Intermediate Department

The past two years have been very different, and at times difficult, with COVID in our country.

2020

We began 2020 in good heart, with full classes in the Intermediate Department. But after only six weeks of school, we were into our first lockdown. Year 7 girls had barely formed new friendships or learned how to use their laptops, so school work and Google Meet were quite challenging. We concentrated on the core subjects, which made the school day a little easier for these younger students. Needless to say, we were all very pleased once we were able to be back at school and into normal routines again.

Fortunately, Year 8 had already had their camp before lockdown hit. They enjoyed a wonderful time in Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound, where they tramped, fished, travelled up the fjord and learned about the flora and fauna of the area. Mrs Walker prepared an excellent programme with the help of Tahu, from Orokonui Ecosanctuary, and the team from Adventure Southland.

The students were also able to engage in many other events throughout the year, like the annual sports exchange with Balmacewen Intermediate, various competitions against other schools, social dances, and a variety of summer and winter sports.

A new initiative was trialled at the end of the year, where the Columba girls joined the Year 7 boys from John McGlashan College, for a day of sports and challenges.

At the end of the year, we farewelled Mrs Anwyn Walker who had taught at Columba for 26 years. She will be  hugely missed by both staff and students.

2021

The year began quite normally, but unfortunately did not end that way. Again, COVID, now with its new Delta variant, altered so much of the excitement for Year 7 and 8.

Summer sports were played enthusiastically, and a new exchange with Waihi School was enjoyed at the start of the winter season. However, soon after, competitive sports and the annual Balmac exchange were cancelled. Various quizzes and competitions were disrupted, and even assemblies and Chapel services were not able to proceed. There was three weeks of lockdown in August and when everyone returned there were new guidelines. In the classroom, we had to sit in rows rather than at tables, we wore masks and we sanitised often. The EXTRA Spelling and Current Events quizzes were held online and the O’Mathalon was cancelled. The John McGlashan College social went ahead in Term 1, but later in the year we were not able to hold our own.

Once again, the Year 8 camp to Deep Cove was a great success in Term 1. The Year 7 camp to Camp Columba still went ahead, albeit with Level 2 restrictions, in October. The original plan had been to join with the boys from John McGlashan College for the camp, but unfortunately the two schools had to stay socially distanced and run totally separate programmes at each end of the campsite. The weather, though, was amazing and so water sliding, swimming and a bonfire with toasted marshmallows complemented the excitement of the High Ropes, the Flying Kiwi and the Amazing Race.

2021 was certainly a challenging year, but the girls coped exceptionally well, showing resilience, GRACE, and a positive attitude. We wish them well for next year.

Mrs Cheyne and Miss Wilson – Year 7 form teachers

Mrs Corkhill and Mrs Bishop – Year 8 form teachers