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News > Old Boy News > Nansen’s Nuance

Nansen’s Nuance

7 Jun 2024
Old Boy News
A wonderful new tradition for Nansen House.
A wonderful new tradition for Nansen House.

Each year, spanning a number of weeks early in term 2, the Houses of the school host a House Chapel Service. During the respective services, the Year 7 cohorts are formally welcomed with the presentation of House badges and the Year 12 cohorts are presented with their Senior Badges.

Nansen House have taken this ceremony one step further with the introduction of a custom whereby the Old Boy who was House Captain when the current Year 12 cohort was in Year 7 is invited to present the badges. Thus, George Walker (2019) was invited to present badges at this years’ service. Housemaster Mitch Rosenlund extended the invitation to Old Boy Peter Jell (1964), marking 60 years since his tenure as House Captain of Nansen. The significance of this occasion rose to another level when Peter presented a Senior badge to his grandson Lachlan Milne.

Mitch Rosenlund’s speech (abbreviated version below) for the service perfectly expresses the sentiment of the occasion.

“Today I will focus on our two guests and why their presence here is everything special about Nansen House and Churchie. The simple fact that our House Captain from 60 years ago can be with us today is a testament to the enduring strength of the House system and this School.

Starting with George. For the majority of Nansen Seniors here today, when asked what it was about George in 2019 that they remember as making a significant difference. Their replies were: he knew my name, he knew that I played soccer on the weekend, he encouraged me at the interhouse events, he made me feel like I belonged to Nansen House, he said hello to me every morning and afternoon at the Nansen lockers, he said hello to me around the school, he was just a champion, I could tell in Year 7 that he cared about us.

And Peter, well I wasn’t the Nansen Housemaster in 1964. But, like George he cares. He’s coached rowing at Churchie for 40 years, he coached boys, their dads and their granddads. Like George, he knows boys' names, for boarders, he knows where they're from, he knows the name of their station, he knows how to make them feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves (to their crew and to the Churchie Boat Shed), he knows how to motivate boys, he believes in boys more than they believe in themselves, if he set a hard ergo session he did the session himself right beside the boys, he cared more about the boy's personal growth than the result.

Our House Captain this year, Cooper, uses the word legacy a lot. He and the entire Nansen Senior Group are motivated to leave their legacy. I think you would all agree with me in saying that Peter and George have left a legacy to Nansen House and to Churchie. Their legacy is not through flashy speeches, superhero athletic performances, winning races or trophies, but through authentic caring interactions.”

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