Kia ora parents and whanau,
E koekoe te tūī, e ketekete te kākā, e kūkū te kererū - The tui chatters, the kaka cackles, the kereru coos
The year has definitely had its highlights but for me some of the best moments have been seeing students displaying a “can do” attitude and giving things a go even if they cannot guarantee success and being willing to be themselves and celebrate who they are and their community. I have witnessed this in a variety of ways this year, on the sports field, students performing in front of their peers, listening to the Year 13 Last Words, seeing students try new things inside and outside the classroom. This is the key to learning and growing.
We have very much enjoyed our newly renovated and enlarged Chapel, which allows us to have our whole school together for Chapel services and other events. The Whitby Hall upgrade is finished – this space has been absolutely transformed, and we are looking forward to celebrating and being able to invite our school community to events in this space next year. These projects have taken years of planning, fundraising and project management, with several key people on the Board of Proprietors driving it – without their vision and expertise, we would not have these wonderful facilities. Many people have contributed towards the fundraising for these projects and we thank you for supporting these initiatives. We plan to hold an event on Friday 2nd February where our community can come and help us celebrate our new spaces. More details will come out in the new year around this.
There is much to be optimistic about in 2024. The development of Whitby and the Chapel are finished and it is exciting to see the plans taking shape for the Technology Hub and our long awaited playground, the continued work on the curriculum refresh and Level 2 and 3 NCEA changes and looking at how we strengthen and develop our teaching and learning programmes. We have a strong group of staff who will continue to lead our curriculum enhancement and our pastoral programmes and we have a full roll, with many great new students joining us next year.
As is usual we have had a number of staff changes this year. In March we farewelled Ms Judith Turner, our Head of Social Sciences after 20 years at St Hilda’s. Mrs Brigitte Bradfield was appointed to this role and will ably lead the department. I would also like to acknowledge her role as a Dean over the last three years. Mrs Chris Gabbusch stepped in to coordinate the Learning Support programme when Ms Turner left and will continue this in 2024.
Mr Paul Ellwood retired in Term 3 and we appreciate his contributions and continued support of Kapa Haka. Miss Adelle Shea and Mr Bevan Ingram will finish at the end of the year and we are appreciative of their contributions to the Social Sciences department. Mr John Janssen is retiring at the end of this year after 23 years ably leading the Science Department which is a fantastic achievement. We have been very fortunate to have had this contribution to our school. Mrs Kathryn Baker will take up the Head of Science role in 2024, and Mr Paul Fisher will join the department to teach Science and Physics.
We also have a number of people who, while they are not leaving our school, are changing their roles. Mrs Shannon Prentice, who stepped down from her Deputy Principal – Pastoral role to undertake study in 2021, has decided to resign from this role to utilise the study she has been doing while continuing to teach part time. I would like to acknowledge the huge contribution Shannon has made in this role with her knowledge and expertise. Mrs Rachel McMillan who has taken on responsibilities in the Senior Leadership Team over the last two years is now stepping back into her Arts teaching and Deaning role. Rachel’s expertise in this area and compassion have added real value to this space. Mrs Ange Rathbone has been appointed to the position as Deputy Principal - Pastoral and will take up this role in 2024.
Mrs Carla Joint who has been sharing the role of DP Curriculum, is moving into the International Director role alongside junior technology in 2024 as I return to my Deputy Principal - Curriculum role.
Finally we are very pleased to be welcoming Jackie Barron back to St Hilda’s following her year’s secondment to the Ministry of Education. We are looking forward to having her leading our school once more.
A big thank you must go to all our staff, who have worked so hard this year to ensure our students continue to enjoy the best education. Their expertise, enthusiasm, commitment and energy have ensured a successful and productive year.
Thank you to our Board of Trustees, Board of Proprietors, and PFA for their continued assistance and enthusiasm. We are so fortunate to have their expertise and energy to call on, as each group makes their own unique contribution to the wider life of the school.
I wish you all a refreshing and relaxing summer break with whānau and friends.
"Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!" (Psalm 95:2).
Ngā mihi nui