Julian Bowden's prizegiving address by CGHS

Chair of the Board's Prizegiving Speech

Julian Bowden delivered his speech at the senior prizegiving.

Tena Koutou Katoa. On behalf of the Board of Trustees it is great to see you all here for this celebration of achievement over the last year. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank a number of people. Firstly, to the girls who provide the school with its energy and character. Thank you all for your input to the school. Be that in your academic, cultural or sporting endeavours, it is you that makes this school so special. You are the soul of the school and we know you represent it with pride in all that you do. There is nothing better than seeing Christchurch Girls' High students achieving on the local or national stage. 

To the teaching and support staff for your absolute commitment and passion to the education of our daughters. We thank you for your dedication to developing the fantastic young women who pass through Christchurch Girls' High School. We also thank you for your patience your resilience and understanding as we continue with our school rebuilding programme. There have been some challenges in the last year, but solutions have always been found. Your ability to adapt and provide ongoing teaching is an outstanding achievement. 

To the Board of Trustees thank you for your unrelenting focus on ensuring the school has the support to function at the highest level possible. The Board is committed to ensuring the girls and staff have a highly functioning school and providing a safe environment for all. I would like to make mention of Mike Lay and Cymon Allfrey. Both Mike and Cymon have provided strong leadership as Chair of the Board through a challenging rebuild phase. Both have stepped down from Chair over the last 12 months for various reasons, but they are to be thanked for there relentless work on the building programme. The results achieved to date are a testament to a collective vision for the school. The Performing Arts Centre, the new gym and the fourth floor refurbishment gives us an insight into what lies ahead. 

To Louise Green, Heather Harding, Rob Frier and new board members of the last 12 months Jennifer Goldsmith and Brian Northern, your input is invaluable. Annabelle Lill has provided a view and voice for the students over the last year and we thank Annabelle for her input as student rep on the Board. We welcome Isla Clarkson as Student Rep for 2019 and look forward to Isla’s input next year. The diversity of the Board ensures we have a wide range of views and these all feed into a process so that ultimately end up with the best outcomes for the school, the staff and the girls. 

This brings me to Pauline Duthie. On behalf of the Board and the entire school community we thank you for your unwavering passion and focus on providing the girls an exceptional educational opportunity over the last 5 years. Under what has been trying conditions at times, you have continued to develop and evolve the school during your time here and we believe you certainly have left the school in a better position than which you found it. We are sad to see you leave us for your new opportunity at Columba College. But you go with our blessings and we thank you for all you have done to help keep Christchurch Girls' High School amongst the best girls schools in the country. We look forward to seeing you again at events where the two schools will undoubtedly compete. We know deep down you will bleed red and blue. 

While we have come a long way, the next year will see two key focus areas for the Board. Firstly, we have already started a process to find a new leader for our school. We know that this role will be a highly sought-after role such is the standing of Christchurch Girls' High School in the community. The process will be thorough to ensure we end up with the best person for the job. Through change comes opportunity and we look forward to appointing someone who will continue to drive the school forward in what promises to be another time of change. Based on what we have seen and read of the Ministry of Education’s review of Tomorrows School’s it appears some of that change may not be far away. While we work through this process Peter Sawyer will take over the reins as Acting Principal. We look forward to supporting Peter and the rest of the team through this time. 

While our building project has come a long way there is still work to do. We are working with the Ministry to develop a plan for the completion of our works programme. This will be a challenging time again. This work includes the completion of the Main Block and work on the Tech Block and Maths block. There have been some preliminary discussions with the Ministry around this and there is a need for more detailed planning and input from the various parties involved. Once we have some more clarity around the plan, we will share this with the wider school community. 

Finally, on behalf of the Board I would like to wish our Year 13s all the best in the next chapter of your lives. We hope your time here at Christchurch Girls' High School has been enjoyable and rewarding. Many of your friendships here will last for life. We trust that we have provided you with the education and skillset to go out and follow your dreams whatever they may be. To the Year 11s and Year 12s, we look forward to seeing you back for 2019. To the staff, girls and parents enjoy your Christmas break and stay safe over the summer holidays. Thank you.