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24-Hour Hike: In Pursuit of Cardinal, Gold, and Blue

The Scotch College 24 Hour Hike embodies standards symbolised by our school colours

In the vibrant fabric of school life, events like the fundraising 24 Hour Hike at Scotch College transcend mere physical challenges; they serve as catalysts for character development and community cohesion, showcase physical endurance, and illuminate the deeper threads of character and community woven into our school ethos. I recently participated in one and found it was an event like no other.

It was filled with camaraderie and friendship. As the boys trekked through the challenging terrain, a spirit of healthy competition fuelled their determination to hike as far as possible within the allotted time. Some boys clocked an astonishing 107 kilometres over the 24 hours.

Personally, and embarrassingly, I only managed to hike 18 kilometres in between my rostered duties.

As someone new to Scotch College this year, I witnessed at least three heartwarming moments during the event. First, I witnessed the runner-up graciously congratulating the winner, which encapsulated the essence of sportsmanship and unity, highlighting the supportive atmosphere of the event.

Second was the involvement of upper-year-level boys who volunteered to support their younger peers. They selflessly took on 24-hour kitchen duties, administrative tasks and other support roles, contributing to the smooth running of the event. Their willingness to give up their time (including their sleep time – invaluable for teenage boys!) to assist their fellow students exemplifies the strong sense of community and support fostered at Scotch College.

The third moment occurred when I overheard a boy offering to carry another to ensure they completed the final kilometres to achieve their target. I am unsure if that gracious offer was ever accepted, but it again exemplifies peers’ unwavering support and encouragement during those adversities.

As my ankles were recovering in the days after the event, I reflected on the experience and recalled our Principal’s remark earlier this year about the standards symbolised by our school colours – cardinal, gold and blue. The pursuit of Beauty, encapsulated by the cardinal, lies at the heart of Scotch College’s ethos. Beyond superficiality, beauty resonates in the bonds forged amid the challenges and triumphs of communal activities, such as the 24 Hour Hike.

This transformative aspect of communal experiences is supported by Robinson and Aronica’s (2009) research, which underscores Scotch College’s commitment to nurturing a culture where boys discover and cultivate their passions, fostering a deeper appreciation for the beauty of human connection and shared endeavours.

In alignment with beauty, Scotch College upholds the values of Goodness, symbolised by the gold. Goodness manifests in the selflessness displayed by students who volunteer to support their peers during the 24 Hour Hike. Duckworth (2016) explores the character trait of grit, emphasising its role in fostering resilience and long-term success. Through acts of kindness and solidarity, our students embody the golden threads of compassion that bind our school community, fostering a culture of empathy and altruism.

Central to Scotch College’s mission is the pursuit of Truth, represented by the blue. Marsh and Kleitman’s (2003) research highlights the correlation between communal engagement and academic outcomes. This integration of empirical evidence with philosophical inquiry underscores Scotch College’s dedication to nurturing well-rounded individuals who embody the values of integrity, curiosity, and lifelong learning. Additionally, Seligman’s (2011) exploration of positive psychology also reinforces the importance of truth-seeking and authentic engagement in fostering wellbeing and academic success.

At the heart of this reflection lies the profound understanding that human ties within our community serve as the crucible wherein character is forged. Beyond the surface, beyond academic success or physical fitness, events like the 24 Hour Hike imbue students with intangible attributes such as tenacity, resilience and empathy.

By engaging our students in experiences that transcend the classroom through the pursuit of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth, our students not only excel academically but also emerge as compassionate, resilient individuals equipped to navigate life’s challenges with integrity and purpose. As Scotch College continues to embrace these core values, it reaffirms our commitment to fostering a culture of excellence, empathy, and lifelong learning.

Participating in the 24 Hour Hike was a privilege and a truly rewarding experience. It has left a lasting impression on me, and should I be given the opportunity, I am eager to join another hike next year.

Dr Ruben Setiawan
Indonesian Teach / Acting Head of Indonesian


Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Scribner.
Marsh, H. W., & Kleitman, S. (2003). School athletic participation: Mostly gain with little pain. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 25(2), 205-228.
Robinson, K., & Aronica, L. (2009). The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. Penguin Books.
Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. Atria Paperback.

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