“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Dear Parents, caregivers and friends of St Hilda’s,
2020 will be long remembered as a year of challenge, change and uncertainty, but also one of recalibration, reflection and opportunities for growth.
As a school community we have adapted our practices and adjusted to new ways of teaching and learning – whether it be on line learning, meeting by Zoom, organizing events and functions for several Alert levels, or just ensuring that the sports, cultural and academic events that are so much part of the fabric of the school were able to continue in some shape or form.
It has been an unusual year, but still a strangely rewarding one. To be able to continue working with students on line, to host some of the traditional school events, and have students leave well prepared for external examinations has been hugely satisfying and given us all a sense of the strength of our school community and the commitment we share to a quality and relevant education.
Despite squashed timelines, reduced competitions, postponed events and scaled back activities, our students have continued to give their best in a wide range of endeavours, and some of the highlights of the year are as follows:
· Lily Knox, as part of the Year 11 Digital Technologies programme, was the New Zealand Winner of the Adobe Certified Associate Championship for her website design entry.
· A raft of awards were won by Year 8 students at the 2020 Otago Regional Science and Technology Fair. (Liesal Tolson, molly Wagner, Olivia Simmons, ruby Simmons, Ruby Goodchild, Sophie Barker, Sophie Lloyd, Alex Barkman, Estee Farrow and Kyla Ashton)
· Shreya Das, Imogen Keeling, Eliabel Legrand, Evie-Rose Grace and Peta Ericsson were selected to participate in the GirlBoss Edge Engineering and Technology Programme.
· Year 10's, Zara Geddes, Elsie Burnside and Ava Beens won the 2020 Dunedin Schools Junior Debating title.
· Evie Rose Grace, working with others from Mexico, Egypt and the USA won the New York Junior Science Academy Sustainable Transport Chain Challenge.
· Our rowing squad is affiliated with North End Rowing Club who held their Prize Giving in July. Members of the SHCS rowing squad received the following awards:
Christy Foster (Woman Club Members of the Year)
Hannah Lawrence (Coxswain of the Year)
Kate Beaton (Most Improved Sculler)
Sophie Smith (Club Aggregate)
Lucy Wright (Junior top Erg time)
· Maggie Dowling became the New Zealand Junior Women's Luge Champion winning all of her six races at the Champs.
· The Rugby 7's finals took place in July with our Year 9 team finishing 3rd, our two senior teams finishing 2nd and 3rd and our three Year 10 teams taking out 1st, 2nd and 3rd!
· Otago Short Course Swimming Champs – 5 of our students won medals including Jess Scott who won 4 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medal as well as breaking 2 Otago records.
· Otago Secondary School Cross Country Champs – Billie Crowe was first in the Under 14 Girls, Zara Geddes was first and Anna Carswell was third in the Under 15 Girls event, and Megan foster was second in the Under 19 Girls 4km race.
· Tessa (McConachie) and Amelia (Kirk) placed first in the female section of the competition and fifth overall in the South Island Secondary Schools Climbing Completion in Christchurch.
· The start of Term 3 saw the rugby teams wrap up their 7s competition, with all teams playing off in the top four for each grade. This saw St Hilda’s take away multiple titles in the Junior A grade, with our three Year 10 teams taking out first, second and third, and our Year 9 team placing third in the Junior B grade. In the Senior A grade, St Hilda’s 1 placed second and St Hilda’s 2 placed fourth.
· The NZCAF Aerobics Nationals for 2020 were held in Dunedin with some incredible individual results and St Hilda's winning the highest scoring school for a 5th consecutive year. Trinity Maddon was also placed 3rd in the Fiscaf Senior Women’s section.
· 2020 Otago Primary & Intermediate Triathlon Champs saw Charlotte Aburn take 1st place in the Year 7 Girls Individual and Jessica Hanna was 4th. Our Year 7 team with Gabrielle La Hood running, Alice Graham biking and Michelle Coleman swimming, came 3rd. Kyla Ashton won the Year 8 girls individual.
· Poppy Kirk competed in the National Secondary School Weightlifting Competition over the last term and finished 3rd in her weight category 71kg.
· Our SHCS Clay Trap Shooting team, participated in the SISS Champs and National Clay Championships. Analee Toro won the Ladies Point Score, then went on to win the national title for the Fish and Game Individual Trophy for Girls HOA (High Over All).
· Many of our students have been selected to represent Otago for Touch Rugby.
· Breane Byck was part of the the U18 Dunedin Thunder Ice Hockey Team which took Silver at Nationals.
· Lucie Holtz (Year 11) competed at the New Zealand National Figure SkatingChampionships with her dance partner ,competed in the Advanced Novice grade in Ice Dance winning the gold medal.
· Sarah Langsbury and Annie Timu were selected into the Otago Academy of Sport.
· Our Senior A Team were winners of the Otago Southland Netball Champs and our 10A team won the Junior Otago Champs with the 9A Team placing 3rd.
· First XI Football finished 1st in Division 1 of the Dunedin Secondary School Competition and 1st at the school’s Winter Quad Tournament.
· First XI and 2nd XI Hockey finished 1st in Divisions 1 and 2 of the Dunedin Secondary School Champs.
· Tennis team: Charlie Byers, Mya Haigh, Amelia Newlands and Claudia Christie finished 3rd at the Tennis SISS.
· Our experienced curlers – Danielle Bain, Charlotte Hutton-Atkins, Ruby Kinney and Anna Clarke finished 2nd at SISS.
· Zara Geddes (Yr 10) was successful in winning the South island Cross Country Champs in Christchurch to become the 2020 Under 16 Girls South island Cross Country Champion.
· Olivia Buchanan-Letts won a South Island Championship Highland Dance competition in Ashburton in July.
· The prestigious NEWZATS Aparima Awards in classical singing were held in August. In the Year 11-13 section Lily Hornal was placed 3rd, Amelie Warlow won the Year 9 – 10 section, while Evie-Rose Grace gained a 3rd and Lucy Appleton was placed second in the Year 7-8 section.
· Imogen Irvine was awarded Best overall design and Shreya Das was awarded Most Imaginative Reimagined scene at the annual Shakespeare Festival.
· Congratulations to the St Hilda’s band, Fire Escape, for winning the ZM Best Song Award in the Otago region of Rockquest for their song “Staying Afloat”! The band consists of Darcia Heath (drums), Madaline Homer (guitar), Thanuja Luxmanan (vocals), Katie Moore (bass), Lydia Tumaru (keyboard). The band also had input from Holly Hesson and previous student Olivia Aide.
· Over 70 Aerobics and Hip Hop crews) competed at the NZCAF Regional Hip Hop & Aerobics competition in August with a slew of placings across both disciplines.
· Georgie Jessop was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for the Otago Polytechnic Celebrate Art Competition, and Charlotte Reveley who was awarded the overall winner!
· Eliabel Legrand and Evie Rose Grace, who have been selected for an Otago Museum STEMDigital Exhibition, 100 Women 100 Words. The exhibition is due to run from December 5 to February 13, 2021.
· Sarah Lee auditioned and was accepted for the Opera Otago production this year for 'Suor Angelica’.
Our staff have continued to be their best selves in trying times. They have been flexible, moving on line and embracing new methodologies, working in innovative ways and assisting students to engage and progress. They have modelled resilience and compassion for their students and I acknowledge and value their efforts. We have also had staff leave this year and in July we farewelled Geraldine Corkery after 22 years as Deputy Principal. Ms Corkery has agreed to stay on to assist us with the archives. Lindsay McLanahan and Hannah Coutts took maternity leave half way through the year, Nadia Ruiz has assisted in the languages department and I thank her for her work in Spanish filling a maternity leave position this year. Katie Mangai is leaving her role as Arts Coordinator to pursue her own design dream and Alan West resigned in September after leading the PE and Health department for 8 years.
The work ethic, dedication and enthusiasm the Senior Leadership team have brought to each of their roles has been impressive this year. I would like to thank Judy Maw, Shannon Prentice, Geraldine Corkery (Term 1&2) and Helen Almey (Term 3&4) for their adaptability, innovative thinking, perseverance and combined wisdom. They lead with energy and integrity.
Ange Rathbone and her team at Tolcarne continue to offer world class care and guidance for our boarders, and their families. A thriving hostel, with a superb team who ensure a positive and nurturing environment, Tolcarne continues to lead the way in the care for teenage girls, and the numbers who applied this year are testament to that.
I would also like to acknowledge two extraordinary groups of people, The Board of Trustees and the Board of Proprietor’s who are bold, dedicated to the school and unwavering in their commitment to best practice. The renovation of the staffroom facilities, the continued planning for the Chapel and Whitby upgrade and the Boards vision for the future are tangible evidence of their passion for the school and its future development. I am incredibly grateful to Joc Kinney and Lauren Semple and the Boards they lead, for their vision, trust and understanding this year.
To our PFA, and friends of the school. Your patronage, positive energy and enthusiasm have lifted us all this year, and while the school Fair seems like a century ago, we were so lucky to be able to have it at all. We are so grateful for your continued contribution to St Hilda’s
A huge thank you to our families, friends of the school and our wider community. You have been part of an extraordinary year, and our relationship with the Cathedral, Anglican Family Care, and other community groups underpins our ethos of “Better Together” and our service to others. 2020 has been an interesting year, and we look ahead to 2021 with real excitement and anticipation – Bring it on.
The 125th celebrations in March next year will be a highlight for the school. Our old girls will be especially important, as we strengthen the connections across the decades and share the memories, highlights, and friendships that are an integral lasting legacy of this school and its community. We look forward to sharing this very special time with all of you. Old girls, staff, Board members, families, current students – we are small links in a chain of empowerment for women that stretches across two centuries and it will be wonderful to celebrate together.
I wish you all the blessings of Christmas, and hope you get time to reflect, rejuvenate and enjoy time with family and friends.
“Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – John Wooden