Dear Parents and Caregivers
In the panel elsewhere in the newsletter you will see details of the success of our students in the Wellington regional Rockquest. This year the competition has been a virtual one, with performances submitted electronically, so that’s been a different kind of challenge from live performances. We have unusually strong musical talent in the school and it’s great to see that recognised across the greater Wellington region. As our students move into the next phase, they are required to submit two more original works by the end of this week and that material then feeds into decisions made as to the finalists for the country. The finals revert to a live format and are in Auckland. There’s a very high standard in this competition, and we wish our students well as they do a huge amount of work to present their songs well.
Thanks to the student leaders who organised Cultural Week activities in lunchtimes last week. From the staff/student debate - we lost while trying to affirm the moot that “The school values are useless” - to the final day’s Diversity Concert this was a fun and thought-provoking series of events. The final day concert included three students each reading a passage in their heritage languages from their faith’s major text, translating what they had read out and then explaining how that extract resonated with their faiths’ larger ideas. I found that small section curiously moving, given New Zealand’s recent history and this year’s Black Lives Matter campaign, and it said powerful things about our school’s active celebration of our diversity. Thank you both to our cultural leaders and to the students who sang, danced, acted and read during the concert.
In the previous newsletter I spoke of a Pathways information evening planned for 9 September. That event is now not occurring, as we have struggled to organise the number and range of contributors just now. Our contact firms and owners tell us the pressure on them through dealing with the economic backwash of Lockdown makes the timing not right for them. We’ll plan an alternative strategy feeding into specific student demand for information, and centred on information workshops here at school.
While those workshops are aimed at the future we are also working to link with our past. This year Frances Sheriff joined our staff with part of her role being to build a different style and range of work to include our alumni in our events and activities. Her brief is to survey our ex-students and develop ways that we can build on the connections to resonate with the “celebrating our diversity” school flavour. That diversity includes across the age ranges and Frances is already tapping into a clear desire to connect in a way that allows meetings and celebrations with students from past eras of the school, especially where such events are year-group based. Such events will add to the fun within the Hutt Valley High School community.
As a sample of what is being built on, here are two pictures from a 23 July meeting of ex-students in Levin. Frances and our Archivist Judith Gardiner attended this year’s event for residents in the Otaki/Levin/Foxton area who attended Hutt Valley High School.
Those attending met up to exchange stories of their younger days at the school and have a look at the year books from the archives room. They even had Max, who attended HVHS from 1940 to 1943, call in from Australia.