December 2020 Newsletter by PNBHS

From the Rector

The recent Junior Prizegiving, forced upon us because of the changes to the school year, gave us the opportunity to recognise the achievements of the young men in Years 9 and 10.

Due to the nature of the core classes in the junior school, the first in form class awards enable young men of a range of abilities to be rewarded for their hard work throughout the year.

Many young men will have come close to receiving an award, and more still will have worked as well as they could have and will have achieved success. While the everyone-should-win-a-prize brigade would have it differently, not everyone can win; not everyone can come first. Charles Sykes, whose ‘Rules for Life’ have famously been misattributed to Bill Gates, says “life does involve competition, with winners and losers” although some have sought to protect young people from failure and competition “lest anyone’s feelings get hurt”. The ensuing discussion of the last point makes for entertaining reading.

It has been an interesting year, and in this, the last newsletter for 2020, it is appropriate that we look back at the school year. In this vein, the following extracts come from my address at the Junior Prizegiving:

“Some continue to use Covid as an excuse, and some have reacted poorly while looking to blame external factors for their own failures or shortcomings in effort and behaviour. Others have rolled their sleeves up and got on with it. There has been a growing trend in recent times to blame everyone but oneself for poor behaviour, a failure to take responsibility for one’s own actions. We have even seen that from some parents who make excuses for their son’s conduct.

You have heard me speak a few times this year about the philosophy of the Stoics and the dichotomy of control: how what happens to us is often not under our control, never completely up to us, but our own thoughts and actions, and reactions, are. Many of you in here have responded so positively to the challenges this year has brought, others not so.

We did, as a school, miss out on a few things this year but we just had to roll with the punches, as often happens in life. It is a shame that this year’s Year 9 had missed out on one of the most important traditions of the school – our ANZAC Service, an important part of the school year since 1916.

Tradition, as Gustav Mahler once said, “is not the worship of ashes, it is the preservation of fire”. That is why we place such importance on our relationship with schools with whom we have had a relationship for, in some cases, more than a century – our brother schools.

While watching something recently on the Netflix, a new thing on my television, I heard the following about tradition which I rather liked:

So much about life is about leaps into the unknown. Tradition is a road map from those who have leapt before. Sometimes the road you need isn’t on any map. Sometimes you have to carve your own path. For some people, tradition is a path to glory. For others, it’s peer pressure from dead people. At the heart of every tradition there is a lesson, something that our ancestors wanted us to know. Most seek to guide us away from the dangers of the world, for the world is a scary and unpredictable place. But some serve a different purpose; a deeper purpose: those traditions remind us that while we may be mortal, we cannot live in fear.

Every single one of you in here is part of our tradition, part of our history. From the moment you put on our school uniform for the first time you became part of something bigger than just a school, gentlemen. You are part of 118 years of Palmy Boys’.

So, for those of you who haven’t had such a good year, next year is your chance to right the ship, so to speak. For the majority of you who went well, boys, keep going: Citius, Altius, Fortius”.

All the best for the coming break and have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year.

Staffing 2021

Mr. Jack Siebert has been appointed as Head of the English Department. At this stage, we are fully staffed for 2021.

Enrolments 2021

The Year 9 intake for 2021 is nearing 400, the biggest for some time. The school roll at the beginning of next year promises to be high as the number of in-zone enrolments at other year levels continues to grow apace.

D M Bovey


Recent Student Achievement and Other News:

· NCEA Examinations – these will continue until Wednesday 9 December.

· Boxing – 14 finals were held across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior divisions, with Ben Sefo winning the Watchorn Cup for Senior Champion.

· Current Events/Road Race – the Junior Road Race was held the same day as the Current Event Quiz. In the Year 10 Race, Reuben Duker won, followed by Thomas Duncan and Lucas Reed. In Year 9, Cooper Furnell won, with Charlie Hook second and Jonty Giesen third.

· Year 9 Reading Challenge – presentations were made to the young men in Year 9 who had read more than 15 books during the year, with Jayden Millbank (60) and Scott Du (63) winning gold awards.

· Cricket – the Third Form Specials lost to Napier BHS Colts and beat Havelock North HS Colts at the junior tournament in Hawke’s Bay, before the third day was washed out.

· Volleyball – the Junior A team finished 12th at the NISS tournament, with five wins from nine games, including a win over eventual winners Tauranga BC in pool play.

· Badminton – the Junior A team won the Central Regions junior tournament in Wellington. The team drew 3-3 with top seeds Wellington College in the final before winning on countback.

· Cricket – the Fourth Form Specials beat Feilding HS 1st XI in the final of the McVicar Cup.

· Water polo – the Junior A team finished third in the NISS tournament in Auckland. They beat Auckland champions (and eventual tournament winners) Sacred Heart 10-4 in pool play.

· STEM – VJ Tauli, Vincent Patelesio, Telson Liuvaie, Lawrence Leung-Wai, Christian Alefaio and Hugo Liuvaie were award winners at the recent Amanaki STEM Academy awards.

· Cricket – Team Patel beat Team Small by 28 runs in the final of the 2020 Cake League competition.

Meri Kirihimete | Merry Christmas — Image by: PNBHS