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Posted in General Principal's Address-Junior Award Ceremony

Date: 11 December 2018

Tēnā koutou katoa. Welcome to you all; and thank you for being here today to celebrate students and students’ achievements. These achievements incIude loyalty and courage, academic, cultural and sporting success. This year, we reintroduced our badge system to acknowledge students’ achievement in each of these categories, and many have been recognised for this already. Students have repeatedly demonstrated respect, integrity, loyalty and courage in your everyday lives, as well as academic, cultural and sporting success. Congratulations.

Last week, Year 9 and 10 students participated in Active Lifestyles Week. Despite the interesting weather, you made the most of the wonderful opportunities and learned lots. And I am sure you all slept well on Friday night!

I would like to acknowledge Year 10 students who participated in the 3 day Business Challenge earlier this year. This has previously only been offered to senior students. Well done to those students who took part, your creativity impressed the judges!

Students who participated in our first trial of student led inquiry across whole classes also gave invaluable feedback. As a result, we have built two weeks into next year’s timetable for all Year 9 and 10 students to undertake inquiry learning.

For the fourth year in a row, a group of Year 9 students participated in the Fakatoukatea Tongan Leadership programme, and gained valuable skills and knowledge.

Our Robotics teams again had a successful year in all competitions; including being the top placed NZ team at the world champs.

This term, we have launched a partnership between Fonterra and our Business School, and between BNZ and our Business School. We have a launch planned with Google early in the New Year. These are exciting times.

And of course in August we hosted the Prime Minister and Minister of Education, who announced $28 million has been confirmed for us to replace a number of our original buildings with an exciting new development. We are progressing the planning for our new gym, library and other teaching spaces.

This awards ceremony is at an historic time. Last Friday the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce released their report. There has been a lot of media attention about it, with much of it being more about headline grabbing than accurate reporting.

Suffice to say, Tomorrow’s Schools has not delivered equitably across our country. We are a school that has thrived in terms of quality of community support. But many have not. We are a school that has thrived in terms of the ability to self-govern and self-manage. But many have not had that capacity. The Taskforce heard from people around the country about the negative impacts of school zoning, competition and elitism. It is a travesty that Tomorrow’s Schools has devolved to that. It was never the intent. But it is how it has transpired for too many young New Zealanders, their families and schools. It is an environment in which Onehunga High School holds its head high. And I believe that if the intent of the Tomorrow’s Schools report is enacted, everyone’s heads will be held high. Which is what we all want.

I urge you to read the report or the summary. It is available online with a quick google. The next four months are for feedback before final recommendations are decided, and it is important to have your say. I believe that the report provides the basis for a more positive, equitable and successful education system for New Zealand, with of course a number of details that should be debated and which may change.

I would like to thank and acknowledge all staff who are leaving us this year. In particular, thank you to Red Nicholson who was Year 9 Dean alongside Rebekah Bissett before taking study leave this year, and Tony Coughlan, Deputy Principal. We are grateful to you for your huge contribution to our school. And we are thrilled that Tony will be Principal of Royal Oak Intermediate from next year.

It is a privilege to recognise students and your effort, service to the school community and academic achievement. Congratulations to you all on your year, congratulations on working hard towards your goals, and special congratulations to everyone who is being recognised today. And thank you again, to everyone who is here to support these wonderful young people; your partnership matters.

Have an enjoyable summer break everyone, do take time to relax and reflect, and consider your goals. Make plans to achieve in whatever is right for you.

 

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