December 2020

4th December 2020

Kua hua te marama

 Something has completed a full cycle

(This whakatauki could be used to celebrate success/a project coming to term. It can also be used to reflect on the cyclical nature of things.)


Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katou

This is my last message for the year, and what a strange year it has been.  I have not experienced anything like this before, I suspect none of us have in recent times.  I can only imagine that the events could be similar to what our parents/grandparents endured during World War 2, with rationing, blackouts, closed borders and knowing that family members and friends serving overseas were at great risk.

COVID-19 taught us a lot about ourselves, our families and how well we could unite together.  It is not over yet, but reports in the media of vaccines being developed with up to 95% effectiveness are encouraging.  What this means for next year, and when we can start travelling again and accepting International Students is yet to be seen.

One of the things that we did learn from the lockdown is that students often benefited from working off line at their own pace. For example, students working on an art portfolio could paint for longer lengths of time. For a variety of reasons, next year we have timetabled Wednesday Period 5 as a study line for our Year 12 and 13 students.  This means that they can leave the school site at the end of Period 4 (1pm) and go home where they will have a significant block of time to work on their studies without interruptions from things like, lunch break, form time and bells. They will not lose class time from their other subjects as we have decided not to run Wā Ako at these levels.

Our Year 9 and 10 students will now have their Wā Ako classes during this time.  Year 11 students will be part of a new programme, Hauora, which will focus on their health, well-being and making good life decisions.

In early November we celebrated the academic successes of our Senior students before they left to sit their NCEA examinations. Our top scholars for 2020 were:

Academic Success (Senior)

Dux Litterarum:

Brandon Ru

Proximae Accessit:

Ray Wu

Wesley Broughton Award (Top year 12 Academic Achiever):

Kimberly Zhu

Year 12 Runner-Up:

Laura Stone

Top Academic Achiever Year 11:

Stella Blomfield and Anush Goel

 Year 11 Runner-Up:        

Molly Zhou

On Wednesday it was the turn of the Juniors and we were proud to announce the following successes.

Academic Success (Juniors)

Top Year 10 Academic Achiever:

Thomas Ru

Year 10 Runner-Up:

Ella Pan, Amy Piper

Top Academic Achiever Year 9:   

Sophia Wong, Lisa Tu

 Year 9 Runner-Up:

Kaitlyn Far

While NCEA will carry on for a few days into next week because the start date was pushed back due to COVID-19, our juniors have completed their examinations. This year, only the Year 10 students were given formal, timetabled examinations, although the Year 9s would have also had end of topic tests. The students would have received these results and the final reports for the year can be found on the parent portal.

The end of the year contained our 3 Day Discovery where the students had the opportunity to try different things. This year we kept it closer to home and there were no overnight trips. However, the students were offered a wide range of exciting activities, everything from learning to surf, making films around the city to learning to knit and soap making. The students enjoyed these activities and we feel it was a good way to finish the year.

We are fully staffed for next year. Our new apppointments are:

  • Maddy Thomas-Beck Guidance Counsellor
  • Lachie Robertson Economics
  • Eleanor Sherson Technology
  • Petros Venter Learning Support Centre

At our recent Prizegiving we farewelled and thanked:

  • Michael Leota leaves us to take up the role of pastor for his church
  • Marilyn Velvin who is retiring after over 30 years of teaching
  • Daniel Guppy
  • Felicia Walst who is moving to Melbourne
  • Therese Sinnott from the Learning Suppport Centre, but she has been employed at the College as a Learning Supprt Co-ordinator.

I would like to thank them all for their contribution to our College.

I would like to make a special mention for Deb Mills our Deputy Principal. Ms Mills has received a School Sport New Zealand, Service to School Sport Awards: The citation reads that it is, “to be presented to people who have made contributions to secondary school sport that are deemed to be exceptional.” Ms Mills contribution to the leadership, management and coaching of netball for more than 30 years at our school certainly meets the standard of exceptional. Well done!

Festive Community Cheer was certainly had on Tuesday when over 600 food items and $800 was donated to the Newlands Community Foodbank. The gift and thought of giving was certainly highly appreciated.

For more information about our 2021 start-up, including dates, these can found at

Once again, we are posting a Retrospective of the school year. This will give you the opportunity to reminisce about the year that was, by browsing through each term that includes highlights, videos, photos and write-ups, all in one handy location.

It can be found here

I hope that you all have a good break. Next year we look forward to welcoming our new Year 9s, which again will be a very large group of approximately 260 students.

Ngā mihi nui

Grant Jones

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