From the Principal

Tena koutou,

The 2021 School Year

As I sit at my desk today reflecting on this year, the feeling that I have is relief that we made it to the end of the year without another lockdown or some other form of disruption that would have an impact on the wellbeing and learning for our students.

This year, like so many sectors across New Zealand, has not been an easy one at Geraldine High School. It has presented many challenges for our students, staff and our wider community.

We have had:

  • Flooding that affected PIA and Agricultural areas with land lost and significant insurance damage to various classrooms and our Hall foyer. This damage will hopefully be fixed before school starts next year.

  • Lockdown had an impact on our senior NCEA students. It occurred at a crucial time of the year which compromised their learning due to the unpredictable nature of work we had over a number of months.

  • Our Year 13 Students who have had 2 years of disrupted learning, ended their 7 years with us with no family at prize givings to celebrate their successes and journey over their years at Geraldine High School.

  • Building setbacks have occurred as we work through an ever changing space of rising building costs alongside the ability to get to the start line as the impact of COVID has impacted on this.

  • Staff Changes which have occurred due to the vaccine mandate and has meant a significant workload for everyone both in employing staff for next year and managing the workload and classes who no longer had the teacher they had at the start of this year.

  • Families in need as they have had to manage in some cases significant changes in work and home life due to the pandemic and the impact that has had for many students, parents and families as they make their way through this.

  • Board Separation of the Geraldine High School Carew Peel Forest School Board of Trustees after over 20 years was a significant task. This was a process that took many hours of consultation and meetings to achieve this and it is pleasing to see that both schools are doing well as they establish their own Governance.

However as I write this we have made it to the end of 2021 and can all now look forward to having a well deserved break and time to spend with friends and family and recharge in the hope our 2022 will be a more positive and memorable year.

Staff Changes

The government Mandate has meant changes in our staffing. Together with the normal staff employment that every school has, we are now close to completing the recruitment of the staffing, both teaching and support staff for the year ahead.

We have Ms Alana Dalziel leaving us to teach at Mayfield Primary School. Ms Dalziel has taught there before and she has found that her natural school fit is a small Primary school and that is the appeal of Mayfield. Even though Ms Dalziel has only been with us for a short time, we have enjoyed her engaging and meticulous approach to her teaching and thank her for the contributions she has made to the learning for our students.

We are currently finalising the appointment of an English, Careers and Caretaker roles and in the new year, I will share all of our new staff to the school community in our first newsletter.

Head Students

Our Head Students for this year - Hazel Fisher, Robert Furrer, Alliah Baniqued and Conor Foley Smith, supported by our wider Student Exec and our Yr 13’s have, under difficult conditions, been able to do a wonderful job representing our school and continuing a strong school culture given the situation we have faced. My thanks to all of you and I wish you well in whatever path you take.

We announced the new Executive at our recent Senior Prizegiving. This will be a wonderful group to lead our school across all facets of our school life and congratulations to them all in gaining a role.

  • Head Boy - Will Wilson
  • Head Girl - Amelia McKeown
  • Deputy Head Boy - Brodie England
  • Deputy Head Girl - Emily Johnston
  • Sports Leaders - Molly Kate Morrison and Emily Osborne
  • Cultural Leader - Saskia Finlayson- Hood
  • Rangitahi Leader - Charlotte Marriott
  • BOT Student Representative - Olivia Chapman
  • Acland House Leader - Logan Sowden
  • Cox House Leader - Lucie Knox
  • MacDonald House Leader - Maia Mahuka
  • Tripp House Leader - Bella Keeley

Our Head Students - Amelia McKeown, Will Wilson, Emily Johnston and Brodie England have already commenced their roles, as they have been busy talking to and showing around a number of candidates for positions at our school.

Student Exec 2022 — Image by: Hugh McCafferty, GNews

Top Academic Achievers 2021

I wanted to acknowledge and congratulate the amazing achievements of our top 4 academics award winners from our Senior Prizegiving. These four students have been conscientious throughout the year and had high expectations of themselves in their curriculum areas and the commitment they have shown is recognised in these prestigious awards.

Proxime Accessit - (Donated By The Sinclair Family) - Marcus Furrer

Geraldine High School Dux Trophy and Medal - George Holland

Board Of Governors’ Trophy - Awarded for All-round Excellence - Jack Barrie

Year 12 Academic Excellence Award - (Donated By Deborah Hume) - Saskia Finlayson-Hood

Supreme Academic Winners 2021 — Image by: Hugh McCafferty. GNews

I am looking forward to the Junior Prize Giving which is now 2 Prize Givings due to the Covid requirements, and seeing the progress and achievements of our students in Yr 7 to 10 this Friday.

Thank you

The Staff, Parents, PTA and BoT have been amazing this year as we have worked through probably one of the more difficult periods in our educational history and my sincere thanks for the mahi done, the support and understanding over 2021. You have all played a part in the development, learning and wellbeing of all our students at Geraldine High School and it is appreciated.

Next year as we join or return to Geraldine High School as staff or students, we return to some exciting property changes with a renovated Administration block, Hauora Hub and Hall Foyer and the prospect of seeing the beginnings of a new Gymnasium later in the year. We will also have 8 new teachers and 5 support staff joining us from around the country which is exciting as they bring different perspectives and experiences to add to the wonderful staff we already have.

As this is our last newsletter for the year, I wish everyone in our Geraldine High School Community, a safe and enjoyable Christmas and look forward to seeing the whole school on Friday 4th of February for our Powhiri start to the year. 

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa