At a meeting recently, I had the opportunity to hear Sir Ray Avery speak about his life story and his ongoing quest to make the world a better place. Many of you would remember him as New Zealander of the Year in 2010 and being knighted in 2011 for his work on intraocular lenses, improving intravenous drips, galvanising action around infant nutrition and improving the designs of incubators to make them more effective for challenging conditions. He has published two books, his bestselling autobiography Rebel with a Cause and The Power of Us which celebrates New Zealanders who dare to dream. Most powerful was hearing his story of extremely challenging beginnings, living on the streets as a thirteen year old after years of being in orphanages, and hanging out in public libraries and museums to keep warm, and educate himself. A prominent theme in his life is making the most of every moment, being aware of exactly how many hours he likely has left and squeezing the most out of every one. Closely linked to this was his absolute belief in having a plan and implementing it, daring to dream and have very high aspirations.
This is a very appropriate theme for this time of the year. Having just past the mid-point of the term, it continues to be important for all of us to make the most of what remains of the year and finish in the strongest possible position. For our Year 11, 12 and 13 students, this will include an urgent focus on their NCEA qualifications.
Thank you to all whānau who were able to attend the two recent Parent-Teacher Interview sessions this term. We value these discussions to ensure that we continue to work together to support your students achieving their potential. Teachers are currently completing Year 11, 12 and 13 reports after the recent assessment week and I strongly encourage our students to follow the suggestions and feedback with both their upcoming assessment opportunities and practice examinations. If you were not able to attend please know that you are welcome and encouraged to make an appointment to meet with the teachers who work with your student at any time.
It has also been very positive to see so many students making the most of the practice examinations and other assessment opportunities over the last two weeks. This is invaluable experience for what the external examinations will be like. For many of our students, the examinations are the final piece of the NCEA journey, confirming their qualifications and ensuring that they finish their courses with the Merit and Excellence endorsements that they are striving for. I therefore strongly encourage our students to use every opportunity to have those conversations with their teachers, make the most of the tutorials and support lessons that are now being offered, and to have a study plan in place. If you do not yet have a study plan, now is a perfect time to get one sorted!
Thank you also for your support of our NCEA Focus Day. This is an important check point for us. All Year 11, 12 and 13 students will be checking their entries for both internal and external standards, as well as making the most of the additional courses, tutorials, catch-up assessment opportunities and workshops being offered by staff on the day.
It continues to be very busy and successful time at school. One of the highlights was Hauora Week which was very vibrant, positive event that most students and staff enthusiastically got involved in. There were some exceptional outfits on all four of the theme days and the student-run assemblies were a highlight at the start of each day. This event effectively set a very positive tone for the rest of the term. I am deeply grateful for all the hard work that the Senior Student Executive and the Waka Leaders invested in this, with the support our Year 13 Dean, Rachel Smith. I believe that this again just goes to show what is possible when our students are entrusted with high level leadership, organisation and responsibility. Sometimes as teachers the best thing we can do to ensure great things happen is just to step out of the way!
It has also been so inspiring to see so many of our students succeeding in their respective interests, aspirations, pursuits and passions. Whether it has been productions, swimming, dance, team sports, individual sports or social action groups, it all contributes invaluably to the atmosphere of our school. We know that this would not be possible without the team of people who support, so a huge ‘shout out’ to all of you, staff and community, who make these opportunities happen. You are awesome!
On that note, I would like to again acknowledge the very generous support that we get from our community to support our teams and groups at Tauhara College. I am very mindful of how fortunate we are as a school that so many people are involved in making these sporting opportunities possible for our students. We have just concluded another very successful winter sporting season. Overall our students have been very successful with some outstanding individual and team performances. As with every year this illustrates the attitude and commitment of our students. It has been very exciting to see and hear of their successes. There is also no doubt that being involved in a sport continues to be one of the most effective ways of ensuring healthy friendships and peer interactions, resilience and positive emotional responses. The same applies to being involved in cultural and artistic pursuits.
And on that note I’d like to finish with what Sir Ray Avery says is the best advice he was ever given:“Don’t surround yourself with people of bad character or you will become like them. Surround yourself with good inspirational and innovative people.”
That advice has been around for a while, but still holds true now as much as it ever has.
Thank you again for your support of our school and all the very best for the rest of the term.