Hero photograph
Fergus Chinnery & Gemma Thorp          Head Boy and Girl 2017
Photo by Caitlin Lemon

Final Principal's Comment from Mr Harray

Neil Harray —

This is the last newsletter I write as Principal of Katikati College.

During the last 7 ½ years we have experienced a significant amount of change and this is reflective of the fast paced change we see within our society. I want to acknowledge our two most recent Principals and the hard work and dedication they have shown in the last 25 years. Mr Brian Blackstock’s leadership, not only within the school but in the community, is everlasting. Peter Leggat’s uncompromising drive for academic success has really laid the platform for our students to perform at outstandingly high levels of achievement. As you will know, the letters from the Minister for the last three consecutive years have confirmed that our students are continually improving academically and well respected within the education sector.

As I mentioned, things certainly have changed very quickly. The influence of technology, not only in the work environment but also upon our students, has meant that schooling will continue to change in the years to come. Access to information is at a fingertip and we are no longer constrained by a curriculum that must be followed to the letter. Our students enjoy contextualised learning – learning about real world environments and the impact that they may have in the future.

There is no question that we have faced our challenges over the last 7 ½ years. Some of our students come to us with various issues and high learning needs. I have commented to a few people recently that it is not easy being a teenager these days. The pressures on them are quite high in comparison to our days growing up. I know quite a few people of similar age have commented that we feel very lucky to have grown up in an era where there were no cell phones or social media. Out students need support to navigate their way through this. Ever increasingly is the guidance required from adults around how to communicate effectively, how to voice concerns or worries and how to support each other. People also need to know what it means to be a ‘good friend’ and a ‘respectful friend’ as well as respecting those that may have different opinions or beliefs.

I would like to thank all of the community who attended my farewell assembly yesterday. I thought the students did an outstanding job in bringing together a really cool and heartfelt assembly. It is a real tribute to our students that they conducted themselves so well and also appreciated the lengths to which they researched and reflected upon my time at Katikati College. A video link of the wonderful performances that were presented yesterday is attached to this article. I would also like to thank those people who have sent various communications of thanks and good wishes, I certainly appreciate all the support that people have shown me, not only in my last 7½ years but more recently as well. We can feel extremely proud of our students as they head towards their future endeavours.

I have really enjoyed doing my usual walk around at lunchtime. There has to be a pretty good reason for me not to be out there. I’m either away or dealing with something urgent. I feel like I know lots of you. It’s fun working out who you are, who your family is and what friends you have. It is such an important part of what makes you, you.

We are a multi-cultural school, who should celebrate and embrace the changing nature of our town. We have students from a wide range of backgrounds who all go to the same school. We have students of dazzling abilities with all sorts of talents, lots to national level and some students that really struggle. Struggle to come to school, struggle with their learning, struggle to make friends. But we accept students for who they are, celebrate their uniqueness and look after them. Because that’s what a community focused school does, looks after each other.

And finally, as I said at assembly this week, some basic advice for our students:

– the game is simple – turn up in the right uniform, enjoy and take all you can from your teachers, get involved in the school, represent us with pride, treat everyone with respect, enjoy life and be happy!

Nga mihi

Mr Neil Harray | Principal