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Photo by Joe McMenamin

Staff Farewells

Joe McMenamin —

Mrs Julia Lee

Mrs Julia Lee – where do you start? Beginning at the beginning is always a good idea.

Julia arrived at Naenae College in 1989. She came to set up the newly established Special Needs Unit, Te Whare o te Atawhai. In its first year, the SNU had 2 staff and 6 students. In 2016 there were 15.5 staff and 41 students. Mr Russell has referred to this as Julia’s empire! That makes her the Empress, or at least the Queen.

Julia has devoted herself tirelessly to the well-being of her students, their families and the staff of the SNU. In recent years she has earned the nickname of “Mother”. One of her ambitions was to see her Unit housed in an appropriate, purpose-built building. This goal was achieved with the opening of the new Whare o Te Atawhai in 2013.

The SNU has been Julia’s life’s work really, and it reflects a lot about her personality. The first things you notice when you come into the building are the bright colours and the sense of light. There’s never a dull moment with Mother.

The SNU is a happy, creative place where there is always a lot of laughter. We like dressing up and being silly. We also support each other through our tough times. We are a whanau.

During her 27-28 years, Julia’s influence has spread far beyond the SNU and into the wider College and community. In her earlier days, she was a dean, organised the netball with Mrs Joan Tite and organised the costumes for the whole-school drama productions of the ‘90’s and early 2000’s.

She served as staff representative to the Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2010, and for many years has headed up the school social committee.

Julia has said that, “Naenae College gets into your bones.” She has been a great friend and supporter to countless students and staff members. She has made us smile, made us laugh, cried with us and always reminded us that it’s the well-being of the kids that is the most important thing. She leaves behind a great legacy of warmth, care, affection and fun. I think by now all of her bones must be made of Naenae College.

Thank you, Mother.

Tamsin Davies-Colley

Mrs Marie Marsh

Marie Marsh came to us from Parkway College in Wainuiomata College where she was teacher aide for 14 years.

She joined the support team in 2003 as Student Centre Administrator, attendance administrator and first aider. Marie has dealt with a wide range of students across all the year levels. She became the friendly face for all the new year 9 students as they began their new school.

She has a good rapport with students, staff and the external agencies that visit the school from time to time eg. mobile dental clinic, VIBE, physiotherapist and counsellors. Marie’s knowledge of the students and the time and effort she puts in organising appointments is appreciated by all.

A little known fact about Marie is that a few years ago Marie, her husband, alongside her church, were actively involved with Hutt community working with street kids and adults providing food and ensuring that they were generally safe.

She is now involved with CAP who provide budgeting advise, clothing for families in need.

And now sadly, after 13 years, Marie leaves us to spend more time at home with her family and grandchildren and the unknown adventures that lie ahead.

Mr Venkat Reddy

Mr Venkat Reddy started at Naenae College in 2014 as the Head of the Mathematics Faculty. He was previously a Physics and Mathematics teacher at St Catherines College, Kilbirnie for a number of years. Mr Reddy brought with him strong organisational and administrative skills which were much needed within the Faculty. He will be remembered for his no-nonsense approach and his attention to detail. Mr Reddy taught a range of Mathematics classes, with a focus on senior Calculus. Students have appreciated the high expectations he had for each of them and his determination to see them succeed. Under his leadership, the Mathematics Faculty has thrived and the structures and systems he has developed have left the team in good stead. We wish him well as he goes on to his new role as the Assistant Principal of Heretaunga College.

Mr Phil Pegler

When Phil Pegler started as Head of Music 10 years ago, he brought life back into the Music Technology side, using what was the state of the art set-up then, but was rarely used. He had the skills to organise classes in programme sound recording. The good working condition these computers are still in today, is due to his continual patience and knowledge in keeping these maintained himself. Phil took initiatives in introducing parents and students, who were not necessarily ‘Music buffs’ to come and listen to a range of Music genre by introducing Soiree Evenings which took the place of the large productions that faded with the advent of NCEA . At this time, Drama was also introduced as a subject and became part of the Music Department, now known as Performing Arts. This gave another avenue for students to have a chance to gain performance skills and confidence.

Phil played a very large part in getting our first Multi-Cultural Day up and running and has since then, played an enormous part in the concert side, training up his performance sound and lighting group who value his knowledge.

On the music side – Phil has had major successes with students going on and becoming very talented, well-known singers and bands eg Shian, Velvet Regime just to name a few. He has regularly produced CD’s of musical and drama events and the students and staff have valued these as great mementos of these occasions.

We thank Phil for his long hours and valuable contribution to Naenae College Performing Arts and wish him all the very best in his future ventures.

Mr Kim Minot

Kim Minot left Naenae College at the end of term two this year to return to his career in the insurance industry. He has been missed greatly by the staff and students despite returning to help out as a reliever and continuing to coach the 1st XI Football team.

Kim first taught at Naenae College as a student teacher and fitted in well with the ethos of the department and he was subsequently offered a teaching position on qualification as a teacher in 2014. He made quick progress and completed his provisional teaching period this year and became a fully registered teacher. In his time at Naenae College, he introduced many new topics to the NCEA Level 2 Science course and achieved excellent results with all his classes.

His love of football saw him acting as assistant coach, junior coach and first team coach at the college he worked hard to improve the team and take them to their first national tournament for several years. The team have excelled under his guidance to become Youth Championship Division 3 champions this year beating St Patrick’s College in the final. All this despite the handicap of being an Arsenal supporter.

Mr Joe McMenamin

Joe started in the Naenae College Art Department in 2015 as acting Head of Department. He came with a wealth of art knowledge and good teaching techniques gathered from a variety of secondary schools in Wellington. He decided to leave at the end of 2015 to pursue his new thriving art business and also specifically his designed colouring in books which are popular with all ages. In 2016 we persuaded Joe to come back part-time to continue his work with our students, particularly in mural painting, which he is becoming well-known in the community for. Joe has been a valued member of our staff for not only the encouragement of students to do well, but also for the considerable amount of work he has done for the on-line school magazine. We wish Joe all the very best for his Art career for the future.

Mr Geoff Meadows

Geoff was Head 0f Faculty, Social Sciences when I (Johnny Zhongda) joined Naenae College. I still remember the first day I met him, like it was yesterday. I asked if I could visit the college to have a look around as the advertisement suggested and I was told that Geoff would meet me and show me around. We talked about a lot of things as we were walking the school grounds, but mostly about rugby as he was the coach for the first fifteen and I have a keen interest in rugby myself.

The first person he introduced me to was one of his really big Samoan boys who happened to be very friendly. I was very impressed with the manners and politeness of this particular boy, and this made me feel welcome at the college.

Geoff then took me to a room, famously known as the ‘Swamp’ where we continued our discussion.

Geoff is someone who likes to get things done...yesterday. He sets the example and we follow. He would often go out of his way to extend a helping hand. If ever someone needed help, you simply had to ask Geoff and he would go as far as doing some research, then get back to you and help you accomplish your goal. Most of the time when someone experienced a problem and needed Geoff to look into it, he would most probably already know about it and had often already taken the necessary steps to fix it up.

Teaching was his passion and it reflected in the ideals that he pursued, both in the classroom and outside. He taught History and Social Studies and bought these subjects to life for the students with his particular teaching style. Geoff was well liked by the teaching staff, students and the parent community. Students had the following to say about him:

“Mr. Meadows is the best teacher, he makes classes fun yet know when to put people in line and all the kids like him”. He always had time for his students and helped them to be the best they could be.

He will be sorely missed, both as a friend and a colleague. Geoff will always be remembered for his ‘Can Do Attitude”

We will also miss his famous baking skills especially those amazing cakes he would make for us!

We wish him the very best for his future endeavors as he joins NZQA from 21 November 2016.

Mr Carrone Conroy

It is with sadness that both the Science and Mathematics departments say goodbye to Mr Conroy who joined the college in January 2015 from Chilton St. James School. Mr Conroy is a charismatic and humorous teacher who always strove to create a positive classroom environment and communicated with students in a friendly and approachable manner. He is an advocate for students following a pathway that is specific to them and their passion and he would provide experiences and opportunities to help them discover this.

Although a specialist Biology teacher Mr Conroy’s skill set has seen him employed by both the Science and Mathematics departments with students who have previously found these subjects a challenge, where he has encouraged and supported students to reach new levels of understanding and attainment.

Mr Conroy has been an enthusiastic supporter and coach of the college softball team working hard to take them to a national tournament in his first year at the college where they placed 7th overall.

Mr Conroy is leaving to take up a position in a new school opening in Wellington for international students where he will help the students understand New Zealand and Maori culture as well as teach Science And Mathematics. There was never a problem that was too big for the calm and relaxed Mr Conroy, we all wish him luck for the future.