From the Principal

By Mr Simon Coleman | Posted: Thursday March 22, 2018

Tena koutou,

We have had a number of outstanding achievements over the last two weeks in a wide range of areas which our students can be very proud of and demonstrates that Geraldine High School certainly achieves results as good, and in many cases, better than any school in Canterbury.

The sporting endeavours this term have been a standout with school records broken in our swimming and athletic sports, placings in the Aoraki Athletics, South Canterbury Schools and Canterbury Triathlons, South Canterbury Representative honours in Cricket and a number of our students gaining medals in the South Island Town & Country Swimming Meet. Well done to all of our students involved in these competitions (see the details later in this newsletter).

Recently we hosted the Country High Schools Athletics with Waimate High School, Opihi College, Twizel Area School and Mackenzie College bringing their top athletes to compete. It was a wonderful day and our students who were not competing showed all of our school values in the way they supported and assisted many of the students from all the schools. A special thanks to the following staff involved in the running of this event - Kim Heron, Mike Stephens, Jason Shaw, Mark Hayward, Eve Meyer, Georgina Fogarty and Kieran Blogg. Special thanks must go to Kim Andrews who was the lead organiser of the day and did an outstanding job ensuring that the day ran smoothly. Also special thanks to our Sports Captains and Committee, particularly Jack Johnston, Bridget Guerin and Claudia Bolt.

Academic Blues Assembly

Following on from the sporting successes, this Thursday we held our Academic Blues assembly.

This was to celebrate the outstanding academic success of a number of our students in NCEA in 2017. Resilience was our school theme last year and these results are a great example of the students displaying this quality along with the time and effort needed to gain these top academic results. We were pleased to have Mr Leith Pemberton as our Guest Speaker for this. Mr Pemberton is a past student of Geraldine High School. Leith spoke very fondly of his experiences here at GHS and offered the students some great advice around communication and resilience based on his extensive experience both overseas and in New Zealand.  He is currently working in Ethiopia with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on a 'Food for Kids' project.  This project is focused on getting milk into the school system as a sustainable protein source for children. He reminded the students that "if it is to be, it is up to me". The students echoed this mantra back to him multiple times throughout the address.  It is my hope that this powerful mantra stays with the students for a long time.

Hayden Paddon Visit

Thanks to Go Geraldine, we have world rally car racer, Mr Hayden Paddon, speaking to our students next Tuesday at our school assembly which will be another great opportunity for our students to hear about the successes of someone who followed their passion and where it has taken them.

New Staff

We welcome a number of new staff who have joined us at Geraldine High School recently.

  • With a larger roll particularly in the senior school, we have split some subject classes and so have employed Mrs Ann Bower, previously HOD Science at Westland High School, to teach Year 11 Science and Year 12 Maths; and Mrs Kate McKeown has taken a Year 11 English class also.

  • Mrs Jane Paton joins the team in the main office as our Financial and Administration Assistant to work with our Business Manager, Ms Rae Coburn.

  • Ms Suzanne Cleave is our new Assistant Caretaker starting this week in place of Mrs Cynthia Stephens.

  • We have appointed Mr Brett Ducher from Auckland to the HOD Learning Support and he will start at the beginning of Term 2.

World Down Syndrome Day

You may be aware that Wednesday was World Down Syndrome Day, observed in more than sixty countries worldwide. Down Syndrome is a genetic condition that about 1 in 800 people are born with. It affects development throughout life and is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21.

Down Syndrome people share some characteristics but they are as individual and unique as our fingerprints and they have a huge variety of skills and interests. On Wednesday, at our Student-Led Assembly, Tyson Cunningham, our Learning Support Student Council Rep, introduced Jessica Adams-Stachurski who talked about her interests and told us that she is about to sit  her Driver's Licence, emphasising her similarities to all young people.

We also asked the school to wear odd socks on that day to show our support of our students with Down Syndrome and the 4 students we have with this condition.  This day is also about celebrating the special traits and unique personalities of those with Down Syndrome.

Overseas Students and Social Sciences Trip

We have a group of Thai students visiting us until the end of term and this provides all of our students the opportunity to understand what their country is like and the education system that they have in Thailand. I am sure they will enjoy their time at our school and the surrounding areas and my thanks to all the families that have offered a home for them.

In the upcoming holidays, our students head to Cambodia and Singapore as part of their Social Sciences Cultural and Educational trip. This is an exciting opportunity to visit both a first and third world country and would not have eventuated without many hours of fundraising, preparation and organising from the teachers going, Mr Billy Cosgriff and Mrs Sarah Harrison.

Year 9 and 10 Review

We are currently doing a review of Year 9 and 10 in terms of improving our assessment guidelines, expectations, tracking and moderation alongside what we need to do to ensure greater levels of achievement in these years. This will also involve getting student voice as well as community consultation to help in this review.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa