Hero photograph
Photo by Kelly McNicholl

Staff Notes 2022

Jack Goodfellow —

Every year these notes remark on what a busy year it has been for the staff of Hornby High School, and 2022 may arguably be the busiest and most demanding in recent memory.

Whilst we avoided the hard lockdowns of previous years, Covid-19 still made its presence felt, with the majority of the school population, staff included, being affected by the virus at some point, and the subsequent time away from school this required. Despite the disruptions, school has largely stayed open for learning for all of 2022, albeit with some roster-home days to carry us through the worst of the disruption. The fact that we have been able to stay open is testament to hard work and dedication of HHS staff in covering for each other, plugging the gaps, picking up the slack and just getting on with it. We are eternally grateful for this can-do attitude in keeping things as consistent as possible for our young people.

As usual, there have been comings and goings on staff, milestones, sadnesses and celebrations. We welcomed a number of skilled and passionate new staff at the beginning of the 2022 school year. Patricia Potter in the Year 7&8 team; Christopher Welch in the Mathematics department; Nicole Bennett in Health; Rhys Thorpe in Health, PE and Mathematics; and Kelly McNicholl to our front reception. In April we welcomed Luke Taylor back after a period of family leave, and said farewell to Russell Cairns, who had been covering in Luke’s absence.

In August, Roger Murfitt retired after over 40 years of service to Hornby High School. Roger’s contribution over the years has been immense, in most recent years as a senior administrator, timetabler and relief coordinator, and prior to that a long-time Science teacher and head of the Science department. Roger has also been a stalwart of the Hornby High School staff social club over the years, helping ensure that staff are well cared for, acknowledged and looked after in their work. Roger’s knowledgeable presence and expertise will be sorely missed, but we wish him well for his retirement.

Another long-serving staff member to leave us at the end of 2022 is Barbara Climo, who has held various roles at Hornby High School over the past 20 years, including teacher of ICT, a year level Dean and, most recently, the head of our Careers and Guidance department. In her Careers Advisory role, Barbara has given guidance and wise counsel to hundreds of senior students as they nervously take their next steps in life. Her limitless knowledge, amazing connections in the community, and warm, welcoming manner will be sorely missed by students and colleagues alike. We wish Barbara well in her retirement.

Scott Aitken leaves the kura after 14 years as Head of Department English. Scott has provided invaluable leadership in the areas of English, Literacy and Media Studies, and he has also lent his leadership versatility to eLearning and Wānanga. Scott has been a larger than life presence around the kura, whether his imaginative costumes on dress-up days, or carving up the dance floor at senior formals, Scott’s sense of humour and fun endears him to students and colleagues alike. Scott leaves us to take up the role of Head of English at Middleton Grange. He will be missed.

Daniel Reizinger leaves us at the end of 2022 after nearly five years service in the Science team. A chemist by training, Daniel showed his sharp mind and versatility in taking up senior Physics teaching for most of his time with us. Unfortunately for us, Daniel is taking this sharpness and versatility into the private sector, taking up a role as a Kiwisaver fund manager. We also farewell Chelsea Birtch, who after five years service as a teacher of Year 7&8, is leaving us to take up a role at Christchurch South Intermediate. We thank Chelsea for her diligent contribution over the years. We will miss her enthusiasm, dedication and friendly Canadian accent ringing through the kāhui!

Our other Chelsea, Chelsea Bremner also resigned from her Year 7&8 teaching role during the year, after having been on extended leave to pursue her professional rugby career. With Chelsea’s rugby career going from strength to strength, it was inevitable that she was going to resign officially. Chelsea has done Hornby and New Zealand proud in the Black Ferns jersey, and we will continue to follow her career with interest.

Michael Collins departs after three years of service to the Visual Arts and junior Wānanga areas. Michael’s immense creative talents will be missed, as will his calm and wise demeanor. We wish Michael well in his new role in Visual Arts at Cashmere High School. Also departing at the end of 2022 is Emma Costello, who has been a warm and wise presence in the Year 7&8 area for the past two years. Emma is following her passion and training, and taking up a Religious Education role at Villa Maria. We also farewell Bree Bell, who leaves us to teach at Christchurch Girls’ High School, before taking off on some overseas travel. Bree has made an amazing impact in Te Reo Māori, Science, and with her Wānanga group in her short time with us. Thank you for your mahi Bree! The ever versatile, calm and patient Rhys Thorp also finishes with us at the end of 2022. Rhys has held various teaching roles on the kura over the last 18 months, most recently in Health, Physical Education, Maths and Literacy. Lastly, we also say farewell to Becs McAllister who has worked as a Guidance Counsellor in the kura for the past two years. Bec’s calm, steady and wise presence will be missed, and we wish her well at Avonside Girls.

On a staff the size of ours (70+, and growing!) there are constantly milestones to celebrate: engagements, weddings, births and other wonderful achievements. As already mentioned, Chelsea Bremner took up a professional rugby contract and made the Black Ferns squad. Throughout the 2022 Chelsea was often a first choice lock for the run-on team, and she topped off an incredible year by lifting the Rugby World Cup here on home soil. What an amazing achievement. Everyone here at Hornby High School is so proud of you Chelsea!

In August, Matua Uai welcomed a son, McKay Tili Liu, to the world. That makes three under three for the Liu whānau. What a well-loved little brother McKay will be! In July, Miss Renee Wattchow became Mrs Renee Ampuero, when she tied the knot with Rodrigo. Many congratulations to you both. Finally Sarah Handley was the deserving recipient of a TeachNZ scholarship for the 2023 school year. Sarah will be undertaking study in Te Reo Māori through the University of Waikato. Sarah will be with us for a few weeks at the start of the year, and will return to us in Term 4, but we would like to take this opportunity to wish Sarah and family well for the temporary move north.