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Posted in General Principal's Address -Junior Awards Ceremony

Date: 10 December 2019



Principal's Address -Junior Awards Ceremony

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Nimen hao

Nau mai, haere mai. Welcome everyone, to our Junior Awards Ceremony. Thank you for being here today to celebrate our students and their achievements, which incIude loyalty and courage, academic, cultural and sporting success. Many students have been acknowledged during the year for repeatedly demonstrating respect, integrity, loyalty and courage in their everyday lives, as well as academic, cultural and sporting success. Congratulations.

Every year brings new learnings and changes. And this year, there are many! We are excited at opportunities including NCEA now being free, Learning Support Co-ordinators beginning for the ten schools in our Kahui Ako next year, and of course with our rebuild.

 The master plans for Stage One of our rebuild are confirmed. Next week, the prefabs on the hill which has been home to our English department, are moving to the astro turf. Next year, construction on our new gym and our new Arts, Science and Technology block will begin.

 The government’s response to the final Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce report, has met with general positivity. Improving educational equity, rebuilding trust across the system and a more deliberately connected and supported system are key features.

 Our board has opted into the School Donations Scheme, which means that we will no longer ask families for a “school donation”. With the Scheme, come new guidelines. A key clarification is that families can be asked for a donation to cover the costs of overnight curriculum trips, rather than being asked to pay a services charge. If families do not donate, students are still entitled to participate. This brings with it budget uncertainty; we appreciate your ongoing support, as you are able.

 The board has approved Onehunga High School black long pants for all students, not just boys. These trousers have the school logo embossed on them.

 We are focussing on students being timely, consistent with high expectations.

 The Junior Emerging Talent Squads programme, J.E.T.S, has launched successfully, beginning in netball, basketball, rugby and football.

 Next year, the school day will begin at 9am for students, still finishing at 3:25pm.

In 2020, only BYOD devices that meet our minimum requirements (like chrome books) will be connected to school wi-fi. Mobile phones will only be able to connect to the internet using personal data.

 Reflecting on the year, it is important to acknowledge the tragedy of March 15. Our community responded in the best ways possible. Students whose Polyfest experiences were challenged, understood this. Congratulations to everyone involved in Polyfest, we are very proud of you. Our Kapa Haka, Cook Islands, K-Pop, Niuean, Samoan and Tongan groups all performed. With the cancellation of the last day, only the Kapa Haka group had finals. They achieved at an unprecedented level, winning five awards. We entered students in more speech competitions than ever before; in the Niuean Speech Competition, Phillip Puhotau won the Year 10 Boys’ Competition and Kerry Tasmania won the Junior Girls’ Competition.

 Other highlights involving our junior students include:

  • Ilyna Itamua saving the life of another person in the surf, using techniques she had learned just 3 days prior at last year’s Year 10 camp. The skills many of you who have just been on camp have learned, are invaluable, and you never know when they might be needed.
  • For the fifth year in a row, a group of Year 9 students participated in the Fakatoukatea Tongan Leadership programme.
  • The Girls 1st XV became the Auckland and Northland regional champions.
  • The MOOVIT project was an outstanding collaboration, including the jazz band and 46 dancers.
  • And most recently, Daniel Mercer placed 2nd in the U15 weight class at the NZ Secondary Schools weightlifting competition, and he now also holds two NZ records - best clean & jerk and best combined snatch and clean & jerk total.

 The gifts and talents of our students continues to inspire. It is a privilege to recognise you and your effort, service to the school community and academic achievement. Congratulations to you all on working hard towards your goals, and special congratulations to everyone who is being recognised today. Thank you again, to everyone who supports these wonderful young people; your partnership matters.

 I would like to thank and acknowledge all staff who are leaving. In particular, thank you to long serving staff Adrienne Booth, Doug Bryan, Sue Maney, Rosemary Jellard, Jas Govind, Anthony Keung and Lyn Hede. We are grateful to you all for your huge contribution to our school.

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

Deidre Shea


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