I write having just attended another one of our wonderful music evenings. It’s hard to describe these if you’ve never been to one. The joy of the performances is quite, dare I say in these uncertain times, infectious and the array of talent on display is quite inspiring. The song choices are interesting too. Who would have thought we’d still be hearing ‘Man Eater’ by Hall and Oates (which always sounded to me like the name of a breakfast cereal) in 2020 – I certainly didn’t. Right from the first notes of ‘Evil Ways’ played by our resident big band, and the warm appreciation of the soloists therein, through the inspiringly named Year 9 Rock band’s faithful rendition of Aberdeen by Cage the Elephant, to the wonderfully harmonic interpretation of ‘Shallow’ by our choir, to the mesmerizing performance of Cadence Chung of ‘Vaga Luna Che Inargenti’ and ending with the mosh pit tunes led off by a year 13 leaving class band putting their touches on a difficult Tool number, I couldn’t think of any other place I’d like to be, except, of course, just outside when it got really loud near the end. To highlight these performances is to risk overlooking so many others and there were so many other good ones. 

I’m realising that this message so far is less of a Principal’s message and more of a review! Suffice it to say we have a very talented bunch of musicians playing a wide range of genres carefully ‘orchestrated’ by our music tutors and our Head of Music, Fritz Wollner. Well done to all!

Sport has wrapped up for winter and we have had a number of successes. Our netball senior A and B teams both won their respective divisions while our senior social team and our junior Bs both came 2nd in their divisions. Our senior boys basketball team won their division after finishing equal and needing extra time, our football senior boys drew their final but lost on a penalty shoot out and our senior girls football team lost their final. In addition, our underwater hockey junior As are undefeated and playing their final tonight and one of our junior boys badminton teams came 2nd in their division.

It has been nice to see a growing participation in winter sports in a challenging year. I know I often mention the importance of sporting programmes but the real success story for sport is the way our young people build connections with our school and the people around them. There is so much to be learned from being a part of a team. I feel really pleased that a lot of teachers are involved in our extra curricular sports, some of them spending up to half a working week in addition to their normal hours with our students.

Jason Reddish has overseen our basketball programme this year after having been involved for a number of years in a coaching role. He coaches the junior boys and the senior boys top teams and he knows every boy playing basketball. 

Murray Chisholm has, for many years now, devoted endless hours to the overseeing of our underwater hockey programme. There are approximately 45 students involved in this sport and Murray ensures the students are well coached and looked after.

Caroline Lewis has looked after our badminton programme for 10 years this year giving selflessly to what is, some years, our highest participated sport.

Carlos Junca has been involved with football for a long time at Wellington High School. He has overseen the senior boys this year and is currently making plans for an academy opportunity next term for those girls and boys playing football who want to further hone their skills.

Of course it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention all of the other staff who have put in endless hours in their respective sports this year: Nick Andrews (Girls basketball), Ben Roth Shank (Junior boys football), Jenny Argyle and Bea Gladding (junior girls football), Simon Russell (rock climbing), Will Pinckney and Jess Johnson (hockey), Joe Sione and Phillipa Wood (netball). 

I also need to mention two of our volunteers: Michael Melville, who has given wonderful service in overseeing netball for many years now, and Will Dewhurst who has been our coach of senior girls football for the last 4 years.

In each of these sports and others, these teachers / volunteers have built a wonderful whānau environment which I know the students greatly appreciate. It is noticeable how often in these sports, the students are watching each other’s games, when they could be doing anything else. The supportive relationships being built through sport between these students is what sport should be about. It is a joy to see the success these teams have had. It is even more joyful to observe the fun they are having whether they are winning or losing because of the connections they are making.

I think the following whakatauki is appropriate here:

Tangata ako ana i te kāenga, te tūrnaga ki te rarae, tau ana

“A person nurtured in the community contributes strongly to society”.

I hope you are able to spend some valuable time with your young person over the school holidays. If they are a senior student, I hope they have a break but I also hope that they spend some time preparing themselves for the final term and the upcoming NCEA exams.

Ngā mihi nui

Dominic Killalea

 

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