Dear Parents and Caregivers
At times the generosity of our community gives me pause for reflection. It is seen in many forms, and it’s consistently an attitude that seeks to share with others, and looks to offer help across a variety of forms. Some of that is financial and there is certainly generosity in that respect. Some comes through school donations, and that continues to be a huge benefit to the school, but the financial practical help is offered across a range of fields. We’ve had families donating chromebooks for students whose family circumstances mean they cannot afford them. We have in recent months had two ex-students donate major sums to set up continuing funds where the interest each year will benefit students through into many, many years from now. Then there is the Relay for Life grand total for 2019 which is over $23,000. That’s an amazing sum and well beyond what we have achieved before. Thanks to the super efforts of our Year 13 Leaders and many other people supporting them, the Cancer Society will be able to fund the valuable work that benefits our country, and many of our own families and individuals.
We also have practical generosity in the form of fruit and vegetables donated each week by the Petone Youth and Family Trust, to offer to our community. This links to other support that from time to time ensures that some of our families who are having hard times can know that there is help here to ensure their sons and daughters eat, have uniform, and an access to sports and activities to ensure they are not shut out of wider educational opportunities through not having the means to take them up. Our guidance staff know our families and they can often make the difference in terms of working to soften crises that might otherwise derail a family and with it lose or harm a student’s education. Each time we ask for help, our community swings into action and it’s impressive.
You’ll be thinking, “He’s about to ask for money”, but not so. I’m just reflecting on what a depth of compassion there is within the Hutt Valley High School extended family, and we’re grateful for it. It aligns totally with the values the Board worked on in last year’s strategic plan exercise, where our community was very clear about who we are. The simplicity of we are kind; we are welcoming; we persevere and we achieve puts a framework around attitudes and actions that require constant vigilance, constant energy and constant commitment if we are to live the words, not merely espouse them.
We have another opportunity next week to be in that space, when on Friday 17 May we celebrate Pink Shirt Day. It is the culmination of Bullying-Free New Zealand Week, and it is a day where everyone is asked to wear a pink shirt, or if that’s not possible a pink garment to show a strong visible push for the anti-bullying message. In case you don’t know the story, the day is an international one derived from a bullying incident years ago when a student wearing a pink shirt was the target of homophobic bullying at his school in Canada and the next day a group of his friends wore pink shirts to school to support their friend and to send a message of solidarity against the bullies. World-wide the message on Friday week remains the same and I hope that our community will get busy with a day of pink on Friday 17 to celebrate what is a part of our core values. It’s not a fundraiser. The only thing it’s raising is a clear, bold and strong message that we oppose bullying in all its forms.
The other practical generosity right now is the offer by individuals to stand for election to the Board of Trustees. Notices have gone out seeking nominations for the Board, and we are keen to see a strong field, as three of our existing Board stand down. Two of those are because their children have graduated from the school and they feel it’s time to move aside for others. We’ll thank them in due course, as their final Board meeting will be in May. For those who are contemplating standing for election, thank you for your generosity in doing so. An effective Board is crucial and we look forward to the next Board extending the existing Board’s record as a real strength of the school.