Performance Sport and Elite Studies programmes at St Andrew’s, which are delivering some great results. “Recent successes include our Senior Boys’ and Girls’ A Volleyball teams both winning Canterbury Championships, our Mixed Tennis team finishing runners-up at national level, our rowers making nine A finals at Maadi Cup, and our athletes winning eight titles at the South Island Secondary Schools’ Athletics Championships.”
In the innovation space, Christine says St Andrew’s is looking forward to the opening of The Green Library and Innovation Centre in June, where students will be able to read, research, explore emerging technologies such as 3D printing and robotics, share ideas, and innovate. “This development is one of the exciting new ways we are helping students to embrace, and engage with life in a rapidly changing world,” Christine says.
Against a backdrop of delightful bubbles an amazing new asset made its mark at St Andrew’s College in February.
While the youngest members of the St Andrew’s delighted in a mass bubble blowing activity, Dame Adrienne Stewart opened their state-of-the-art buildings and bespoke playgrounds, all part of the brand new Stewart Junior Centre. The beautiful contrast between fun and formality set the tone for what the new facility will provide – an environment to excel, learn and thrive while having a great time each and every day.
The new development offers three new junior classrooms in one block for Year 1-3 students with an adjacent new preschool and an impressive outdoor facility that ensures education beyond the four walls of classroom is just as enriching.
All rooms in the Junior School enjoy high spec engineering, construction, insulation, technology and contemporary furniture and equipment. A Discovery Room provides an incredible avenue for diverse learning including art and cooking.
The Stewart family made a significant contribution to the Stewart Junior Centre, designed by Wilkie and Bruce Architects, and built by Armitage Williams. Mark Stewart took a walk down memory lane in his speech saying it was almost exactly 50 years since he started at St Andrew’s as a five-year-old. He said his family was proud of its long association with the college and their support of various projects. His brother Todd and other family members were also in attendance.
Preparatory School Principal, Jonathan Bierwirth says, “There is a natural cohesion and close connection between the Junior School and Pre-school, which is significantly enhanced by having both within the new Stewart Junior Centre. It is wonderful to have the youngest members of the St Andrew’s family learning in such close proximity.”