by Sharon Bennett

Note from the Rector

Your school remains in good heart, with our students continuing to achieve highly academically and in extra-curricular activities.

Wairua Puho, our combined OBHS/OGHS Kapa Haka group has once again qualified for the National Finals, only the second time in the school's history that we can say that. The profile of our Maori students is important, they remain a real strength of the school. I am pleased to say that their profile has also grown, it is important that we remember that as a school we have a responsibility to promote and advocate for this group of students to ensure New Zealand has a bright future.

Academically our Level 3 and University Entrance results were boosted through strong teacher practice and effective and supportive data initiatives. This area has been a work on for some time, now the challenge is to be consistent in our progress. In scholarships our 23 passes is our best yet and maintains the generally upward trend. As a school we are pleased with the academic results, none more so than in the statistic that our boys outperform all boys in co-educational schools across Otago. This fundamentally speaks to the reason single sex education is so important.

Recently Ben Mason (Year 13) returned from competing in the Junior World Rowing Champs in Tokyo. Ben's 6th placing in the quadruple sculls was a fantastic effort and puts him squarely in the frame to follow in Hamish Bond's footsteps. Jack Divers (Year 13)  competed in the World Junior Triathlon Championships in Switzerland. Hunter Walker (Yr 13 - Curling) and Logan Whitty (Year 12 - Refereeing) are also 2019 National representatives in sport.

The 2018 introduction of a Sports Council and the employment of Craig Cumming (Timaru BHS); has certainly improved the organisation and support of staff who take sports teams. I am very proud to say that Otago as a province and OBHS in particular score highly for both participation, excellence and staff involvement in extra curricular activities. We need that to remain so.

In music, Boudewjin Keenan (Year 11) remains in the National Youth Orchestra, and our school choir recently was awarded a distinction at the South Island Championships. Jack Fisher (Year 13) remains in the National Youth Choir. The school's  production, Hairspray was again another success playing to full houses each night. This area of the school remains strong.

This term the Education Review Office visited the school and while I do not have the finalised report, they did indicate strongly to us that the school is progressing well, that students are known, taught well and cared about and that the community is involved in the life of the school. Something that brings me great peace of mind, we are above the city, but we are of the city.

Constant pressures remain around funding. Simply put, the school needs development and the Ministry of Education does not provide the funding required to maintain and develop what we need. I remain extremely grateful to the work of the Foundation, and the Old Boys' Society which are both essential and vital to have in the development of an OB's boy.

The Hostel car park, which I am now very pleased to say has been approved by the DCC is the first priority. The Foundation has generously contributed to this project and I look forward to very shortly going out to tender and the final push for the remaining funds will commence. This remains our main fundraising focus.

The strategic development of the Foundation has also been another success this year. Organised by Russell Marsh (1981-85,) and facilitated by Geoff Henley, this planning event has been followed up by a further meeting and the creation of action points by the group. This leads me to be more optimistic about the development of the Foundation to fit the purpose that it was designed for.

I want to last, but certainly not least, thank the current active members for their contributions to their old school. New Zealand as a country is supportive of those who strive to improve the lot of others and I cannot think of a more deserving group than the young men of Otago Boys' High School.

Recti Cultus Pectora Roborant.