Monday, 5 November 2018

Principal's Prize Giving address

Tihei Mauri Ora!

Mā te huruhuru, ka rere te manu
‘Feathers enable the bird to fly’

Board Chair, Mrs Kaye Banks, fellow Board of Trustees members, Te Taumutu runanga, The Hon Dr Megan Woods, honoured guests, colleagues, parents and friends, ladies and gentlemen, students of Hornby High School  - welcome to this 44th senior prize giving of Hornby High School.

Kaye Banks, Jonty Ward, Donna Sullivan, Rochelle Jackson and Penny Devine have served on the Board this past year. George Wharerau was elected as the new student representative in September 2017. George relinquished his position part way through the year and was replaced by Shardey Harris who completed the term. In the 2018 student election we welcomed Crystal Edminstin to the Board as student representative. Thank you to you all for for your time, work and wisdom.

The year has seen a number of staff movements. Mrs Helen Boothby left us to work in the United Kingdom early in term 3, and was replaced by Mr Daniel Reizinger. Mrs Jane Turner (History) left on maternity leave, and was replaced by Miss Nicole Eastwick and Mr Sam Stokes.

Mrs Janette Merrin left us for a position with the Ministry of Education, and Miss Alex Aitken gained permanent appointment as HOD Health. Mrs Carla Gibson left us after 4 and a half years to pursue a career in the hospitality industry as a small business owner.

At the beginning of the year we were joined by Tracey Allen, Chelsea Birtch, Raewyn Davis, Aaron Heath, Abbie Keene and Sam Tisch. At the end of term one Ms Keene took maternity leave for terms 2 and 3, and was replaced by Mr Michael Collins.

Mrs Laurie Tafau left us for one year to take up a fixed term position as Assistant Principal at Avonside Girls’ High School, and was replaced by Ms Annabelle Simpson. We also received the resignation of Mr John Minto as he prepares for a well earned retirement. John, I have to say I cannot for a single instant imagine you resting, I cannot picture you sitting still. Thank you for your powerful contribution to our kura, and for your powerful ambition for our rangatahi.

Mr John Simons who has lead the Hornby Technical Centre of Hornby High School since 2014 announced his departure from the end of the year. Thank you John for your sizeable contribution to the learning and development of tamariki from across and outside our cluster.

We also received the resignation of Mr Jon Rogers who looks forward to retirement from 2019. He was replaced by Mr Jack Goodfellow who joins us from Lincoln High School at the beginning of 2019. I will have more to say about Jon later in our prizegiving.

Much of our attention over this past year has been occupied with our school rebuild. Stage 1 of the  rebuild was completed at the end of term 2, and we moved into those buildings for the beginning of term 3. Everything about the design of those buildings was deliberate, and once more i’d like to express our gratitude to the architects Del Love, Abbie Whangaparita, and Simon Richmond, from Stephenson and Turner for their wonderful work turning our vision for curriculum adaptation and change into our physical reality. I’d also like to place on record our thanks to our project managers from OCTA, and Mr Robert Lyall from the Ministry of education, and to the team from Leighs Construction for their wonderful work in helping us to realise our vision.

But a school is more than it’s buildings:

He aha te mea nui o te ao
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

What is the most important thing in the world?
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

To our wonderful staff, thank you. You have taken on board a huge workload, you have embraced change, you have been prepared to try different ways of doing things. As I mentioned in an assembly address to the junior school just last week, if we are to realise our vision as ‘a centre of creative excellence’, we must all be prepared to take risks, and your responses to our new environment have shown your willingness to do that, with project based learning, and passion projects, with collaboration and the acceptance that classrooms don’t always need walls and closed doors (although sometimes they do).

And to our wonderful rangatahi, well done. I’d like to read a poem that I also read to the junior school last week. It is one of my favourites, it is a poem that well describes the need to take risks, the need to push boundaries, the drive to find new paths.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

You too must take risks, you too must be prepared to look at the world with fresh eyes. You too need to see things in ways that have perhaps never been imagined before. Your academic and sporting achievements which we celebrate here tonight continue to ascend the heights of excellence as you push your own personal boundaries.

One thing I can say, one thing you as students may not realise, is that our new buildings have changed you. They have changed you in a profound way. Parents and whānau, you need to know that at school your children have changed. They are still wonderful human beings. But they are also now ever more respectful, they are now ever more confident, they are now ever more willing to take those calculated risks that are essential to growth and to creativity.

Over this past year we have witnessed perhaps the most powerful force for change, the force of student passion and desire. It is you, our rangatahi, who said “Hey, stop deriding our school”. It is your, our rangatahi, who said “We are good enough”. It is you, our rangatahi, who said “We are proud of our school.” It is you, our rangatahi, who began our #manahoromaka, our #hornbypride, campaign. And it is you, our rangatahi, who have pushed that campaign out to the remainder of the school. Well done .. ka mau te wehi.

Let me tell you a short story. At the beginning of this term we began our interviews with new whānau and their children prior to them entering our kura at the start of next year. I was interviewing a father and son, both of whom were new to the school. The father said “You are proud of this school, aren’t you”. I replied ‘Yes we are”. He then said “When I dropped our enrolment forms off at reception, I could see it in your kids.”

There is one area of change at Hornby High School that does not represent risk, but rather an evidence based shift in teaching and learning that is more powerful than any other I have seen in my 40 years in education, and that is the Manaiakalani philosophy on which everything we do is founded.

The evidence base for the efficacy, the power, the impact, of ‘Learn Create Share’ grows month by month, year by year. The evidence is robust and authentic, the impact of the pedagogy so huge that it accelerates learning by up to twice national averages as measured by standardised nationally normed tests. This is not some piece of fanciful educational hope. This is real, palpable, and world changing.

To parents and whānau I make this plea. The Manaiakalani evidence offers the same conclusions as a much wider range of robust evidence: your connection with your child’s learning has a massive impact on her or his learning. All students across our kura are expected to be active bloggers. A blog is a way of making learning highly visible and accessible to the world, and we know that visibility promotes clearer thinking and active learning. Whānau - your engagement with those blogs is vital. Every child feels a huge sense of achievement and engagement when parents and whānau make comment on their blogs. Please Please please get involved. To paraphrase that wonderful African saying says ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, I would say “it takes a community to educate a child”. Your presence in your child’s education is a great present, a great gift, for your children. Get involved, get commenting.

And in that regard I want to acknowledge the support and confidence of the Greater Christchurch Schools Network who have given a significant grant from their innovation fund to support our innovative initiative to employ members of the community to work with you in your homes, one to one, giving you (we hope) the skills and confidence to get involved with your child’s learning. Being ‘A centre of creative excellence’ requires us to take risks, to try new things. This is new, this is a creative way of helping to improve learning outcomes for our rangatahi. GCSN - thank you.

This all leads me to repeat my words from last year: To the originators and principle drivers of Manaiakalani itself - Mr Pat Sneddon, Mrs Dorothy Burt, and Mr Russell Burt. Your work that has gone before us has truly created a hook for heaven, a force for educational change and improvement that addresses the issue not only of equity, but as you often remind us, of liberation for our learners in New Zealand in a powerful and compelling way. If I may take your words, Manaiakalani does more than remove barriers to our learners watching the game, it places our learners squarely on the playing field of their learning. Again, as I said last year, you are trailblazers in what at times can feel like a bleak landscape. Keep your lanterns lit, keep your voices strong, keep that spring in your step. Tamariki across New Zealand need you.

To my fellow Principals and teaching colleagues across our cluster, thank you for the amazing work you do. The ways in which you enable work across our cluster, the ways in which you practise and model collaboration, are a powerful force for our tamariki, and by doing so you create a rich educational landscape in which our tamariki can thrive and prosper.

To my wonderful colleagues at Hornby High School, regardless of whether you are teaching or non teaching staff, you all do a wonderful job. Teaching staff cause the learning, but that is not possible without all of the many support functions that sit alongside them: grounds and maintenance, security, administration and accounts, community and pastoral support, all completed by wonderful people. Thank you.

I would again like to acknowledge and thank the trustees of our Uru Mānuka Educational Trust: Mr Garry Moore, Chair, Mrs Janine Morrell-Gunn, Mrs Rose Crossland, Mr Jason Marsden, Mrs Daisy Laveo-Timo and Mrs Jane Ross.  You have all seen the potential for change that is Manaiakalani, and have freely and willingly given of your time to make the world a better place. Yet again Mr Gary Roberts, Principal of Hornby Primary School, is deserving of special mention for the drive and passion that he has brought to the pursuit of this amazing educational vision. Thank you. Thank you for your energy, your passion, your commitment, and your support.

To our many supporting organisations, thank you. As always, a special mention of the Hub, The Hornby Rotary Club, and Hornby Working Men’s Club as long term supporters of our wonderful tamariki. Actions speak louder than words. By your actions you demonstrate your understanding of the desirability of investing in your local community and our collective futures by supporting our tamariki. Please be assured that you do make a positive difference.
Thank you to our many supporters:

CERT Trust
Mainland Foundation
CSG Konica Minolta Limited
ISS Facilities Services
Westpac Trust - Hornby Branch
GCSN - the Greater Christchurch Schools Network
Orica Chemicals
Hornby Residents Association

Finally, to our prize winners, well done. Tonight we acknowledge and celebrate your attitude, your persistence and your achievement. The prizes we award acknowledge only one part of the wonderful achievement represented here tonight, and throughout the school.

To our 2018 Prefects, thank you for your leadership and your commitment to the school, and to all of our leavers - please know that you take with you our best wishes, and the knowledge that at Hornby High School you have your turangawaewae, your place to stand. You are an outstanding group of young men and women. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Noreira tena koutou tena koutou tena koutou katoa

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