Principal's Blog: Term 3 Week 5
Friday, 18 August 2023
Kia ora whānau
Lights have been strung, outfits have been angst over and anticipation abounds as we embark on the tradition that is the Mid-Winter Semi-Formal this Saturday night. Our Year 12 and 13 students and their guests will gather in the Cultural Centre for an evening of glitz, glamour and fun with their friends. The dance floor will be heaving, and it will no doubt be a night to remember for these young people who joyfully teeter on the precipice of being school-aged students and sophisticated adults in one glorious snapshot in time.

School dances no doubt loom in the memory banks of most, and remind us of fluttering hearts and fancy frocks, and awkwardness at navigating new and unfamiliar social constructs. Whilst times have changed significantly since my foray as an 80s child in my hired electric blue bridesmaid's dress accessorised with the obligatory white satin bow adorning my hair with matching white worn-once kitten heels, it is worth remembering that things don't actually change all that much. Whilst our young people are excited, there will be nerves. Whilst stunningly decked out and presenting so very grown up and mature, childhood innocence remains. Though wearing a cloak of confidence and gung-ho assuredness, unfamiliarity and uncertainty lingers. This is why, sometimes, things can go wrong.

Providing clear parameters of expectation allows young people to recognise and respect boundaries, and brings reassurance and comfort, despite the natural desire of youth to challenge. Our students have been left with no doubt as to the standards of behaviour expected of them on Saturday night, and have been encouraged to embrace the wonderful opportunity to enjoy Mid-Winter for what it is, a school dance. Free of some of the societal pressures that can come with being children of their time. Alcohol-free, vape-free, drug-free. Simple. We look forward to a memorable night, for all the right reasons. I wish everyone a wonderful time.

It is also the season for student subject selections, as we begin to prepare for the construction of courses for next year. We will be walking with and supporting our Year 9-12 learners with both subject-selection and career planning over the next few weeks, beginning with our current Year 10 cohort who have our new NCEA+ courses to ponder. Alongside five traditional courses, from which English Mathematics and Science continue to be strongly encouraged, students will select one of our three interdisciplinary offerings: either Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, or Identity, Belonging and Expression. Once that choice is landed upon, students will be assisted in creating their own bespoke course, driven by interests and passions within a structured framework. We have been working closely with our Year 10 students and their caregivers as we undertake this exciting curriculum innovation, and look forward to the one-on-one conferencing that will be held next week.

Have a happy and safe weekend e te whānau, and as the winter sports season begins to draw to a close, I issue a personal thanks to our hardworking volunteers. Thank you for upholding the value of school sport, for providing opportunities to our students, and for remembering that young people play sport first and foremost for enjoyment, and to have fun with their friends.