Hero photograph
Photo by Cheree Henderson

Principal's Report

Ms L Miller, Principal —

What a wonderful week of celebrations we have had! On Monday we congratulated our Junior Sports, Cultural, and Scholar Blues and Awards recipients at a ceremony held in the school hall with all Year 9 and 10 students. A large number of students were recognised, including four students who were awarded Blues - something that is quite special for students in Year 9 and 10. It is the turn of senior students next week.

On Tuesday morning we held a ceremony to unveil the 150th sculpture, something that was to have taken place during the 150th Jubilee celebrations. Thank you to all who made this possible, especially sculptor Helen Pollock, Jane Smallfield and the rest of the 150th Jubilee Committee, and the many organisations and individuals who donated money. A time capsule was also buried in the school grounds. See the article in this newsletter for more details on this event.

On Tuesday afternoon we held the first of two Celebration Services. The first was for students in Years 11, 12 and 13. While we missed the ambiance of Knox Church, we still managed to hold a ceremony that was filled with music and words reflecting our theme of “This is who we are”. The aim was to reflect and celebrate the diversity of our school community. For the first time we had our Arabic and Farsi speaking students perform, joining Wairua Pūhou (OBs and OGs kapa haka group), and Teine Mai le Moana (our Pasifika performance group). The Jazz Band, and choir also performed, as did three students who had been involved in the Creatives in Schools programme. This involved students working with professional musician Abby Wolf, who mentored a number of students through all the steps of creating, performing and promoting their music. The results were stunning, with “New Step Parents” (Emily Esplin and Lily Hamblin) and Dominique McShain displaying their talent in performing their own compositions. Our Speechfest winners did a fabulous job of the readings. As always it was the Year 13 Medley that stole the show, with the Year 13s having the opportunity to perform it across two events, rather than the usual one. At each performance an encore was executed, with rousing haka provided in response by the audience.

Today is Parihaka Day. This day commemorates the events that led to prisoners from Taranaki working as slave labour to carry out works projects here in Dunedin. In recognition of these men and the role they played in this area, a block of Blackhead basalt has been installed in our grounds with a plaque outlining its significance. This was the initiative of our Māori Student Council, led this year by Gabby Liddell.

Students in Years 9 and 10 have been sitting examinations this week. These provide a snapshot of students’ learning and practice for future academic examinations.

As we begin the countdown to NCEA and the end of the year it is important that students have a good grasp of what they need in the way of academic achievement to prepare them for their future goals. If you have any questions or concerns about how your child is doing, please contact the school. Additional learning opportunities will be provided throughout the examination period for those students requiring additional support.

At the Board meeting last night the Board voted unanimously to have the vaccination bus operate from the school. Once we have dates confirmed for this we will notify you. A form for students to record their vaccination status will be coming out next week.