Principal's Comment - 2 December

Dear Parents and Caregivers

Staff have been using some of their time recently to plan for 2020. We have had numerous workshops, meetings and forums ranging from first aid certificates, Year 9 Tikanga course planning, whole school mentoring programme planning, rewriting lesson plans to fit our new timetable, interviewing students joining HVHS, and reviewing of our guidance network to name just a few. We are continually evolving as we try to keep what works and change what isn’t working, keep up with the latest teaching and learning research suggestions that we agree with, and at the same time try not to cause too much disruption to our students. It is a fine balance. 

You may have noticed new portable buildings taking up a prime location on our front lawn. We are at last starting the building project to transform our Technology block into a modern exciting learning space. It is nearly 3 years to the day since the old Technology block burnt down. The Technology team have to move out of our existing W block to take up residence in the Student Centre and portable classrooms for 2020. This has meant moving massive pieces of machinery, every handtool, nail and screw and stacks of timber! It has been a long, journey to get to this stage and I must thank Craig Braun, Katie Long and her team for their patience and perseverance. This time next year they will be reversing the move and setting up shop in our new facilities.  

Year 10 students took the lead this week and organised a mufti-day. The proceeds are to go to the purchase of native trees to offset carbon emissions. It is superb to see our young leaders taking such positive action. Year 10 students have also been busy with their Drama Production week. Parents and caregivers have been able to come to school in the evening to enjoy the end of year performance.  

This week saw our three Year 10 drama classes performing their end of year productions. The seven shows over three nights played to packed audiences and showcased the special joy that comes from these collective endeavours. It's wonderful to watch the enthusiasm and generosity of spirit our students bring to these events. The depth of talent on show makes us excited for the years ahead.

Learning Conversations are scheduled for next Friday. They are a lovely opportunity to celebrate the successes of your student and acknowledge the things that they have achieved this year. It is also a good time to reflect on what may not have gone so well and make plans for change next year. Please book your appointment if you have not done so already. Contact our office staff if you need assistance with this.

Our International students have been off exploring New Zealand….Each year during term four the International Department runs a programme for international students who are not doing NCEA examinations. The students are mainly from Europe, South America and Japan and on study programmes up to one year in duration.

This year the term four programme has been very busy, with a mixture of outdoor education, cultural visits, team challenges, day trips, photography and cooking. The highlights of the 4-week programme were the three camps the students attended. 

In the first week of November, the students joined in with the year 9 camp, which involved hiking and kayaking at Days Bay, then an overnight camp at Kaitoke regional park. The students really enjoyed the opportunity to get into the outdoors and muck in with the year 9 students. 

In the third week, staff from the PE department lead the students on a 3-day trip around Eastbourne (initially by mountain bike) and then into the Catchpool Valley in the Remutaka Forest Park. The students spent one of the nights sleeping under the stars in their self made bivouacs, then hiked in to spend a night out at the Catchpool Valley site. Many of the international students remarked that this was one of the coolest experiences for them, as they had to make their own bivouacs, cook and carry their own gear - an opportunity that is generally not possible in their home countries.

During the last week of the programme, the students spent 3 days at Castlepoint. The weather was great and the students were able to spend a lot of time in the water, go hiking and take in the great views that Castlepoint is famous for.

For these students, the end of November means the end of the term 4 programme and their time in NZ. The programme over the past month is a culmination of a very busy and exciting study abroad programme at HVHS.

The Year 13 Graduation Prizegiving is at the Lower Hutt Events Centre on Wednesday 4 December. This is our first time back at this venue since the refurbishment. We do hope that all Year 13s and their families will come to celebrate their final secondary school event.  13 years in, formal education is an important milestone. Doesn’t it go by so fast? Five years seems like a long time when you begin at HVHS but as our Year 13s are now realising it goes by in a flash. Wednesday night is all about acknowledging and congratulating students for a successful 5 years at HVHS. It is a special night, albeit a little sad and emotional as students realise that they will no longer have friends, staff, support systems and facilities on tap within the boundaries of HVHS. They will never have it so easy again. Students are radiating out to all corners of New Zealand, and the globe. However, we will have done our job if our students are ready to leave, and have the skills and wherewithal to live independently as young adults. Year 13 - please sign up to our alumni network so that we can keep in touch with you. 

https://hutt-valley-high-school.webflow.io/past/join-our-alumni-database; or ‘like’ our alumni Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hvhs1926. 2026 is our 100th year and we are already thinking about the centenary celebrations. 

 

Denise Johnson
Acting Principal