Principal's Comment 18 November

Year 9 camps are finished - here is a brief summary from Bernard Beckett.  One of the teachers who helped make camp happen.

Over the last two weeks nearly 300 of our Year 9 students took part in school camps, which is to say they kayaked, tramped, pitched tents, roasted marshmallows, told stories, slept fitfully, undertook a series of happily foolish group challenges and generally enjoyed one another and a little of this country’s bucolic splendour.  These days bring out the very best in our students; we get to see their generosity, enthusiasm, kindness and resilience.  It’s education at its best.  Doubtless these students will take with them stories to be retold many times and, hopefully, will be left with a greater appreciation of our natural environment, along with a new desire to explore it.  Thanks to the camp organiser, Esther Cardwell, and all the others who went the extra mile to make this possible. (Bernard Beckett)

Here is what our students felt about the experience. Thanks to Hazel Devenport and Emmy Nickel for the following report:

There was excitement in the air as we waited for the bus and the adventure to come.  We all piled into the double decker bus, ready for the journey to begin.  At Days Bay, our class began with kayaking. The sun was shining; it was the start of a great day. There were double and single kayaks, but either way, everyone had a great experience.  Before our walk, we were educated about Wellington’s trapping system to protect native birds.  The walk was steep and challenging, however, everyone supported each other and enjoyed it.

After lunch, we bussed to Kaitoke Regional Park, where we immediately started setting up our tents and gear for the coming night and day.  Most of us took the opportunity to go swimming in the beautiful clear river.  Despite the cold water, everyone had good attitudes and went for a dip.  A bunch of helpful students became chefs and cooked the delicious dinner that we all enjoyed.  When the sun set, we gathered by the river and toasted marshmallows over the fire, sharing scary stories. We’ll never look at purple monkeys the same way again.  Although the winds were rough at night, we were all snug as bugs and hyped for the next day of fun.

We were introduced to Day Two’s activities: The Survivor Challenge.  We were split into three tribes within our mentor classes and faced fierce challenges that bonded us as a group.  Everyone worked together to look for the immunity idol, earn spots in the final rounds, and to succeed in a variety of tasks.  The winner now has bragging rights, not just because they came out on top, but because they had the most supportive tribe helping them succeed.

Camp was the perfect opportunity to embrace the outdoors and have an enjoyable bonding experience for the Year 9s.

Camps, trips, sports teams, drama productions, rock bands, overseas trips, service events, tutorials, subject competitions and all those other “added extras’ are called co-curricular activities.  These activities are not compulsory and in many schools they do not happen.  We want our students to have these wonderful experiences and are lucky to have a large group of staff who volunteer to lead, organise and give up their free time to make them happen.  Staff rarely receive financial gain - they do what they do because they love it, they are kind and they enjoy seeing students thrive in these real-life authentic learning experiences.  Students please take the time to thank the staff members who have given you these wonderful opportunities this year.

Learning Conversations are coming up.  Students will begin their preparation this week by starting to collect examples of work of which they are very proud.  This could be creative writing, video of a performance, a painting or anything from your year at school.  More information on how to book is included in this newsletter and has been emailed to families.


Denise Johnson

Acting Principal