and “Your Future Starts Here” were just two of the bright and funky chalk-art messages drawn by Ro Oakley and Alecia Woodgate (Year 12) to welcome all the new students to Hagley over the three orientation days at the start of the year.
Hagley is unique in Christchurch, and possibly New Zealand, for the number of new students who start here every year. Of the more than 1000 people who have stepped through the front door for the first time as Hagley students over the past few weeks, only 125 are Year 9s. But even though the Year 9s are a small part of our big start, we are very aware how big a step it is to start high school, and how important it is to settle them in well. We have systems in place to ensure they get a lot of time, staffing, and attention to make sure that things go smoothly.
The Year 9s spent their first day with their tutors and the peer support leaders, getting to know each other, finding their way around the school, learning how to follow their timetables, and getting to understand “how we do things here”. A BBQ lunch added to the relaxed feel of the day and allowed students to mix with people from other classes. In addition to the work being done by our tutors and peer support leaders, our Year 9s are supported by Tracy Murphy as the Year 9 Advisor. New to the role this year, Tracy’s experience as a Learning Enhancement teacher, Academic Dean and a Junior College tutor add to her tremendous skills in this position. At the first Year 9 assembly Tracy got the students to tell each other what they had enjoyed most about their first week. Comments reported back were “awesome Kete Wana classes”, “making new friends”, “having nice teachers”, “being able to wear my own choice of clothes every day”, and “the great food in the cafe".
Our Year 9s are settling well into classes, joining sports teams, music groups, and various College clubs. We’re looking forward to more team-building activities as the term progresses, plus a Year 9 dodge-ball class challenge on 1 March, and towards the end of March a day out at Sumner when we will do a beach study for Science and students will learn to surf! Overall, it’s been a great start to the year, and it’s wonderful to see all these awesome futures taking shape!