Principal's Comment - 9 September

Dear Parents and Caregivers

I need to start this newsletter with a Health and Safety issue.  We have had an incident recently where a parent drove onto the site and caused an injury to another parent who was a pedestrian.  We have set up signs asking people not to drop off or collect students from the site; it is simply too dangerous, particularly around the half hour before school and the half hour at the end of the day.  Our school has 1700 or so students and most of them are streaming into or out of the school at those key times.  There is just no room to accommodate vehicles dropping off or picking up students when that could be done slightly further from school in perfect safety.  Please do your bit for general student, staff and community safety by not driving onto the school site at key times.    

The wider health and safety issues of Covid and its effects remain with us and we continue to operate an increased cleaning regime for the entire site as well as the contact surface cleaning that uses sanitiser for door handles, hand rails etc in a constant all-day cycle.  Thank you to students and staff doing their bit by maintaining social distancing where that is possible and by the hygiene steps (containing coughs and sneezes; washing hands; staying away if unwell) that are helping to protect us all.

2020 is a very different year and one group I feel for is Year 13.  This final year at school usually sees a whole range of fun events and activities and a shift in relationships with staff to a level that is part of the transition to the workplace or tertiary study.  It’s a year that is often the most memorable for Year 13s and for the right reasons.  Not so much this year. We are desperately keen to preserve the Year 13 Ball, which of course has far more than 100 attendees, so is reliant on a shift to Level 1 for it to go ahead.  Te Papa staff are being very helpful in extending the confirmation dates so that, even if it is all very last-minute, we have a chance of proceeding on the original date of 19 September.  Mr Fox will be in touch with Year 13 students the moment we know what is possible.

Another major impact of Level 2 is with sports and while everyone understands the reasons behind the 2020 arrangements, it’s been hard on those students for whom sport is a major part of their lives.  They have had a very disrupted season, culminating in last week’s regional rather than national Winter Sports Week.  Thank you to students, coaches and managers for your efforts to work around the frustrations so that events could still continue.

Elsewhere, others are trying to provide something more substantial than a virtual national final for Rockquest.  The organisers are trying to set up a finals event in Auckland, picking up on the “no-crowd” sports model but where everything else is full scale.  In this case that means travel to Auckland to work with industry professionals to film performances, and having the chance for finalists to work together and see other finalists from around the country.  In our case, that would involve the members of Girl Scout Cookie (Xander Cox-Turk 13FX; Levi Henderson 13GL; Helena Cvitanovich 13FX and Leroy Paton-Goldsbury 13FX) who are one of the 11 bands selected for their finals category, and then Helena also features as one of three national finalists as a solo performer.  She is the first person in the history of Rockquest to be selected as a finalist in both solo and band; quite an achievement. 

Music’s great year ranges across a variety of student talents.  13RI student William Berry’s selection as a finalist in the NZ Junior Piano Competition has already been mentioned in the Newsletter, and last week he sat his Diploma Licentiate resulting in an LMUsNZ with Distinction. This is the equivalent, I am told, of a tertiary Master’s level qualification.  Then we also have two students, siblings, who have won national music honours. Ryan Hill 13NB and Stella Hill 10NIKO have both been selected in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Brass Band.  That’s an impressive range of national-level performance across several musical modes.

Ross Sinclair