Principal's Comment - 2 August

Welcome to Term 3.

Outside the resumption of the classroom programmes, the early days of this term have been a combination of completing student subject options for 2020, finalising Year 9 2020 out of zone applications and beyond that, hearing great news of student successes. 

To deal with 2020 first: the deans have been going through the huge task of an individual interview with each student in their cohorts, discussing their aspirations and ensuring that their chosen courses lead in a sensible direction for their goals.  It’s a big task, and as it sits alongside their regular work, it creates probably the busiest phase of a dean’s year.  I want to thank them for the way they have undertaken a completely unreasonable workload.  By the end of this week we will be starting to shape the staffing puzzle for next year.  Each year it is different, as we take the students’ preferred courses and then make our structure match that, rather than begin with a structure into which students’ preferences must fit.  There are some limitations on our model: specialist rooming determines maxima in some instances, but we usually manage to meet the needs as identified by the options students choose. 

For next year’s Year 9 we are anticipating a large group; the Ministry advised us two years ago that a “bulge” year was in the primary and intermediate system, and due to arrive with us in 2020.  We have planned accordingly, keeping our roll down slightly this year so that our overall size remains manageable next year.  In-zone applicants are all accepted, of course.  We have just over 80 out-of-zone Year 9 applications for 2020, but will most likely only accept siblings of students already at school (so that we don’t split families across schools).  That remains to be confirmed, but I think it fair to indicate our current expectations, as there is a great deal of parent/caregiver and student stress associated with whether individuals can get in to school for the 2020 Year 9 group.   

Meanwhile, as mentioned, we’ve had some great news about students succeeding.  At the recent Entrepreneurs in Action business competition, participants were chosen from over 4000 participants in the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme. Of those, 207 applied for the EIA event with the top 80 selected from across New Zealand.  Each of the 80 selected won a $1000 scholarship from Massey University.  The winning team members were then awarded a trip to South America to study local culture and business.  A few other individuals were also awarded trips to make up a total of 16 students from around the country winning a travel scholarship.  Congratulations to Sithmi NMS Hewage 13FX, who was selected for a trip to South America, as well as winning her $1000 Massey University award.  Congratulations to Maia Baron 13FX, whose team - hosted by local company Uprise Digital - won both the competition’s business challenges, winning each member a total of $7,000 in scholarships from Massey University and a trip to study local culture and business in Chile.  The Social Sciences Learning Area and Business Studies in particular will be thrilled to have their students winning two of only 16 awards given to students across New Zealand.

Social Sciences - this time, Geography - also had a good evening at the Year 11 Inter-School Geography Competition at Victoria University on Wednesday evening.  Our two teams placed first (Charlotte Leach 11KI; Zoey Kung 11KI and Jemma Allwood 11WO) and third (Grace Kitchen 11CW; Al Fox 11AN and William Thomson 11WO).  It’s great to see the school’s academic competition thriving.  Congratulations to all the students involved.

Congratulations to “Boysenberry Astrologer” who have made it through to the top 20 national bands at Rockquest this year.  At the end of this week they find out if they are in the top 6 to take part in the finals.  As a school we have done very well in this competition in recent years, but we shouldn’t underestimate what is involved.  It takes real talent of course, but also hard work, good organisation and having a well-pitched competition selection performed well live. “Boysenberry Astrologer” are Miah Martell 13OK; Noah Watson 13FL; Joe Cheetham 13JD; Josh Hutley 13LG and George Alexopoulos 13BJ. 

Last weekend another success was at the regional Theatrefest. Theatrefest is a three stage national competition run by Theatre New Zealand, a federation of non-professional (community) theatre organisations.  The district competition involved 8 performances of 40-50 minute shows.  About half of the entries were schools with the others being Repertory groups from the greater wellington region.  Hutt Valley High Community Theatre Company performed admirably, and with literally seconds to spare, finished to a rapturous response. The Adjudicator, by her own admission, was 'gushing' and at the Sunday prize giving awarded “We'll Meet Again” with Best Technical Production and Best Overall Production along with Excellence in Acting awards for Helena Cvitanovich 12TS and Leroy Paton-Goldsbury 12RI.  Both XanderCox-Turk 12RI  and Levi Henderson 12BQ were also recognised for their ensemble work.  The next step is a slot in the Lower North Island competition being held in Pahiatua at the end of August. That event qualifies successful groups for the nationals in Wellington at Toi Whakaari in September.  We wish them all the best for the next phase.

The other great news in the arts at the school is that drama teacher Bernard Beckett has been invited to the Berlin Literary Festival in August/September as an invited writer.  Bernard has a substantial publishing record mainly in the young adult category and it’s good to see him recognised internationally.

Finally, I want to turn to the service side of the school and thank the group of Year 12 and 13 students who volunteered their time to act as wait staff for the Te Omanga Vintner’s lunch on the weekend of 20-21 June.  This lunch and auction is Te Omanga’s major fund-raiser event for the year.  Te Omanga have helped many Hutt families through difficult times over the years and it’s lovely to see our students willing to support them in their work. 


Ross Sinclair