Dear Parents and Caregivers,
“As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.”
– Joseph B. Wirthlin
As we look back on 2021 we can reflect on a year that has given so many opportunities in amongst the challenges, uncertainty and anxiety about the future.
It has been a mixed bag 2021- we started the year with our 125th celebrations. A fabulous weekend of memories, shared stories, gratitude for life long friends and a great education. We were lucky enough to have some winter and summer sport, our wonderful production “Footloose”, our Formal, winter quad, St Hilda’s Day, our Open Days and some solid and engaging teaching and learning. We progressed our strategic goals around the Wellbeing framework, the 7-11 Curriculum, Assessment for Learning and our facilities.
Small consolations I know, but in these uncertain times I think we can hold on to the positives and be grateful for our families, friends, colleagues and community. That, surely will help us in the months ahead.
I am also acutely aware that 2022 could be a messy and uncertain year too – and as a learning community we will navigate our way through that as well. As a staff we have put considerable time and thought into planning for all the traffic light levels, and I can assure you that we will be following the guidelines of the Ministries of Health and Education, to ensure our high standard of education continues in the safest environment possible.
We are aware that the edicts by the Dunedin City Council, Edgar Centre, NZ School Sports and other bodies last week could potentially impact on our school programme and we are investigating our options. We have sought advice from the Ministry of Education who confirm that they cannot influence these decisions. This is a fast changing space and the governing bodies are able to determine what their requirements will be.
The free access to education sits on the school site or in other activities that do not require a Vaccine Pass, but outside providers are able to determine their own settings. Unfortunately this is out of our control and we await more guidance and information from the Ministry. Hopefully there will be some clarity in the new year.
Regardless of what 2022 brings I know I am incredibly privileged to work with an extraordinary group of staff at this school and at Tolcarne. Passionate, hard working, innovative, flexible, they have faced the challenges of this year as they face any other challenge, with open minds, an eye for improvement, collegiality and humour. The quality of the care, administration, support and teaching has not suffered because of lock down or changed dates and timelines – these people are empathetic, well organized, resilient and have a “Can do” attitude – and on your behalf I thank them.
We have also had staff leave this year and we farewelled Mr Rosenberg after 25 years commitment to St Hilda’s. Mrs Coutts took maternity leave last year and has since resigned from her position as PE and health teacher. Mrs Grant has been on maternity leave and we thank Ms Harpur and Mrs McNatty who have taken on her classes and responsibilities. We farewell Mrs Bouffard from the library, as she moves to Wellington with her family, Ms Beaumont will be finishing in the International Department and also Mrs McMahon who after five years at St Hilda’s is stepping back from the business of leading a department to spend more time with her family.
Mr Patchett is taking a year’s refreshment leave and will be back in 2023. Mrs Prentice is stepping down from her Deputy Principal – Pastoral role to undertake some study, and will continue teaching part time. Mrs McMillan will move into her responsibilities in the Senior Leadership Team and Ms Turner will coordinate the Learning Support programme. We are very fortunate to have such capable staff to step into these short term vacancies
I am also very thankful to two hard working groups of people, The Board of Trustees and the Board of Proprietor’s who are committed and visionary and who work so hard on the school’s behalf. They have been unwavering in their service to the school, and to ensuring a bright and exciting future for all our staff and students. I am exceptionally grateful to Joc Kinney, Richard Hutchens and Lauren Semple, who finished as Board of Trustees Chair in April, and the Boards they lead, for their dedication, trust and energy this year.
To our PFA, and friends of the school. Your patronage, enthusiasm and sheer hard work have lifted us all this year, and we remain grateful and appreciative of your continued contribution to St Hilda’s.
So I wish you all the best for a refreshing summer with family and friends, all the blessings of Christmas and to have time to reflect on all you enjoyed in 2021, knowing that we have the community, strength and faith to thrive in 2022.
“I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength.”
— Philippians 4:13
Nga mihi nui