Kyoka Summerhayes by Isla Huffadine

Meet the Prefects

Kyoka Summerhayes - Sacristan

Previous to my years before moving to St Hilda's, I’ve spent my very young days growing up in the big cities of Tokyo and Canberra, while holding a mixed racial background. The thought of rounding up to a small country with no family connections whatsoever seemed awfully daunting to me, however moving here tp St Hilda's has taught me different varieties of strength, passion and confidence within our school’s community while accepting to be ourselves. This has made me into the person I am today, even if it means eating pineapples on top of pizzas, or wearing shoes indoors!

Some of the key highlights I have experienced during my years while attending St Hilda's would have to be, taking part in the Climate Strike, Hiphop Regionals and Nationals (2019-2020 in Queenstown and Wellington) and also qualifying for SISS Satellite Tournament in Christchurch for Volleyball. St Hilda's has offered me a taste with all sorts of opportunities in the sports, arts and academic culture, that I am truly grateful for and that will benefit me to flourish with my interests later take in life.

Creating new friendships in our school community and settling into the systems of meeting new girls at the beginning of each year, has made it comforting and peaceful with the extracurricular activities and clubs we have to offer. Taking part in these, especially during my years as a Junior, helped me to develop my interests further and allowed me to take part in extraordinary events. So far I have participated in the Environmental Committee, Well-being Committee, Volunteering Club, Hip-Hop, Tennis, Volleyball, and favourably the Chapel Committee (which I’m now privileged to take part in by leading with Georgia Copeman and Dr. Townsley). It allows us to meet new friends in different age groups, while also having the awesome choices and opportunities to take part in our weekly Chapels. This can be with carrying in candles or filling in placements when the Head girl, Deputy Head girl or Sacristans aren’t able to attend. It’s one of the ways that has helped me to grow in confidence, while creating a powerful sisterly bond and also further connecting within the school.

The learning experiences here at St Hilda's have been unbelievably helpful, with the support of staff we have. Throughout, I have been taught many useful skills with the expert and caring guidance that the teachers here provide. This ensures that each student is comfortable with their own unique passion of learning. Subjects that I have immensely enjoyed are English, Art, Accounting, Music and Japanese, all of which have been encouraged by my peers and the staff in such a careful and nurturing environment.

As Japan is my second native home, with New Zealand being my first, it was easy to feel homesick at times, leading me to want to book a flight back to Tokyo. My bank statement though, may have shown me that those choices have not been possible until I somehow find a job during the summer holidays. However, with the restrictions of COVID-19 entering our lives, this choice of flying has made it increasingly difficult. I thought, as a way to still connect with my culture I could carry out learning the language of Japanese (which I could then sustain throughout my whole life). However, the thought of this decision seemed awfully silly at the time, considering it came from a girl who couldn't write any of the three alphabets and whose only communication of the language is with her mother. That was until I learnt that St Hilda's was able to provide an opportunity to allow me to learn through a correspondence course, providing teaching skills that are also available with many other subjects. Without having a physical teacher face to face, or classmates, it seemed like a challenging factor. Yet with the weekly checkups and encouragement from teachers, it has been extremely reassuring that I am not on my own and it has taught me independence and responsibilities in regard to learning.

A great asset about St Hilda's is that, although our school is smaller compared to the many others across New Zealand, it helps students to connect and develop new friendships to create a sisterly bond unlike any other. Being a young woman in our generation today has not only set our paths to be difficult, but increasingly challenging. This is why coming to a strong-willed all-girls school, where not only do the staff and students teach us the importance of independence and self-determination, but about having pride in who you are as an individual.

I’ve had the amazing opportunity to be given the role of prefect, alongside with my awesome partner in crime, Georgia Copeman, and our lovely mentor Dr Townsley. Although we are already halfway through the final year, I’m excited with the ideas we have as a perfect team for the future year ahead. The strength and confidence I have gained coming into this role, has taught me a lot of useful skills. As well as carrying out the leadership for the school’s special character community, which has been challenging, but an intensively exciting experience.

I’ve learned a lot since coming to St Hilda's, and can say that I am truly grateful and privileged for the experiences I’ve adapted to, which I will carry throughout my life. I’m still unsure of what my future will ultimately look like beyond school. However, it's safe to say that the incredible journeys I’ve had and the many opportunities St Hilda's has provided for me will be something I will forever cherish.